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Melomakarona: Traditional Greek Christmas Cookies Soaked in Honey Syrup

There are many versions of these traditional sweets, but a Greek Christmas wouldn't be the same without a plentiful serving of melomakarona! If you would like to add some Greek flavour to your Christmas table, you'll find a recipe for these delicious cookies below. The ingredient amounts given here are only a guideline - you may find that eating one melomakarono at a time proves very difficult and you need a bigger batch!

melomakarona

Ingredients:
1,5 cups olive oil (400m1)
0.5 cup unsalted butter (120 g) (At room temperature)
1 cup beer (250 ml)
0.75 tsp ground cinnamon (4ml)
0.25 tsp ground cloves (1 ml) grated peel of one orange
1 cup sugar (200g)
2 cups finely ground semolina (350 g)
6 cups flour (600 g)
0.5 tablespoon baking soda (2.5 ml)
0.5 tablespoon baking powder 2.5 ml
1 tablespoon salt 5ml
1.5 cup sugar (300g) (for the syrup)
1.5 cup honey. (500gr)
1 cup water (250 ml)
0.5 cup chopped walnuts (60 g)

To make Melomakarona cookies:
1. Beat the olive oil, butter, beer, cinnamon, cloves, orange peel and sugar in a mixing bowl until thoroughly blended.
2. Sift one cup of flour with the baking soda and baking powder, and add this to the mixture.
3. Add one cup of semolina at a time.
4. Add the remaining flour, one cup at a time until the mixture becomes a firm dough (you may need more or less than is given in the ingredients list). Use your hands for mixing, as the dough will be too firm for an electric mixer.
5. Roll the dough into cylinder shapes (about two inches long, and one inch in diameter) and flatten them with your hands. Grease some baking sheets with a little olive oil and bake the cookies for half an hour at 175C, 350F or Gas Mark 4
6. Once cooked, let the cookies cool for about half an hour on a cooling rack.
(If necessary, you may use flour instead of semolina, but you will lose some of the grainy texture which semolina gives)

To make the syrup for Melomakarona:
1. Bring the sugar, honey and water to boil in a saucepan, and then let simmer for three minutes, skimming off any foam that forms on top.
2. Pour the syrup over the cookies whilst still hot and sprinkle the walnuts on top. Let the cookies soak in the syrup overnight for best results and enjoy them the next day!

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