Every year, around this time, a “sweet dilemma” of choices and tastes…
Kourambiedes or melomakarona? Starting in early December, at home we start baking…
The word “melomakarona” is a combination of meli, which means “honey,” and makaronia, which comes from the ancient Greek word makaria, meaning “blessed”.
Μrs Lila, my good friend Maria’s, mother, makes her famous delicate Christmas bites of melomakarona and kourabiedes from a classic recipe.
They became so popular that she decided to create her own Christmas Business.
Mrs Lila kindly shared her recipe with me, the old fashioned way of course, without exact measurements but deep passion regarding the process.
I practiced a few times so as to find the exact measurements Crunchy walnuts are mixed with just a bit more cinnamon and cloves… . And, most of all, the art of sharing that I treasure in people, like Mrs Lila…
To order Mrs Lila’s melomakarona and kourabiedes, call +30 6932904317
Kyria Lilas’ Melomakarona
3/4 cups olive oil
3/4 cups corn oil
1/2 cup white sugar ( I use brown sugar)
1 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons orange rind finely grated
1 teaspoon soda
1/2 cup brandy
2 tablespoons semolina, small grain
1 kg flour (approximately)
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2-3 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
For the syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups honey
1 cinnamon stick
1 1/2 cups water
1 lemon, juice
750 g walnuts
1. In a large bowl combine the oils and sugar.
2. In a smaller bowl whisk by hand the orange juice and the soda until it becomes foamy. Immediately add it to the oil mixture in the large bowl.
3. Add the brandy, orange rind and semolina and mix.
4. In another bowl, sift the flour, baking powder salt and half the cinnamon and cloves (the remainder will be added to the crushed walnuts).
Add to the large bowl. Knead by hand until the mixture becomes a soft and oily dough. ( you might need less flour this depends, dough has to be moist).
5. Line several baking tins (not cookie sheets as there must be sides) with parchment paper. Measure out about half teaspoon size portion of dough and place in the tins (Note: the cookie size is one of personal preference—Kyria Lila makes them tiny).
6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until done (depending on the size of the cookies).
7. For the syrup: Add the sugar, the honey and water to a medium saucepan. Stir until it turns into a golden syrup. Add the lemon juice at the end.
8. Crush the walnuts in a food processor and when done, mix in the remainder of the cinnamon and cloves.
9. When the cookies are completely cooled pour the warm syrup over them so the bases of the tins are covered with the liquid enabling the cookies to absorb the syrup.
Sprinkle the aromatic walnut mixture over the top of each cookie and enjoy!