The melomakarono (Greek: μελομακάρονο plural: μελομακάρονα, melomakarona) is an egg-shaped Greek dessert made mainly from flour, olive oil, and honey. It is typically served during Christmas.
The word “melomakarona” has its etymological roots in ancient Greece. Dictionaries note that the word “macaroni” (meaning pasta”) derives from the medieval Greek word “makaronia” (a funerary dinner containing pasta that blessed the dead). The makaronia in term comes from the ancient Greek word “makaria,” which used to be a piece of bread in the shape of the modern-day melomakarona, which was offered to people who attended a funeral.
Later, the makaria recipe was changed, adding honey (“meli”) therefore the name changed as well to melomakarono. The Latins and later the Italians used the word makaronia as maccarone, which eventually came to mean pasta.
Typical ingredients of the melomakarono are flour or semolina, sugar, orange zest and/or fresh juice, cognac (or similar beverage), cinnamon and olive oil. During rolling they are often filled with ground walnuts. Immediately after baking, they are immersed for a few seconds in cold syrup made of honey and sugar dissolved in water. Finally, they are decorated with ground, as well as bigger pieces of walnut. More modern versions have them enrobed in dark chocolate. However you choose them, though, they taste delicious!!! And they're sized perfectly to fit into a Rover, Launch, or Shuttle lunchbox to boot!
For the syrup
500 g (2 cups + 2 Tbsp) water
800 g (3 1/4 cups) granulated sugar
150 g (3/4 cup) honey
3 sticks cinnamon
1 orange, cut in half
For the cookies
400 g (2 cups) orange or tangerine juice
400 g (2 cups) olive oil
50 g (1/4 cup) icing sugar
1/2 teaspoons cloves
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoons nutmeg
1 teaspoons baking soda
zest from one orange
zest from one tangerine
1 kilo (8 cups) all-purpose flour
200 g (1.6 cups )semolina, fine
For the syrup
Boil all the ingredients for the syrup, apart from the honey, until the sugar melts. Remove from heat. Add the honey and mix till combined.
Let the syrup cool for 3-4 hours. It must be cold by the time the cookies come out from the oven.
You can prepare the syrup from the day before.
For the cookies
Preheat the oven to 190* C (370*F) set to fan.
To make the cookies, you need to prepare 2 separate mixtures.
For the first mixture, add all the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix, using a hand whisk.
In a separate bowl, add all the ingredients for the second mixture.
Combine the first and second mixture.
Mix by hand, very gently and for a very short time (10 seconds at the most). If you mix longer the mixture will split or curdle.
Mold cookie dough into oval shapes, 3-4 cm in length, 30 g each. Try to keep them as similar as possible.
Bake for about 20-25 minutes, until they are crunchy and golden brown.
As soon as you remove them from the oven, soak the hot cookies in the syrup for 10 seconds.
Allow them to drain on a wire rack.
Drizzle with honey and chopped walnuts.
Submitted by Georgia @geoatha