Melomakarono means ‘honey cookie’. And although a generous amount of honey is used in this little egg shaped cookie, there are so many other flavors that make it into an aromatic and interesting sweet bite. With spices like cinnamon and cloves, the fresh taste of orange and the earthiness of walnut, these cookies are a very good example of the Cypriotic blend of tastes from Turkey, Greece and the Middle East. Just like baklava, this cookie is soaked in a fragrant syrup and topped with some crunchy chopped nuts. The traditional melomakarono cookie from Cyprus is a real favorite on both Greek and Turkish parts of the island. It is traditionally served around Christmas, but I could eat this sticky, crunchy, sweet and nutty cookie any time of the year.
Melomakarono cookie from Cyprus
For about 20 cookies
125 milliliters (½ cup) sunflower oil
50 grams (¼ cup) sugar
225 grams (1 cup) flour
pinch of salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
juice and grated rind of ½ orange
¼ teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons brandy
1 ½ cups walnuts + extra for decorating
for the syrup
100 grams (½ cup) sugar
240 milliliters (1 cup) honey
240 milliliters (1 cup) water
Preheat the oven to 165°C / 325°F. Whisk the sunflower oil with the sugar
In a bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg well.
Finely chop the walnuts
Mix the orange juice and rind with the baking soda and the brandy. The mixture will start foaming.
Whisk in the oil mixture and add the walnuts.
Add the flour and form into a soft dough.
Form little egg shaped balls of about 25 grams (about the size of a walnut) and place on a cookie sheet covered with baking paper. Bake in the middle of the oven for 15-20 mins. until light brown and done.
Meanwhile make the syrup. Bring all the ingredients for the syrup to the boil. Stir until the sugar has dissolved. Leave to boil gently for about 10 mins.
Take the cookies from the oven and dip them in the syrup for about 5 mins. Turn them half way. Take from the syrup and leave to drip on a rack. Decorate with the remaining chopped walnuts.
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