The Best Honey Cookie Recipe (Melomakarona)

24

Dec

WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE

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

 

  • Melomakarona are soft oval-shaped cookies made with ingredients you’re likely to already have on hand! This recipe makes about 46 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! 

 

 

melomakarona on a cookie sheet sprinkled with ground walnuts and honey syrup

 

What Are Melomakarona Made Of? 

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

 

Are Melomakarona Christmas Cookies? 

Yup, melomakarona are traditionally baked for the Christmas season and are 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! 

 

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.

 

 melomakarona with orange honey syrup and walnuts in individual wrappers

 

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.

 

  • Try not to knead the dough too much because the oil will come to the surface. 

 

  • Spread the cookies in a single layer evenly 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, then they may not absorb the syrup as well.  The cookies should be slightly soft when they come out of the oven (that’s ok!).  The cookies will harden more as they cool.  They should only need about 20-25 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.

 

  • In order 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.  These cookies 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.

 

melomakarona cookies on a serving tray

 

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

 

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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 for 5 minutes at a low speed using an electric stand mixer or handheld mixer.  After about 5 minutes, add brandy, cinnamon, nutmeg powder, and clove powder to the mixture. 

 

 

STEP 2: Zest, peel, and juice the oranges. Zest two oranges and then juice the oranges to get 1 cup of orange juice.  You may need 2-3 oranges to get enough juice for 1 cup.

 

Add 1 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice to the bowl with the oil and sugar,  and continue to mix at a low speed. Reserve about 1-2 tablespoons of orange juice in a small glass and set it aside. You’ll need it for the next step to mix the orange juice and baking soda. 

 

 

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 does foam, add the orange juice with baking soda to the oil mixture in the bowl.  If it doesn’t foam, you’ll need to try again with new baking soda. 

 

 

STEP 4: Sift flour and add to mixture. Sift 5 cups of flour into a separate large bowl. Add 2 teaspoons of baking powder to the flour and the orange zest. Mix together.  Gradually add the flour mixture to the oil mixture. 

 

 

Stop the mixer once all the flour is absorbed.  You can also switch from the whisk attachment to a spatula to mix the remaining flour.  The dough will be slightly sticky but should be pliable.  Too much flour will cause the melomakarona to be too firm, and they may not absorb the honey syrup.

 

 

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

 

 

STEP 6: Allow the dough to rest. Allow the cookie dough to rest uncovered and at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes in the mixing bowl.  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 lightly rubbing 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 heaping 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.  You may need to bake your cookies in multiple batches depending on the size of your baking sheets and oven. 

 

Greek honey cookies on a baking sheet before baking in the oven.

 

 

STEP 8: Bake the cookies. Bake the cookies in a single layer for 25 minutes or until golden brown.  While the cookies are baking, you can make the 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 best 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 have the heat on 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. 

 

 

six melomakarona cookies dipped in honey syrup.

 

 

HOW TO MAKE HONEY ORANGE SYRUP: STEP BY STEP 

 

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STEP 1: Slowly bring sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan for 5 minutes. Then add-in 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. 

 

 

STEP 2: Add the orange rind and cinnamon stick. 

 

 

STEP 3: Then, add 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice. The lemon juice will help to thicken the syrup.  Allow the syrup to simmer for at least 10 minutes. 

 

 

Step 4: The orange 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. Remove the syrup from the heat or keep the syrup on low once you start dipping 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. Because of the high oil content in nuts, keep an eye on them so that they don’t burn. Remove the walnuts from the oven after 5 minutes.

 

 

toasted whole walnuts on a black circular baking pan.

 

STEP 2: Mix the oven-roasted walnuts until their 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. 

 

toasted ground walnuts in a small glass bowl.

 

 

 

honey Christmas cookies with sprinkled walnuts
Yield: 40 cookies

Honey Cookie Recipe (Melomakarona)

Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

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!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups oil (3/4 cup mazola oil and 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 oz metaxa brandy or cognac
  • Orange zest from 2-3 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)
  • 1/4 teaspoon clove powder
  • 5 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

Instructions

  1. 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 for 5 minutes at a low speed using an electric stand mixer. Add brandy, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg powder, and clove powder to the mixture.
  2. Zest, peel, and juice the oranges. Zest two oranges and then juice the oranges to get 1 cup of orange juice. You may need 2-3 oranges to get enough juice for 1 cup. Add 1 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice to the mixing bowl and continue to mix at a low speed. Reserve about 2 tablespoons of orange juice in a small glass and set it aside.
  3. 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 oil mixture in the mixing bowl.
  4. Sift flour and add to the mixture. Sift 5 cups of flour into a separate large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of baking powder and orange zest to the flour. Gradually add the flour mixture to the oil mixture. Continue to mix. Once all the flour is almost 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.
  5. Preheat your oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit on bake.
  6. Allow the dough to rest. Allow the cookie dough to rest uncovered at room temperature for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Shape the cookies. Scoop about 1 heaping 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.
  8. Bake the cookies. Bake the cookies in the oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Prepare the honey orange syrup. While the cookies are baking, you can make the honey syrup.
  10. 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.
  11. 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 turn off the element and place a few cookies into the hot syrup. 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

  1. Boil sugar and water in a small saucepan for 5 minutes, 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.
  2. Add the orange rind and cinnamon stick to the syrup.
  3. Then, add 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice. This will help to thicken the syrup. Allow the syrup to simmer for about 10 minutes or until the syrup slightly thickens.
  4. 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. Remove the syrup from the heat once you start dipping the cookies into the honey orange syrup.

Ground walnuts Instructions (optional)

  1. 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. Because of the high oil content in nuts, keep an eye on them so that they don't burn. Remove from the oven after 5 minutes.
  2. In a food processor, mix oven-roasted walnuts until their ground.
  3. 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 soft. After the dough starts thickening, remove it from the electric mixer and use your hands or a spatula when adding the remaining flour.
  2. Try not to knead the dough too much because then the oil will come to the surface.
  3. Place the cookies in a single layer evenly 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, then 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 20-25 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.
  6. I use two forks to take out the cookies from the syrup and to switch the cookies over in the syrup.
  7. As the cookies cool, they will continue to absorb the syrup.
  8. 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 Information:

Yield:

40

Serving Size:

1 cookie

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 203Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 49mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 1gSugar: 17gProtein: 2g

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

 

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