I am so proud to share my mother’s recipe with everyone this holiday season. It’s coming at you a little late on December 22, 2021. This delay happened because it took us baking them a few times (since my mother uses only her memory and coffee mugs to measure out her ingredients, yes she is THAT OLD SCHOOL) to convert her measurements to cups, tablespoons and teaspoons. It was quite the tribulation but it was definitely worth it and they came out INCREDIBLE!
Major Announcement: this recipe yields 66 cookies. Typically one makes these because they are taking them to a get-together or party. And they want to keep some for themselves at home too (wink wink). You can halve the recipe if 66 cookies is too much for you. This is the portion most Greeks make during the holidays making their rounds and having company over with the Elliniko Greek Coffee or tea. Perfect Duo.
The two flours we use in this recipe are regular all purpose flour and fine semolina.
What is fine semolina?
- It’s a type of flour made from Durum Wheat.
- It’s darker (mine was golden in color) and coarser than regular flour.
- It has a more earthy aroma compared to most other flours.
- Semolina is used around the world but is most popular in Italy – think pasta. Semolina is very high in gluten and that’s what helps pasta keep its shape.
- YOU CAN SUBSTITUTE SEMOLINA WITH ALL PURPOSE FLOUR, BREAD FLOUR OR WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR.
- CINNAMON and CLOVES: very important to this recipe. Greeks use these spices to flavor most of their dishes in general.
- POWDERED SUGAR: helps to absorb moisture from other ingredients giving the cookies a unique bumpy appearance and an extra tender and chewy texture.
- OLIVE OIL: its liquid gold and also found in most Greek recipes. It adds flavor like no other.
- CANOLA OIL: we cannot use all olive oil in this recipe, the flavor would be too strong. The canola oil has a mild flavor that preserves the ingredients flavors.
- ORANGE JUICE and ZEST: make sure you zest first, then juice. This adds a majority of the delicious flavor to these cookies.
- COGNAC/BRANDY: It acts as a vanilla extract type of ingredient, bringing that boozy flavor to the cookies.
This syrup recipe is standard to all my Greek desserts and does not waiver. Simple to make of only white cane sugar, water, lemon (or orange), cinnamon stick, whole cloves and honey. It comes together in 5 minutes. If you dredge the cookies in simmering syrup then the cookies have to be completely cooled. If your cookies are warm out of the oven, then you syrup needs to be cool. NEVER SOAK WARM COOKIES IN HOT SYRUP. They will fall apart to crumbs.
VERY important as well is to top each cookie with the chopped walnuts immediately after they come out of their syrup bath. This ensures the walnut crumbs will stick to the cookie. If the cookie dries, the won’t stick as well.
NOTE: These cookies taste better the day after you make them. The cookies have really soaked up the honey syrup and that’s when they adapt to melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Thank you for swinging by Hungry Happens! If you make this or any other recipe on our site, we would greatly appreciate it if you left a comment and rated the dish! LOVE YOUR LIFE…
Melomakarona (Greek Honey Cookies)
- 3 cups sugar
- 3 cups cold water
- 1/2 lemon
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 whole cloves
- 3/4 cup honey
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat your oven to 400°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, semolina, baking powder, cinnamon and cloves.
- In a separate large bowl, whisk together the oils and brandy until smooth. In a large measuring glass or medium bowl, house the fresh squeezed orange juice. Add to it the baking soda and whisk. When it begins to foam up, immediately pour it into the bowl with the wet ingredients, along with the zest, and whisk in. Add in the sifted powdered sugar and whisk in.
- Next, add the dry mixture into the wet, in 4 batches, mixing with your hand to get everything incorporated. Once flour is absorbed, stop mixing.
- Form balls and then shape them into oblong cookies. Place them on your cookie sheet and then use a fork to lightly puncture the tops (see tiktok video above) in four rows. Bake for 20 minutes or until cookies turn light golden.
- In a medium pot, combine the sugar, water, cinnamon stick, whole cloves and lightly squeeze the lemon into the mixture (just a small sprinkle of juice should come out). Toss the lemon into the pot and bring the mixture to a boil. Once it begins to boil, lower the heat to medium low, cover it and cook for 5 minutes. Finally, uncover and mix in the honey.
- NOTE: It is very important to let the cookies cool off completely before submerging them into the hot syrup. Conversely you can make your syrup first and let that cool off and when the cookies come out warm from the oven, you can dredge them through the sauce. You should NEVER dip a warm cookie into hot syrup.
- Work in batches of 4 or 5 cookies, submerging them in heated, simmering syrup for about 15-20 seconds each batch. Use a slotted spoon flip them over occasionally and then to remove them from the pot and transfer to a platter. IMMEDIATELY sprinkle them with the crushed walnuts and press them down, so that the nuts stick to the cookie when they are still wet from the syrup.