The Best Honey Cookie Recipe (Melomakarona) - ririsgreekeats.com (2024)

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Are you looking for a cookie recipe without butter? Melomakarona are delicious dairy-free cookies enjoyed in Greek households over the Christmas and holiday seasons!

Melomakarona are soft, oval-shaped cookies made with ingredients you’ll likely already have on hand! This recipe makes between 35-40 cookies, but the good news is that these cookies are stored best at room temperature (they can last for at least two weeks), and there’s no need to put them in the fridge.

The texture of these cookies is almost cake-like in the centre since they become slightly soft as the orange syrup soaks into the cookies…the perfect cookie for those with a sweet tooth!

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What Are Melomakarona Made Of?

Melomakarona cookies are mostly made of flour, oil, orange, honey, sugar, cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg spices. These cookies will fill your home with a delightful holiday scent when baking.

Are Melomakarona Christmas Cookies?

Yes! Melomakarona are traditionally baked for Christmas and offered to friends and family who visit during the holidays! But you can modify the recipe to enjoy them without the orange honey syrup or walnuts, or enjoy this recipe all year round! Other popular Greek Christmas cookies are buttery and powdered kourabiedes, and I also have a vegan kourabiedes option.

The cookie dough is dairy-free and not super sweet (before dipping the cookies in the orange syrup), making it delicious with your morning coffee or as a treat during the day.

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RECIPE TIPS

  • This recipe calls for olive oil and vegetable oil. While the olive oil contributes to the flavour of these cookies, if you don’t have olive oil on hand or don’t like how olive oil tastes, you can use only vegetable oils such as canola oil or mazola oil.
  • If you’re not a fan of walnuts, you can easily substitute walnuts for ground pistachios or almonds.
  • The cookie dough should be pliable but not too soft. After the dough starts thickening, remove it from the electric mixer and use your hands or a spatula when adding the remaining flour. If the dough is too soft, gradually add more flour until the cookie holds its shape.
  • Try not to knead the dough too much because the oil will come to the surface.
  • Spread the cookies evenly in a single layer on a baking sheet. The cookies will expand in the oven, so you should leave at least a 1-inch space in between the cookies.
  • If the cookies overbake, they may not absorb the syrup as well. The cookies should be slightly soft when they come out of the oven because they will harden more as they cool. They should only need about 20 minutes in the oven. It’s best to use a light-coloured baking sheet so that the cookies don’t brown too quickly on the bottom.
  • For the cookies to absorb the syrup mixture, the cookies have to be at room temperature, and the syrup should be hot. The contrasting temperatures help the cookies absorb the syrup better.
  • I use two forks to take out the cookies and switch the cookies over in the syrup. As the dipped cookies cool, they will continue to absorb the syrup. For this reason, melomakarona taste even better 12-24 hours after they’re made! Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature to keep them fresh. These cookies will last for about a week at room temperature.

HOW TO MAKE GREEK HONEY COOKIES (MELOMAKARONA): STEP-BY-STEP

STEP 1: Mix the ingredients together. Pour 1 1/2 cups of oil into a large mixing bowl and add 1 cup of white sugar. Mix the oil and sugar on medium-high speed (#4 on a KitchenAid mixer) for 20 minutes using an electric stand mixer with the whisk attachment. After 20 minutes, add the brandy, cinnamon, nutmeg powder, and clove powder to the mixture.

STEP 2: Zest, peel, and juice the oranges. Zest three oranges and then juice the oranges to get 1 cup of orange juice. You may need 2-3 oranges to get 1 cup of juice. Reserve about 1-2 tablespoons of orange juice in a small glass and set it aside. You’ll need it to mix the orange juice and baking soda for the next step. Add 1 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice to the bowl with the oil and sugar, and continue to mix at medium speed.

STEP 3: Test and add in baking soda mixture. Mix the baking soda with 1-2 tablespoons of orange juice in a small glass. The mixture should foam slightly. If not, your baking soda may be expired, so it’s good to check! If it doesn’t foam, you’ll need to try again with new baking soda. If it does foam, add the orange juice with baking soda to the mixing bowl.

STEP 4: Sift flour and add to mixture. Sift 4 1/2 cups of flour into a separate large bowl. Add two teaspoons of baking powder and the orange zest to the flour. Mix together with a spoon. Before adding the flour to wet ingredients, switch from the whisk attachment to the paddle attachment. Gradually add the flour mixture to the oil mixture on low speed. Stop the mixer once all the flour is absorbed. You may need to turn off the mixer and use your hands to fold in the remaining flour. The dough should be slightly sticky but pliable. Too much flour will cause the melomakarona to be too firm, and they may not absorb the honey syrup as well.

STEP 5: Preheat your oven. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F on convection bake.

STEP 6: Allow the dough to rest. Allow the cookie dough to rest uncovered at room temperature for 10-15 minutes. The cookie dough should be pliable but firm enough that the cookies hold their shape. If the dough is too soft, you can gradually add a little bit of flour. A helpful tip is to lightly rub oil or water on your hands before shaping the cookies. This will prevent the cookie dough from sticking to your hands.

STEP 7: Shape the cookies. Scoop about one tablespoon of cookie dough for each cookie. Use the palm of your hands to roll the dough into a ball and then shape each cookie into a long oval shape. The cookies should all be similar in size so that they bake evenly. Depending on the size of your baking sheets and oven, you may need to bake your cookies in multiple batches.

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STEP 8: Bake the cookies. Bake the cookies at 350°F for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. While the cookies are baking, you can make the honey orange syrup.

STEP 9: Allow the cookies to cool. Once your cookies are golden brown, remove them from the oven. Let the cookies cool completely on a cooling rack. The cookies will harden more as they cool. As tempting as it is, try not to rush this step. For the cookies to absorb the hot syrup, the cookies need to be cool, and the syrup will need to be hot.

STEP 10: Dip the cool cookies in the hot syrup. If you’ve made the syrup ahead of time, gradually heat the syrup mixture until it comes to a boil. Once the syrup is hot, turn off the heat or reduce the heat to low and place your cookies into the syrup. Depending on the size of your saucepan, I usually dip six cookies at a time.

Soak the cookies in syrup for at least one minute on each side. If you like them sweeter or softer, then you can soak them for longer. Remove your cookies from the syrup using two forks or a slated spoon. Place the dipped cookies onto a separate plate or serving tray. Immediately sprinkle with the ground walnuts.

HOW TO MAKE HONEY ORANGE SYRUP: STEP BY STEP

STEP 1: Slowly bring sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan until the sugar has dissolved. Then, add honey to the syrup. Bring the syrup to a boil and skim off any foam that rises to the top with a spoon. Discard the foam. Add in the orange rind and cinnamon stick.

STEP 2: Add one teaspoon of fresh lemon juice. Allow the syrup to simmer for at least 10 minutes.

Step 3:The orange syrup must be hot when dipping the cookies into it. You can make the syrup ahead of time and then reheat it to a boil once the cookies have cooled. Remove the syrup from the heat or keep the syrup on low once you dip the cookies into the syrup. You will need to heat up the syrup a few times as you dip the cookies to make sure it’s still really hot.

HOW TO MAKE GROUND WALNUTS: STEP-BY-STEP

STEP 1: Spread 1 cup of walnuts onto a baking sheet. After removing the cookies from the oven and the oven is still hot, you can roast the walnuts for a couple of minutes. Because of the high oil content in nuts, keep an eye on them so that they don’t burn.

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STEP 2: Mix the oven-roasted walnuts until they are ground in a food processor. For best results, sprinkle the ground walnuts on top of the cookies immediately after dipping the cookies in the honey orange syrup so that the ground walnuts stick better to the dipped cookies.

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Print Recipe

5 from 7 votes

Honey Cookie Recipe (Melomakarona)

Dairy-free Greek Christmas cookies! Melomakarona are almost cake-like honey cookies with a firm exterior dipped in a sweet honey orange syrup. One bite, and these will be your new favourite Greek cookies!

Prep Time50 minutes mins

Cook Time20 minutes mins

Additional Time30 minutes mins

Total Time1 hour hr 35 minutes mins

Course: Desserts

Cuisine: Greek

Keyword: Dairy free cookies, Greek Christmas cookies, Greek holiday cookies

Servings: 35 cookies

Calories: 244kcal

Author: Ria Mavrikos

Equipment

Ingredients

Melomakarona Cookie Dough

  • cups oil 3/4 cup mazola oil and 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup metaxa brandy or cognac
  • Orange zest from 3 oranges
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice about 2-3 large navel oranges
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon level
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg powder level
  • 1/2 teaspoon clove powder
  • 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder level

Honey Orange Syrup Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 orange rind about 2″-3″ in length
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Ground Walnuts

  • 1 cup walnuts peeled

Instructions

  • Mix the ingredients.

    Pour 1 ½ cups of oil into a large mixing bowl and add 1 cup of white sugar. Mix the oil and sugar on medium-high speed for 20 minutes using an electric stand mixer with the whisk attachment. After 20 minutes, add in the brandy, cinnamon, nutmeg powder, and clove powder.

  • Zest, peel, and juice the oranges.

    Zest three oranges and then juice the oranges to get 1 cup of orange juice. You may need 2-3 oranges to get 1 cup of juice. Reserve about 2 tablespoons of orange juice in a small glass and set it aside. Add 1 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice to the mixing bowl and continue to mix at medium speed.

  • Test and add in baking soda mixture.

    Mix the baking soda with two tablespoons of orange juice In a small glass. The mixture will foam slightly. Then, add it to the mixing bowl.

  • Sift flour and add to the mixture.

    Sift 4 1/2 cups of flour into a separate large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of baking powder and orange zest to the flour. Mix together with a spoon. Before adding the flour to the wet ingredients, switch from the whisk attachment to the paddle attachment on the mixer. Gradually add the flour mixture to the oil mixture on low speed. Once almost all of the flour is absorbed, you may need to turn off the mixer and use your hands or a spatula instead when mixing in the remaining flour at the end. The dough will be slightly sticky but should be pliable. Too much flour will cause the melomakarona to be too firm, and then they may not absorb the syrup as well.

  • Preheat your oven.

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit on convection bake.

  • Allow the dough to rest. Allow the cookie dough to rest uncovered at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.

  • Shape the cookies.

    Scoop about one tablespoon of cookie dough for each cookie. Roll the dough into a ball and then shape each cookie into an oval shape. The cookies should all be similar in size so that they bake evenly. A helpful tip is lightly rubbing oil or water on your hands before shaping the cookies. This will prevent the cookie dough from sticking to your hands.

  • Bake the cookies at 350°F on convection bake.

    Bake the cookies in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

  • Prepare the honey orange syrup. While the cookies are baking, you can make the honey syrup.

  • Allow the cookies to cool.

    Once your cookies are golden brown, remove them from the oven. Let them cool completely —at least 20 minutes on a cooling rack. The cookies will harden more as they cool. The cookies must cool completely before being dipped in the hot syrup.

  • Dip the cool cookies in the hot syrup.

    If you've made the syrup ahead of time, gradually heat the syrup mixture to a boil. Once the syrup is hot, remove it from the heat or reduce the heat to low. You can add about 6 cookies at a time into the syrup (depending on the size of your saucepan). Soak the cookies in the syrup on each side for at least one minute. Remove the cookies from the syrup using two forks or a slated spoon. Place the dipped cookies onto a separate plate or serving tray. Immediately sprinkle with the ground walnuts.

Honey Orange Syrup Instructions

  • Boil sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar dilutes, then add the honey. Bring the syrup to a boil and skim off any foam that rises to the top with a spoon. Discard the foam. Add the orange rind and cinnamon stick to the syrup.

  • Then, add 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice. Allow the syrup to simmer for about 10 minutes or until the syrup slightly thickens.

  • The syrup needs to be hot when you're dipping the cookies into it. You can make the syrup ahead of time and then reheat it to a boil once the cookies have cooled.

Ground walnuts Instructions (optional)

  • Spread 1 cup of walnuts onto a baking sheet. After the cookies are removed from the oven and the oven is still hot, you can roast the walnuts for a couple of minutes. Because of the high oil content in nuts, keep an eye on them so that they don't burn.

  • In a food processor, grind the oven-roasted walnuts.

  • For best results, sprinkle ground walnuts on top of the cookies immediately after the cookies have been dipped in the honey syrup.

Notes

  1. The cookie dough should be pliable but not too sticky.
  2. Try not to mix the dough too much because then the oil will come to the surface.
  3. Place the cookies in a single layer on a baking sheet. The cookies will expand slightly in the oven, so it’s best to leave about an inch in between the cookies.
  4. If the cookies overbake, they may not absorb the syrup as well. The cookies will be slightly soft when they come out of the oven, but they will harden as they cool. They should only need about 15 minutes in the oven. It’s best to use a light-coloured baking sheet so that the cookies don’t brown too quickly on the bottom.
  5. In order for the cookies to absorb the syrup mixture, the cookies have to be at room temperature, and the syrup should be hot. As the cookies cool, they will continue to absorb the syrup.
  6. I use two forks to take out the cookies from the syrup and to switch the cookies over in the syrup.
  7. Traditionally, melomakarona are served at Christmas time with orange honey syrup and ground walnuts, but they are delicious cookies any time of the year!

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 244kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.04g | Sodium: 49mg | Potassium: 51mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 17IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1mg

Date Published: December 24, 2021

The Best Honey Cookie Recipe (Melomakarona) - ririsgreekeats.com (2024)
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