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Friday, December 23, 2011

Kala Christougena!

Our Christmas Eve celebration is all about our Italian heritage.  The Feast of the Seven Fishes is in full swing, along with many other Italian dishes and sweets.  So, it's only fair that something from our Greek side makes an appearance.

Enter Melomakarona - a Greek cookie traditionally served at Christmas time.

I'm in love with these little things.  They're sometimes forgotten during our celebration, but not this year.  I think my aunt made a bunch too.  Yum, yum, yum...plenty for everyone!

These are chock full of nuts and honey, very typical of Greek sweets.  And, they seem to taste better with age!  A few days, even a few weeks after baking them, the flavors all have time to really settle in.  

I had to find a recipe online that was similar to the one that my Mom's ancient Greek cookbook has...it was temporarily lost but has since been found, thankfully!  This recipe is great anyway.  Don't let the length of it fool you, by the way...they are not hard to make, and are totally worth all the effort!  You could even whip up a batch for this weekend - you know, with all that free time you have.

Happy Holidays to all!  Surround yourselves with the people you love most...while eating lots of delicious food, of course :)

from Kalofagas

For the cookies:
10 cups pastry flour
3 cups vegetable oil
3 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup orange juice
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
4 teaspoons baking powder
3 eggs
1 cup walnuts, roughly pounded
zest of one orange
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Add zest, honey and sugar into a large bowl, using hands to mix together.  Pour in orange juice, cloves and cinnamon and mix.  Add eggs and mix well.

Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda and add to wet ingredients, mixing well with hands.  

Roll dough into small balls (about the size of apricots) then form into round or oval shapes.  Using side of box grater that is for zesting, place cookie on top and lightly press, so that grid pattern is formed.  Repeat for all cookies.

Place cookies on baking sheets lined with parchment.  Bake for about 30 minutes.

For the syrup:
2 cups sugar
2 cups honey
2 cups water

Put all ingredients in a pot and bring to boil, then lower to simmer.  Using a large slotted spoon, drop cookies into syrup for a few minutes until fully absorbed.  Reserve on a cooling rack until all cookies have been dipped.

For the walnut topping:
6 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups ground walnuts
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Brush each cookie with remaining syrup, then sprinkle walnut topping over them.  Let cool.  Store in a cool, dry container for up to 6 weeks.

Makes about 100 cookies.

Linked to: It's A Cookie Party!
                   Holiday Blog Party
                   Sweet Tooth Friday
                   Sweets for a Saturday

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At December 23, 2011 at 3:19 PM , Anonymous Katerina said...

Kala Christougenna to you too Melissa! With lots of love and joy together with your family!

At December 30, 2011 at 9:45 AM , Anonymous Sue @ Cakeballs, cookies and more said...

they sound very yummy!

At December 31, 2011 at 7:18 AM , Blogger Claire Justine said...

yummy :)

At January 14, 2012 at 12:39 PM , Blogger ~*~The Family~*~ said...

I think I might try these for a cookie exchange next year, they sound super yummy!


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