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Melomakarona with Pecans

Melomakarona with Pecans

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Melomakarona, are one of our traditional Christmas cookies, made with extra virgin olive oil, which after baking, are infused in honey.

They have no butter, no eggs, nothing dairy but they are so tasty you cannot just eat one. 

Melomakarona with pecans image

Note:  the video you are watching is from a different recipe, made with a different method.

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 walnuts, I used pecans and in some of them I added a piece inside as well. 

I used a mild extra virgin olive oil which was produced by my in laws in Sparta which is light and of an extra good quality. 

When I say mild 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.

What kind of flour should I use?

I use all-purpose flour.

What kind of olive oil should I use?

I use extra virgin olive oil.  In Greece you kind find different types of olive oil.  For cakes or cookies, I use a mild extra virgin olive oil.  If the olive oil you are using has a strong flavour, you can use one part olive oil and one part vegetable oil. 

Syrup:

The syrup is usually made with honey, water and spices.  However, as honey is expensive, you can substitute part of it with sugar.

The cookie itself is Lenten, so if you want to make the cookies vegan you can substitute it with a simple syrup with sugar, water and some spices.

Honey syrup will create some foam on top, so when it starts boiling, you have to skim off the foam.

When dipping the cookies in the syrup, it must be warm and the cookies cold.

Honey syrup image

Preparation:

Sift the flour and add the semolina, sugar, cloves, cinnamon and orange zest.

Flour and other dry ingredients image

Combine all the fluid ingredients, the olive oil, brandy and orange juice, in your mixer’s bowl.  Before adding the orange juice, dissolve the baking soda in it.  Be cautious as it will bubble and overflow. 

Attach the K paddle to your stand mixer.

Start adding the dry ingredients gradually and mix, on low speed, until a dough is formed.  The dough must be soft but not sticky on the hands.  If the dough is sticky, just add a little bit more flour.

The end result must be a very oily dough.  Cover the dough and let it rest for about half an hour.

Oily melomakarona dough image

Making the melomakarona

Shape the melomakarona into balls.  To make them the same size, I usually weigh each ball to be around 32 – 35 grams each.

Weighing melomakarona image

 You can make them round or oval or if you want to use a cookie cutter, make the dough flat, about 1 cm thick and cut them in the shape you like.

Cutting melomakarona with a cookie cutter image

If you want to stuff them with the pecans, form the balls and make each ball flat with your fingers.  Place a pecan in the middle and fold to close.

You can make a pattern on top of them by pressing the stuffed cookie on a box grater or use your imagination.

Collage Melomakarona with pecans image

Baking

To bake the melomakarona preheat the oven to 180oC or 160oC for a convection oven.  Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, depending on your oven and their size.

Let them cool before dipping them in the warm syrup.

Decoration

Crush some pecans and mix in some cinnamon.  Add some raw honey on top of the cookies and sprinkle with with pecans.

Melomakarona adding honey on top image


Don’t wait till Christmas to bake these wonderful Greek Honey Cookies as they are full of flavour!  

Melomakarona with pecans picture

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.

Melomakarona Honey Cookies with Christmas platter image

Melomakarona with Pecans

Yield: 45
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Melomakarona with Pecans 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. 

Ingredients

For the cookies:

  • 250 grams good quality mild extra virgin olive oil (or a mixture of olive oil and vegetable oil)
  • 200 grams sugar
  • 190 grams fresh orange juice
  • 30 ml brandy
  • 945 grams all-purpose flour
  • 100 grams fine semolina
  • 125 grams pecans (half of them were used in the filling and the remaining to sprinkle on top)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • Orange zest from 1 orange (only a thin layer)
  • ½ tsp powdered cloves
  • ½ tsp cinnamon

For the syrup:

  • 400 grams sugar
  • 500 grams thyme honey
  • 2 cups water
  • Orange peel
  • 1 piece of whole cinnamon
  • 3 – 4 cloves

Instructions

  1. Combine the flour, semolina, sugar, cloves, cinnamon and orange zest in a bowl.
  2. Add the fluid ingredients (oil, brandy and orange juice, in which soda is dissolved), in your mixer bowl.  
  3. Using the K paddle start adding flour and mix on low speed, 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.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180o C / 350oF or 160oC / 320oF. if using a convection oven.
  5. Line a baking tin with parchment paper and shape melomakarona either round or oblong or use cookie cutters.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Bake for about 30 minutes, until they just start to get a light colour.
  9. You can also make bite size cookies with a cookie cutter.   For these smaller
    ones bake only for 15 minutes.
  10. Set aside to cool.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Repeat with a new batch and when they have cooled transfer to a platter.
  14. Place first layer and with a spoon drizzle some extra honey on top.  Add crushed pecans mixed with some powdered cinnamon and cloves.
  15. Continue with a second and third layer.   You can then put them in cupcake
    cases or leave them as they are.

Notes

Before buying measuring cups, I used to use a normal drinking glass for water which was not be filled to the top.    The glass was weighed and the scale was set to zero (0) before weighing. See my post on Conversion of weights.



Nutrition Information
Yield 45 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 223Total Fat 8gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 0mgSodium 31mgCarbohydrates 36gFiber 3gSugar 14gProtein 3g

The calories in each cookie are less because there is always a lot of leftover syrup, which is calculated in the total calories.

Did you make this recipe?

Tried this recipe? Tag me @ivyliac and use the hashtag #kopiaste!

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Collage Melomakarona with pecans image

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heni

Saturday 19th of December 2009

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!

Ivy

Thursday 8th of January 2009

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.

sha

Thursday 8th of January 2009

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

Andrea

Saturday 3rd of January 2009

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.

Ivy

Tuesday 30th of December 2008

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.

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