In the Uk we have the best Christmas pies, but in Greece they have the best Christmas biscuits. This Melamakarona recipe makes the most perfect batch of honey cookies. With an abundance of sweet treat flavours, these healthier Christmas biscuits pack in all the yule tide yums! Everyone in Greece will testify that there is nothing better than the aroma of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg letting everyone know it’s Christmas biscuit time! So pull up a chair, grab a cuppa and let’s make some Melamakarona.
This Melamakarona recipe requires both a dry and a wet mix. To make your own Greek Christmas biscuits, you will first need the following ingredients to make your dry mix.
- 1 kg of all purpose Flour
- 1/2 teaspoon Baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Baking soda.
For the wet mix you will need the following, keep your recipe authentic by using only the best, Greek ingredients.
- 580g Fresh, extra virgin olive oil (we’re biased but Sitian is always the best!)
- 400g Fresh, strained orange juice
- 50g icing sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2-3 teaspoons of cinnamon Cognac or brandy (optional)
- 2 table spoons of Greek honey
- The zest of 2 oranges
You’ll also need to make some orange and honey syrup for dipping the biscuits. the ingredients for which are below.
- 500g water
- 800g granulated sugar
- 150g honey
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 3 cloves
- 1/2 an orange
And finally once complete decorate with a cup of finely chopped walnuts.
How to Make Melomakarona
In a large bowl mix the olive oil, cognac/brandy, orange juice, sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, and orange peel. Then set these aside.
In another bowl sift flour and mix with the baking powder and baking soda. Add the flour gradually to the wet mix, while stirring. Do not add all of it at once, gently until you have soft and shiny dough, it should not be dry. Next for the kneading which is the perfect oppportunity to let little ones get in on the activity. However, remember the dough mustn’t be over kneaded.
One ready, roll the dough into a large bowl cover with plastic and let it rest for 15-20 minutes.
Next, roll the dough into little balls about the size of a walnut (they’ll grow during the bake). Using your fingers mould the balls into an oval shape and then prick or scratch lightly with a fork so that in the next stage (after baking) they absorb the honey.
Preheat the oven to 190 C and then bake for 20-25 minutes, until they are crunchy and golden brown. Once ready take the Christmas biscuits straight out of the oven and soak them in the (heated) syrup for around 10 seconds before leaving them to drain on a rack. To finish, sprinkle them with the finely chopped walnuts.
What Does Melamakarona Mean?
These Christmas biscuits are perfect for sharing with friends over a cuppa or for a festive afternoon tea. But, what does Melamakarona mean? Well, Melomakarona or ‘μελομακάρονα’ (in Greek text), comes from the words ‘meli’ which means honey and ‘makarona’, which means blessed. Historically served on the lead up to Christmas as “kerasma” (a treat) to enjoy during fasting as they contain no eggs or dairy. If you’re vegan why not try substituting the honey from this Melamakarona recipe for vegan honey.
The Best Christmas Biscuits
If you enjoyed this Melamakrona recipe, why not try some more Greek Christmas biscuits, with this Kourabiedes recipe and let us know what you think in the comments below.
We hope you agree these are the best Christmas biscuits and continue our tradition of following this Melemakarona recipe, every year. Huge thanks to the wonderful Eirini and best aunt ever, for taking the time to teach us!
Much yule tide love,