I love Greece – it was one of the first trips I went on independently, with a friend for her 18th birthday, and I just fell in love with its gently rolling hills, beautiful warm seas and whitewashed houses dotted over the landscape. For our teenage trip we only had our flights booked and made our way to the port in Piraeus picking an island at random and enjoying those carefree days of travel. I loved it so much I went back the following year to visit the islands and spend some time in Athens.
It’s been a few years since I last visited Greece but it’s a country I adore. As the festive season approached we decided to make some melomakarona as they do across Crete and the rest of Greece in the run up to Christmas.
For me Melomakarona or honey cookies are like a bite of the Mediterranean at Christmas time. Full of honey, orange zest and walnuts you can almost feel that Greek sunshine on your back as you roll them out. The ingredients just shout out summer sunshine and are perfect for cold Christmas days in the UK.
They’re easy enough to get the children helping out with and tasty enough for everyone to enjoy.
These little Christmas bites are like a little baked piece of Greece, and who doesn’t want that on a dark December day?
Here is our recipe for delicious honey Melomakarona (makes around 25).
For the cookies
700 grammes of flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
230 ml vegetable oil
60 grammes of sugar
2 tablespoon grated orange rind
60 ml of orange juice
Mix the flour and baking powder in a bowl and add the oil, sugar, orange juice and rind. Mix well until it forms a dough.
Scoop out a small ball of dough and roll it in your hands to form an oval. Repeat until you have used up all the dough and place on a baking tray.
Bake for twenty minutes or until light brown.
To make the honey syrup
230 ml of honey
100 grammes of sugar
200 ml of water
Mix the honey, sugar and water in a saucepan and boil for five minutes. Remove from the heat and cool. Drizzle over the cookies and top with chopped walnuts and cinnamon.
Best enjoyed with cups of tea and daydreams of Greek islands, Mediterranean sunshine and warm summer days!