Melomakarona - the Greek Christmas olive oil cookies

Melomakarona, are Greek Christmas honey dipped oil cookies that date back to the 14th century

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1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup white sugar
2 oranges, juiced and zest of half
1/4 cup brandy Metaxa 
3 cups flour 
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon ground clove

1 1/3 cups walnuts, finely chopped

1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup boiling water
1 cinnamon stick
4 cloves
peel of one orange



Beat well the olive oil well and the sugar. Dissolve the soda in the orange juice together with the brandy and add to the mixture. 
Mix cinnamon and cloves with the flour and the baking powder, and add to fluid mixture a little at a time. If you have a grinder, grind the cloves and cinnamon yourselves and you will get extra aroma.

Add the orange zest and knead until a soft, fluffy dough is made. The mixture must have an oily consistency.
Take a small piece of the mixture, about the size of a big walnut, and give it an oval shape about 1 cm thick. To make a pattern on top we usually press the grater and little patterns appear.
Place in an oiled tin and bake in a preheated oven (180ο C) for about thirty minutes or until the bottom side is golden brown.

In the meantime prepare the syrup by placing in a pan the sugar, water, honey, cinnamon, cloves,  and orange peel.

Bring to boiling point skimming if needed. Remove from heat but preserve the syrup warm. Before the cookies cool down, dip them in the syrup for a few seconds and then with a slotted ladle remove into a platter. Finally pound the walnuts and  sprinkle on top of the melomakarona.


Using extra virgin olive oil will add more fruity flavour to the melomakarona. If you want you can use half olive and half vegetable oil.
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