Melomakarona is a Greek walnut-filled spiced cookie soaked in honey. They are flavored with cinnamon, cloves, and orange zest. According to Aglaia Kremezi in her cookbook The Foods of the Greek Islands, Melomakarona are a popular cookie made year-round all over Greece and especially at Christmas.
They're odd-looking cookies, but one bite and you get over it. They are really good! They are even better alongside a cup of tea. The only thing that might improve afternoon tea and a Melomakarona cookie is actually being on one of the Greek Islands while having tea and cookies! Maybe someday...
(Walnut Stuffed Honey Cookies)
adapted slightly from The Foods of the Greek Islands by Aglaia Kremezi
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
2 cups finely chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar
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.