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Melomakarona with Pecans

Melomakarona are one of our Christmas traditional cookies which are infused in honey.  They have no butter, no eggs, nothing dairy but they are so tasty you cannot just eat one.  They can be preserved for a very long time but they get a bit dry as time passes.  That does not make them less tasty but when the holidays are over and you still have leftovers, they make a great base for cheesecake or even best you can dip them into melted chocolate.  However, if you like you can bake them and store them in airtight containers and have fresh ones whenever you like.  You just  preheat your oven and place melomakarona and warm them up.   The syrup should be lukewarm and  give them a lovely honey bath.

As with kourabiedes, melomakarona recipes differ from place to place.  In some places they are more orange flavoured and in other spices prevail.    This year I made melomakarona a bit different than  last year’s, adding more spices and adding semolina as well.  Instead of the traditional walnut, I used pecans and in some of them I added a piece inside as well.  I used olive oil which was produced by my in laws in Sparta which is light and of an extra good quality.  When I say light olive oil, I mean a lighter taste, as in some places of Greece and especially the islands, including Cyprus, although they have a very good quality of olive oil, it has a very strong taste

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Baking time: 1 hour and 15 minutes

Makes: 40 big ones and 15 smaller

Ingredients for the cookies:

  • 250 grams (1 1/2 glasses)  good quality light olive oil
  • 200 grams (1 glass) sugar
  • 190 grams (1 glass) fresh orange juice
  • 30 grams brandy ( 1/2 wine glass)
  • 945 grams (7 glasses Χ 135 grams) all purpose flour
  • 100 grams (less than 1 glass) fine semolina
  • 125 grams of pecans (half batch was filled and some were used to sprinkle on top)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • orange zest from 1 orange (only a thin layer)
  • ½ teaspoon cloves, powdered
  • ½  teaspoon cinnamon, powdered

(Note)  We use a normal drinking glass of water which should not be filled to the top.    The glass was weighed and the scale was set to zero (0) before weighing.

For the syrup:

  • 400 grams (2 glasses) sugar
  • 500 grams of thyme honey (2 glasses were used for the syrup and a few teaspoons extra was used on top)
  • 2 glasses of water
  • orange peel
  • 1 piece of whole cinnamon
  • 3 – 4 cloves


Mix flour, semolina, sugar, cloves, cinnamon and orange zest in a bowl.

Add fluid ingredients:  oil, brandy and orange juice, in which soda is dissolved, in the mixer bowl.   Using K paddle start adding flour and mix until a dough is formed.  The dough must be soft but not sticky on the hands.  If dough is sticky, just add a little bit more flour.

Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius.

Prepare the syrup by adding sugar, honey, water, cinnamon stick, cloves and orange peel in a sauce pan.  Bring to a boil and remove any froth which forms.  Simmer for 5 minutes and set aside.

Line a baking tin with parchment paper and shape melomakarona either round or oblong or use cookie cutters.

To stuff them, take a walnut size piece of dough and flatten with your fingers.  Place half a pecan in the middle and fold to close.

You can skip this step but in order to make a design on one side, place the side touching your palm and press it on a grater and then turn over and place the sealed side on the baking tin.

Bake for 30 minutes, until they just start to get a light colour.

You can also make bite size cookies with a cookie cutter.   For these smaller ones bake only for 15 minutes.

When baked, remove from the oven and immediately dip them in batches in the syrup for 1 minute.  Turn them over for another 1 minute and remove with a slotted ladle in a colander.

Repeat with a new batch and when they have cooled transfer to a platter.

Place first layer and with a spoon drizzle some extra honey on top.  Add crushed pecans mixed with 1/2 teaspoon powdered cinnamon and cloves.

Continue with a second and third layer.   You can then put them in cup cake cases or leave them as they are.

I am sending this recipe to Andrea, of Andrea’s Recipes, for her event Grow Your Own, as the olive oil used was produced and given to us by my in-laws.

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21 Responses

  1. What delightful little cookies! Pecan are my favorite nuts along with walnuts and peanuts (not exactly nuts, though)…

    Cheers and have a great day,


  2. The pecans are a great idea Ivy and I too find these very addictive! I like the idea about using them as a base for cheesecake! Yum!

  3. Wow awesome cookies that too without dairy products. Looks melt in mouth.

  4. I know i would like these! I’m not a big fan of buttery cookies but honey, brandy, pecans…well, that’s another story!

  5. These cookies sound so delightful, loved that they are made with olive oil !

  6. I love all these traditional cookies. Keeping with tradition makes the holidays special for our families:D Have a wonderful holiday Ivy with your family. ENJOY!!!

  7. I love your cookies Ivy, I love seeing you make things I’ve never seen before. Love the pictures!!

  8. This is such a different recipe…pecan nuts are one of our favourites.

  9. All ingredients involved in Melomakarona are my faves! You are doing such a great job with your traditional recipes 😀 Thanks so much for sharing 😀

    Sorry I didn’t come earlier girl. Don’t know if I’ll be able to keep the blogging thing during the holidays!


  10. Oh Ivy, these look great! I love, love, love honey!

    Hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday.

    a.k.a. The Hungry Mouse

  11. One of my absolute favorites! Your melomakarona look beautiful. Kales Giortes!

  12. Ivy, I remember your last year’s batch like yesterday…time flies!

    I too just read of using melomekarena as a cheesecake base and I have to try it out.

    I love the hidden pecans and everyone likes food surprises.

  13. giz

    I’ve heard so much about this cookie that now I have to tag it for the new year. If I make one more cookie this year I’m sure the wrath of Psychgrad will be all over me. They’re beautiful. I especially like the cookie cutter :).

    Happy Holidays!!!

  14. Mmm, these cookies look delicious. I love the addition of brandy in the ingredients.

  15. PG

    these look wonderful! I love the way you dip the cookies in the syrup. It is reminding me so much of Jalebis from India. my mouth is watering! 😀
    It is amazing what amount of work you have put to make all these lovely cookies. great!

  16. Just made them and they are so tasty.

  17. Ivy

    Hey, Despina, it’s good to hear from you. We’ve lost touch. It seems that the babies are taking a lot of your time and you are not blogging lately. I just finished my second batch of melomacarona and kourabiedes and I am glad you liked them.

  18. What a wonderful cookie, and how lucky you are to have a family source for olive oil. I can just imagine how good they taste. Thanks for sharing them with Grow Your Own.

  19. sha

    hi Ivy chronia polla i book marked this recipe as an old child hood friend a Filipina who grew up in Athens who has moved to California has asked me some xmas cookies…

    she wants greek ones.. i know its past xmas but am going to bake these for her

  20. Ivy

    Hi Sha and thanks a lot. They are just cookies and much more healthier than usual ones. I made them twice during Christmas and I hope you love them as much as we do.

  21. Cookies with pecans look wonderful … I asked on your earlier about the olive oil measure … but I see the amount here. Nice to see the steps as well .. somehow whenever I make cookokies many times they never out come out LOL!