Greek Christmas honey-dipped walnut spice cookies, Melomakarona - Global Storybook

Melomakarona – Greek Christmas Honey and Nuts Cookies

Foteini Pagonidou

Foteini Pagonidou

Foteini Pagonidou is the Local Contributing Writer at Global Storybook (Greece).

Foteini was born and raised in Greece. She loves Greek cuisine and even though she admires her country's history and culture, she always strives to explore other civilizations as well. Foteini strongly believes that a traveler's mind - is an open mind.
She is looking forward to sharing all the secrets of her beautiful country with you.
Foteini Pagonidou

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The greatest time of the year has come!  This means that we’ll taste some of our favorite traditional Christmas dishes in Greece, including the sweets, such as melomakarona and kourabiedes.  Melomakarona are simply delicious syrupy bites, usually made with orange and cinnamon.  It is the most popular dessert during the Christmas holidays and one can find it in almost every Greek household.

Countless families make their own traditional melomakaronas.  And since it’s easy enough to make – everyone tries to make it in their own way.  In fact, because it’s such a popular dessert – there are numerous versions, depending on one’s own preferences.  However, almost all of them include some cinnamon, honey and carnation for the fragrance.

We also have versions of melomacarones with butter, eggs, lemon juice, baking powder, powdered sugar, and other fun ingredients.  The list is almost endless!

The dough for melomarkarona is usually made of sunflower and olive oils for its wonderful aroma, flour, orange juice and zest, baking soda, grated carnation and cinnamon.  The syrup consists of orange juice and water, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and whole parts of carnations.

Here’s what you should keep in mind when making this recipe – if the syrup is hot, you will first need to let it cool off before pouring it on the melomakaronas.  Many people prefer to do the opposite – they prepare the syrup first and then they leave it to cool down while they start making the melomakaronas.  As soon as melomakaronas come out of the oven, we dip them into the cold syrup.  You can also prepare the syrup a day before.

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Melomakarona, Greek Christmas honey and nuts cookies - Global StorybookSo let’s see now how you can make your own perfect melomakaronas for Christmas.


For the dough:

  • 200g (1 cup) sunflower oil
  • 200g (1 cup) olive oil
  • 250ml (1 cup) orange juice
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp carnation powder
  • 3 tbsp cinnamon powder
  • 110g (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 100g (1/2 cup) semolina
  • 1 kg of flour

For the syrup:

  • 625ml water (2 ½ cups)
  • 550g (2 ½ cups) of sugar
  • 150g (1/2 cup) honey
  • 2 tbsp orange zest (1 orange)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 pieces of carnation

For the serving:

  • honey
  • a handful of grated nuts

How to Make the Perfect Melomakaronas:

Melomakarona, Greek Christmas cookies - Global Storybook1. We usually start by making the syrup.  In a medium saucepan add water, sugar, orange juice, cinnamon sticks and carnations, then place them on a medium to high heat.

2. Once cooked, remove from the heat and add the honey.  Stir until dissolved, then let the syrup cool off next to an open window.  Before you start making the dough, take the syrup out of the refrigerator (if you chose to make it one day before) and place it on the counter so that it’s not completely frozen.

3. Now we’ll do the dough.  Preheat the oven to 200C degrees.  In a large bowl add the ingredients in the exact same order provided in the list above.  When you add soda, make sure to mix it well for about a minute with the orange juice.

4. Once you add all the ingredients, mix everything well with your hands – from the bottom up, with soft, slow movements.  You don’t have to stir it for a long time.  Two minutes are enough.

5. Now place a piece of parchment paper onto a large baking pan.  Carve out small melomakarona bites from the dough, and put them onto the pan.  Make sure there’s a small distance between them.  The ideal size should fit in the palm of your hand.

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6. Insert the pan into the oven and bake for 30 minutes.  As soon as you get them out of the oven, immediately dip melomacaronas into the syrup using a pierced ladle.  Leave them in for about 15-20 seconds.  Then place them onto a grill to drain.  Once drained, put them on a large plate, add some honey on top, and some grated nuts.  Repeat the same procedure with the rest of the dough until it’s finished.

Always remember that melomacaronas must be hot 🔥 before you dip them in the syrup, in order to have the best results.  Enjoy!

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Melomakarona - Greek Christmas Honey and Nuts Cookies - Global Storybook

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