Melomakarona: Honey Cookies With Walnuts

Melomakarona cookies
Douglas Sacha/ Getty Images
  • 55 mins
  • Prep: 25 mins,
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Yield: About 60 cookies
Ratings (25)

If there was one Greek cookie that just says "Christmas," melomakarona would be it. Though the name is hard to pronounce, melomakarona are not very hard to make—and they're delicious. Also known as finikia, these are traditionally enjoyed during the Christmas and New Year's holiday, but you can certainly bake them year round.

This is an oil-based cookie recipe that produces moist cake-like cookies flavored with orange and brandy, bathed in a sweet honey syrup and topped with chopped walnuts.

What You'll Need

  • For the Cookies:
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1  teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup brandy
  • For the Syrup:
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 to 4 whole cloves
  • 1- to 2-inch piece ​​lemon rind
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Garnish:
  • 3/4 cup coarsely ground walnuts
  • Ground cinnamon

How to Make It

Make the Cookie Dough

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. In a small bowl, using your fingers, combine the orange zest with the sugar, rubbing the grains as if you were playing with sand to release the orange oils into the sugar.
  3. Using an electric mixer, beat the oils with the orange sugar until well mixed. In a separate bowl, sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Add the orange juice and brandy to the mixer and mix well.
  1. Slowly incorporate the flour mixture cup by cup until a dough forms that is not too loose but not quite firm either. It will be dense and wet but not sticky. Once the flour is incorporated fully stop mixing.
  2. To roll the cookies, pinch a portion of dough off about the size of a walnut. Shape it in your palms into a smooth oblong shape, almost like a small egg. Place it on an ungreased cookie sheet. Shape and roll the cookies until the sheet is filled.
  3. Press the tines of a large fork in a crosshatch pattern in the center of each cookie. This will flatten them slightly in the center. The cookies should resemble lightly flattened ovals when they go into the oven.
  4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until lightly browned. (The cookies will darken when submerged in the syrup.)

Make the Syrup

  1. While the cookies are baking, prepare the syrup. In a saucepan, combine the honey, sugar, water, cinnamon stick, cloves, and lemon rind. Bring the mixture to a boil then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Remove the cinnamon stick, cloves, and lemon rind and stir in lemon juice.

Finish the Cookies

  1. While the cookies are still very warm, carefully float the cookies in the syrup and allow the cookies to absorb syrup on both sides. Using a fork or small spatula, remove the cookie from the syrup and place it on a platter or plate.
  2. Press ground walnuts lightly into the tops of the cookies (syrup will help it adhere) and sprinkle with ground cinnamon. Do not refrigerate melomakarona as they will harden. Store them in an airtight container at room temperature.