The most famous Christmas cookies in Greece are the traditional melomakarona and kourabiedes. Here we present the recipes for the most tasty way of cooking them, as a treat for friends and relatives.
Melomakarona (Christmas honey cookies)
1½ cups of oil
1½ cups of cooking fat
1 cup of sugar
¾ cup of orange juice
¼ cup of cognac
2 teaspoons of orange zest
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
8 cups of all purpose flour
For the syrup:
2 cups of honey
2 cups of sugar
2 cups of water
For the garnish
1½ cups of finely chopped walnuts,
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon of ground cloves
Blend or mix the first six ingredients on high speed for four minutes. Sieve the flour, baking powder and soda into a mixing bowl. Make a hollow in the centre and pour in the liquid ingredients. Taking a little flour from the sides, gradually mix with the liquid ingredients and kneed gently. Form the dough into different shapes or use a cutter. Spread out on a baking-tray and bake at 175 degrees C (350 F, gas mark 4) for about 30 minutes, until nicely browned. Meanwhile prepare the syrup. Boil the honey, sugar and water for 5 minutes, strain off the foam and pour over the melomakarona (pronounced melomaKArona) as soon as they come out of the oven. Once they’ve soaked up the syrup, turn them over and let them stand until they’ve cooled completely. Mix the nuts with the cinnamon and cloves. Take the melomakarona one by one, turn them upside down, sprinkle the honey-rich surface with the nuts and arrange on a plate, covering with plastic wrap (clingfoil). They’ll last for a month unrefrigerated.
550 grams of sieved flour (5 cups)
6 grams (½ teaspoon) of baking power, sieved and mixed with the flour
250 grams (1¾ cups) of unpeeled almonds lightly browned in the oven (5 mins. at 170 C 340 F.
260 grams of butter (1¼ cups) at room temperature
100 grams (½ cup) of sugar.
30 grams of amaretto liqueur
A little rose water
1 kilo ( 8 cups) of powdered (icing) sugar
Mix the butter, sugar, vanilla and liqueur well, starting on low speed and gradually increasing until you have a smooth, light mixture. Reduce the speed and add the almonds so that they’re well mixed in. Finally, add the flour and baking powder and mix until smooth. Lightly flour an even surface and empty the mixture onto it, using your hand. Shape little kourabiedes (kourabiEdhes), about the size of a pressed walnut, place on a baking tray covered with a sheet of greaseproof (parchment) paper. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 C (355 F) for ½ an hour. When you take them out, allow them to cool and sprinkle them with a little rosewater. Then dust with lots of powdered sugar. When you put them on a plate, dust them again.
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