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Greek Christmas Cookies - also known as Melomakarona (if you can pronounce it, let alone spell it)

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Christmas is coming, so get out your bowls and whip up some of these Greek honey and spice flavoured biscuits - great to share when family or friends drop in, or why not give a box of these goodies as a tasty gift?

MELOMAKARONA

Ingredients

biscuits

1 tspn baking soda

3/4/cup orange juice, freshly squeezed

1 cup sugar

3 cups plain flour, sifted

1 cup semolina, fine

1 tspn baking powder

1 tsp ras el hanout spice blend (ok it's not traditional but you'll be surprised at the awesome results)

1¼ cups vegetable oil

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup brandy

1 tbsp orange rind, grated


syrup

2 cups water

2 cups sugar

2 cups honey

1 stick cinnamon

4 cloves

garnish

1 cup walnuts, finely crushed

2 tbsp sesame seeds

process

to make the cookies

Preheat the oven to 160C in a fan forced oven, or 180C in a conventional oven.

Dissolve the baking soda in the orange juice.

Put all the dry ingredients (sugar, flour, semolina, baking powder and spices) in a large bowl and use a whisk to mix until well blended.

Mix together the orange juice, both the oils, brandy and orange rind in another smaller bowl.

Create a well in the middle of the dry mixture and add the liquid ingredients. Knead the dough gently until all ingredients are incorporated and the mixture sticks to your hands.

Take a fistful of dough and shape it into a log. Press the dough gently with your fingers on one side to flatten slightly. Using a fork, make an indentation in the top of each biscuit

Line a baking tray with baking paper, and place the biscuits well spaced apart.

Bake on the middle rack until golden brown, approx 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and cool biscuits on a rack.

The cooled cookies will be dipped in the hot syrup, so don't start the syrup until the cookies have cooled.

to make the syrup

Put the water, sugar, honey, cinnamon stick, and cloves into a deep frying pan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes. Turn the heat down to low. (As soon as it starts to boil, a foam rises to the top - scoop this off and throw it out.) Remove the cinnamon stick and cloves.

Place cookies (as many as will fit in one layer) into the hot syrup and use a spatula to hold them down for about 45 seconds to a minute, depending on how syrupy you want them to be. Once the cookies have been soaked, remove them with a slotted spoon, letting some of the syrup drip, place on a large serving plate in layers, sprinkling each layer liberally with the finely chopped walnuts mixed with the sesame seeds..

And if you find you have a taste for more Greek cooking -
why not join a full on Greek cooking class session? 

The next available date is Fri 18/01/19 at 6pm.  Check out the menu here

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