Traditional Greek Christmas Cookies

Traditional Greek Christmas Cookies


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.

Happy cooking!

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.
Vanilla powder
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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Pemptousia and OCN have entered a strategic partnership to bring Orthodoxy Worldwide. Greek philosophers from Ionia considered held that there were four elements or essences (ousies) in nature: earth, water, fire and air. Aristotle added ether to this foursome, which would make it the fifth (pempto) essence, pemptousia, or quintessence. The incarnation of God the Word found fertile ground in man’s proclivity to beauty, to goodness, to truth and to the eternal. Orthodoxy has not functioned as some religion or sect. It was not the movement of the human spirit towards God but the revelation of the true God, Jesus Christ, to man. A basic precept of Orthodoxy is that of the person ­– the personhood of God and of man. Orthodoxy is not a religious philosophy or way of thinking but revelation and life standing on the foundations of divine experience; it is the transcendence of the created and the intimacy of the Uncreated. Orthodox theology is drawn to genuine beauty; it is the theology of the One “fairer than the sons of men”. So in "Pemptousia", we just want to declare this "fifth essence", the divine beaut in our life. Please note, not all Pemptousia articles have bylines. If the author is known, he or she is listed in the article above.