I am lucky to have a neighbor from Greece that is a fantastic baker. Every year, she sends me a plate filled with holiday treats to enjoy with my family. I specially love melomakarona, an olive oil and orange cookie soaked in a honey syrup and topped with grounded walnuts. I finally got the recipe from my neighbor. It is a great treat for the holidays and it is also suitable for vegans. The recipe makes 45 cookies. Enjoy!
For the dough
- 1 1/2 cups extra virgin Greek olive oil
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup orange blossom water (or an orange liquor)
- ½ cup orange juice (about 6 oranges)
- zest from two oranges
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
For the Syrup
- 2 cups Greek honey
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Juice and zest from 1 large lemon
- 1 ½ to 2 cups (170 to 228 g) finely ground walnuts for sprinkling
- Ground cinnamon for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 350°F and place parchment paper in three baking sheets.
In the bowl of an electric mixer outfitted with a whisk, beat the olive oil with sugar at medium-high speed until creamy. Dilute the baking soda in the orange juice. Add the orange juice mixture, the orange zests and orange blossom water to the olive oil mixture. Whisk until combined. Change the whisk attachment to the paddle attachment and add the flour. Mix to form a malleable dough. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Shape the dough into oblong pieces, about 1 1/2 inches long and 1 inch thick. Using the tines of a fork, prick the tops lightly to form a decorative pattern.
Place in the pan, about 2 inches apart, and bake for about 16 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool.
While the cookies are cooling, make the syrup. Place tall the syrup ingredients in a medium size pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Dip the melomakarona in the hot syrup and place on a platter. Sprinkle with cinnamon and finely ground walnuts and serve.