Melomakarona: Greek Christmas Honey & Spice Cookies

Melomakarona (Greek Christmas Honey & Spice Cookies) have all the flavors of baklava, in a cookie. These amazing cookies stay fresh up to 2 weeks! 

Greek Honey & Spice Cookies (Melomakarona) - All the flavors of baklava, in a cookie. These amazing cookies stay fresh up to 2 weeks! | foxeslovelemons.com

While I may not have any family from Greece, these Melomakarona (Greek honey, spice and walnut cookies) will always have a special place in my heart. I originally discovered them while completing my culinary school final practical exam. Each student was assigned a country and had to prepare a meal from that country. I had Greece, and the dessert for my meal was these cookies. They were absolutely delicious, and I’d been craving them again ever since, but just hadn’t gotten around to making a batch.

I was especially wanting these cookies after my trip to Greece this fall. I had hoped to find a few melomakarona in their home country, and even took a quick glance into every bakery we walked past. I didn’t actually inquire about the cookies, afraid that I might pronounce them wrong, or they really weren’t as Greek as I thought. When I got home, I did some quick research and discovered that melomakarona are Greek Christmas cookies. Whew. Glad I didn’t ask about them in September like some dumb tourist.

 Greek Honey & Spice Cookies (Melomakarona) - All the flavors of baklava, in a cookie. These amazing cookies stay fresh up to 2 weeks! | foxeslovelemons.com

Their flavor of melomakarona is very similar to baklava, but in cookie form. The batter is pretty simple, and is flavored with fresh orange juice (juice your own oranges for this, it’s worth it), and some cinnamon and cloves. You might be tempted to taste a cookie as soon as it comes out of the honey syrup, but try to wait if you can. The REAL magic is what happens when the cookies sit overnight (or even better, several days), and the syrup really soaks into the cookies. NOW you can try one and take a virtual trip to Greece.

Yield: 6 to 7 dozen cookies

Greek Honey & Spice Cookies (Melomakarona)

Greek Honey & Spice Cookies (Melomakarona)
Melomakarona (Greek Christmas Honey & Spice Cookies) have all the flavors of baklava, in a cookie. These amazing cookies stay fresh up to 2 weeks!

Ingredients

For the Cookie Dough:

  • 6-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice (from about 4 juice oranges)
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest

For the Honey Syrup & Walnut Topping:

  • 3 strips orange peel, about 1-inch wide
  • 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups honey
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 8 ounces walnuts, very finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves

Instructions

  1. Make Cookie Dough: In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda and cloves.
  2. In bowl of stand mixer, cream butter and sugar 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating until just incorporated after each addition. Add oil, orange juice and orange zest; mix until combined.
  3. Gradually add flour mixture to wet ingredients. Turn dough out onto floured work surface and knead 1 minute. Transfer dough to large bowl; cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
  4. Meanwhile, make Honey Syrup & Walnut Topping: In high-sided saute pan or large pot, stir together orange peel, sugar, honey and water. Heat to boiling over medium-high heat and let boil 1 minute. Remove from heat and let syrup cool completely.
  5. In small bowl, stir together walnuts, cinnamon and cloves.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. For each cookie, take about 1-1/2 tablespoons dough and roll and press it into an oval shape with your hands. Place on rimmed baking pan; repeat until baking pan is full. Prick tops of cookies with fork 4-5 times so that tine marks are lightly visible. Return remaining dough to refrigerator between batches.
  7. Bake cookies 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. In batches, transfer hot cookies to cooled honey syrup. Let them soak 30 seconds, turning halfway through. Using slotted spoon, transfer cookies to parchment-lined rimmed baking pan. Immediately sprinkle with walnut mixture. Continue with remaining cookies.
  9. When completely cool, transfer cookies to airtight containers, with parchment or wax paper between layers (or put each cookie in a paper cupcake wrapper). Cookies will last up to 2 weeks.