Melomakarona recipe without semolina

There is nothing else that will make your home smell of Christmas than this traditional Melomakarona recipe! I remember when I was young, coming back from school and being greeted by the smell of cloves, cinnamon and orange. That is when I knew! My grandmother was at home and she was making my favourite Melomakarona!

Melomakarona recipe

What are Melomakorona?

Melomakarones (Greek Honey Cookies) are one of the most popular Christmas treats in Greece. Delicious biscuits soaked in syrup, drizzled with honey and topped nuts, these delicious cookies are perfect for any occasion!

This melomakarona recipe is vegan as melomakarona are baked and consumed during days of Lent.

Melomakarona are mostly baked during the festive period on Christmas, though this was not the case in Ancient Greece.

This is evident when one takes into account the word melomakarona. The word is a combination of two Greek words, Meli’ which is honey in Greek and ‘Makaria’ which is a type of bread that was offered during periods of mourning in funerals.

Why this Melomakarona recipe without semolina?

You will find hundreds of Melomakarona recipes in the intranet combining flour and semolina. My recipe does not have any semolina and tastes equally delicious! In fact, in Northern Greece, Melomakarona are made without semolina. They have the same consistency and taste divine.

In addition, in my Melomakarona recipe without semolina, I add ground walnuts for an extra bite!

Melomakarona recipe honey syrup tips

Let’s start from the all important honey syrup. There are a couple of tricks to get the Melomakarona syrup to turn out simply amazing.

Firstly, make sure you add the ingredients in the right order.Pour water, sugar,lemon juice and add lemon zest,cloves,cinnamon stick and halved orange. Heat them up on high heat. Stir until the syrup starts to boil. Once the syrup has started to boil, add honey and stir until dissolved. If yourhoney has crystallisefor is too sticky, no need to worry,just stirwhen adding.

Secondly, add a halved orange in the honey syrup. Yes you heard right! A halved orange. Halve the orange and add it in the sugar-water-spice mix before the syrup starts to boil. For a bit of extra flavour, give your orange a bit of a squeeze so that it can release al the lovely flavours when in the syrup mix. Once the syrup has boiled, and prior to adding honey lightly squeeze the orange to further release its flavours.

Finally, always prepare the honey syrup first, before you bake the biscuits. This will allow the syrup to cool by the time the melomakarona biscuits are out of the oven. Always, dip hot melomakarona biscuits on cold honey syrup and never the other way round! Cold honey syrup will soak the biscuits but will not turn them soggy.

If you want to go the extra mile, split the honey syrup in half and place half of it the fridge and use the other half to dunk your first melomakarona batch first. Then swap for the second batch and so forth. When dunking hot melomakarone biscuits into cold syrup it will inevitable warm up, so by halving it into batches you ensure you have cold syrup for the biscuits.

 

Melomakarona without semolina

Making the perfect Melomakarona recipe dough

My grandma taught me a couple of tricks to making the perfect melomakarona recipe dough, which over the years, have never failed me.

Firstly, use just enough flour for the dough to hold together and form into a  fluffy soft ball reaching plastering consistency. You want the dough to be fluffy  and  non-stick to your fingers . If your flour is particularly weak you may need to sprinkle one tablespoon extra but not more. You don’t want the dough to be firm, like a traditional biscuit. The trick to the perfect Melomakarona is to knead the dough as lightly as possible, just enough to mix the ingredients. Do not knead the dough too much as they will become too oily.

Some Melomakarona recipes call for a mix of olive oil and sunflower oil. My personal favourite is to use only sunflower oil so that the flavour of the spices is not masked by the more intense flavour of the olive oil. I also love my Melomakarona to have a bit of extra bite so I add chopped walnuts to the dough mix!

 

Making the perfect Melomakarona cookie dough

My grandma taught me a couple of tricks to making the perfect melomakarona recipe dough, which over the years, have never failed me.

Firstly, use just enough flour for the dough to hold togetherand form into a fluffy soft ball reaching plastering consistency. The dough needs to be fluffy and non-sticky to your fingers. If the above consistency is not achieved, then add an extra tablespoon of flour, but not more. You don’t want the dough to be firm, like a traditional biscuit.

Secondly, the trick to perfect Melomakarone is to knead the dough as little and lightly as possible. Knead the dough enough to mix the ingredients. Excessive kneading the dough will turn it oily.

Thirdly, some Melomakarona recipes call for a mix of olive oil and sunflower oil. My personal favourite is to use only sunflower oil so that the flour of the spices is not masked by the more intense flavour of the olive oil.

Finally, I love my Melomakarona to have a bit of extra bite so I add chopped walnuts to the dough mix.

How do I know when the Melomakarona biscuits are ready?

These Melomakarona biscuits are ready as soon as they turn lightly brown so make sure you don’t overtake them.

To avoid, over-baking or under-baking these delicious Greek biscuits, Melomakarona, make sure the dough portions weigh roughly the same. I do that with a precision scale.

What’s the best way to soak them in the syrup?

Always deep hot, straight out of the oven Melomakarona biscuits into cold syrup. Dip a couple of biscuits for around 30 seconds, turn them over and then remove them with a slotted spoon. Repeat until you have soaked all the honey biscuits into the syrup.

Soak them in small patches for only a few seconds as if you are tempted to leave them longer, they will get very syrupy and break.

Serving suggestions

Melomakarona are mostusually presented in platters stacked one on top of the other. For more indulgent Melomakarona, dip them into chocolate!

How long will Melomakarona keep? Can I make them in advance?

Melomakarona keep for about 3 weeks as long as you keep them in an air tight container. The honey is a natural antimicrobial agent and will keep them from going stale or bad. I remember my grandmother used to make them the week before Christmas and they were just as fresh on the last day of our school holidays!

Ways to store Melomakarona biscuits

Melomakarona biscuits can last a fairly long time, that is of course if they are devoured by then.Store Melomakarona biscuits in an airtight container at room temperature.

You can freeze these Melomakarona cookies prior to dunking them into syrup. Let them cool, store in freezer and defrost during the Christmas holidays. All that is left is to prepare the honey syrup and soak!

What kitchen equipment do I need?

First and foremost you need a precision kitchen scale to weigh the ingredients. You would also need a food processor, a whisk, 2 large bowls, 1-2 baking trays, parchment paper and a saucepan for the syrup.

Other Christmas treats

Christmas cannot be complete without Kourabiedes or Kourampiedes, these lovely snowy white almond biscuits. Find out my traditional Kourabiedes with almonds here.

For my vegan friends,I have a vegan Kourabiedes recipe that taste equally delicious as the non vegan ones!

For a chocolatey Kourabiedes version look no further than my Chocolate Kourabiedes with almonds recipe? Amaze your guests and your palate!

Melomakarona recipe

Melomakarona Recipe without semolina

Rating: 4.9/5
( 66 voted )
Serves: 45-50 Prep Time: Cooking Time:

Ingredients

For the dough

 

  • 300gr sunflower oil (1 cup+ 1/4 cup+ 2tbsp)
  • 100gr granulated sugar ( 1/4 cup + 3tbsp)
  • 600gr plain flour ( 3 cups+3/4 cups)
  • 60gr brandy ( 1/4 cup or 2 oz)
  • 20gr baking powder ( 4 tsp)
  • 10gr ground cinnamon (2tsp)
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 7.5 gr baking soda (1 tsp+1/2 tsp)
  • 125gr chopped walnuts ( 1 cup)
  • 80gr orange juice ( 1/4 cup +1 tbsp or 2.75 oz)

 

For the syrup

 

  • 600gr water (20 +1/4 oz) ( 2.5 cups water)
  • 600gr sugar ( 2 cups +3/4 cup + 1 tbsp)
  • 200gr honey (1/2 cup or 7 oz)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 orange, cut in half
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • lemon zest (from half a lemon)

 

To garnish

 

  • 50gr of honey (optional)
  • 150gr roughly chopped walnuts

 

Instructions

  1. To prepare this Melomakarona recipe without semolina, start by preparing the syrup. In a large pot, pour in the sugar, the cold water, the cinnamon sticks, the whole cloves, lemon juice, lemon zest and the orange, cut in half. Put it on the stove and bring it to a boil. Once it starts boiling, count down for 5 minutes, remove from the stove and mix in the honey.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk oil and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Add the orange juice, the brandy, cinnamon, the ground cloves and finally the baking soda and whisk for 1 minute.
  3. In the large bowl add in the flour, baking powder andchopped walnuts. Mixgently with your hands until the ingredients come together. Avoid over-kneading the dough.
  4. Pre-heat your oven to 180C/360F. Line up your baking trays with parchment paper. Portion out your dough to roughly 30 grams (1 oz.) and shape it into little oblong or oval shaped cookies of about 5cm x 3cm (2inch x 1 inch) size.
  5. Place the oval biscuits into parchment lined baking trays far apart. Allow enough space ( 3cm/1 inch) per biscuit. Bake Melomakarona biscuits for approximately 20-30 minutes until light brown.
  6. Once your first batch is ready, take them out of the oven and dunk them while still hot in the cold syrup for about 20-30 seconds. Flip them once or twice for the syrup to fully and evenly soak in the biscuits.
  7. When ready, place them on a large platter and sprinkle with honey and some chopped walnuts on top!

Notes

The syrup for your Melomakarona needs to be cold before dunking the hot biscuits in it. Prepare it first and let it cool down while you're making the dough!

Be careful not to overwork the dough as you don't want them to turn out to be tough! Mix your Melomakarona gently with your hands until the ingredients are incorporated, but avoid kneading the dough.

You can bake Melomakarona in batches. Allow enough space (about 3cm/1 inch) so that they have enough room to expand when baking. While your second batch is baking you can dunk the first batch in the syrup!

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