Melomakarona

These are fabulous Greek cookies that I found in Marzipan and decided I HAD to make them. They sounded so homey and wintery. The only thing in the recipe to which I had to cock my head at like a confused dog was the semolina flour. I could not remember if I’d ever seen it at the supermarket, so I set out shopping with not much hope of finding it. But I did! Voila:

So, pour the oil and the sugar, mix well. Add zest and orange juice, stir happily away.

Add the flours slowly, then the spices. This is what the semolina looks like:

Knead the dough a bit, have fun with it. I did.

Start preparing your little beauties and set them to bake.

When they are done, pour the syrup over them and you can sprinkle any leftover filling on the top of the cookies. Make sure you place them in wax paper when you pile them otherwise they’ll be a big sticky mess.

Recipe from Marzipan:

1 1/4 cups light olive oil or a combination of olive oil, canola oil, and/or safflower oil
1/3 cup sugar
grated zest of one orange
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
3-4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 cups fine semolina flour
1/2 cup brandy
grated zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Filling:
2 cups finely chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar
Syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 cup honey
1 1/2 cups water
In a large bowl, beat the oil and sugar with an electric mixer until blended. Beat in the orange zest and juice. In a medium bowl, combine 2 cups of the flour and the baking powder. Gradually beat the flour mixture into the oil mixture. Beat in the semolina, brandy, lemon zest, cloves and cinnamon. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding 1 cup or more flour as necessary to obtain a smooth, soft, oily dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 20 to 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Make the filling by combining the walnuts, cinnamon and sugar in a medium bowl.

Take pieces of dough the size of a small egg and roll with your hands into ovals, about 2 1/2 inches long. Push three fingers into the bottom of each cookie to make an opening, and stuff with 1 teaspoon of the filling. Press the dough to close the opening. Slightly flatten each cookie and if you like, make an indentation on the top with the tines of a fork. Place the cookies on ungreased baking sheets about 1 inch apart. Set aside any remaining filling.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until they just start to color. Allow the cookies to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, make the syrup: In a medium saucepan, simmer the sugar, honey and water for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Place the cookies in a large dish or baking pan that holds them snugly, and pour the hot syrup over them. Let stand for 15 minutes. Turn the cookies to moisten the other sides and let stand until the cookies have absorbed all the syrup. Place the remaining filling on a plate and roll each cookie in it to coat on all sides. Place the cookies in an airtight container, with parchment or waxed paper between each layer. Let stand for at least 1 day before serving. Store for up to 1 month.

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