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Featured image: Close up of Greek honey cookies stacked on a glass platter.
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Melomakarona / Finikia (Honey-Dipped Cookies)

Melomakarona (also known as Finikia in some Greek regions) are a traditional and delicious holiday staple. These soft cookies are flavored with orange and warm spices, then soaked in a honey syrup before topping with crushed walnuts.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Greek
Keyword christmas honey cookies, finikia, greek christmas cookies, greek honey cookies, melomakarona
Prep Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 60 cookies (approximately)
Author Marissa @ OMGfood

Ingredients

For the melomakarona/finikia

  • 6 ½ cups (870 grams) all-purpose flour see notes*
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups (485 grams) extra virgin olive oil
  • cup brandy
  • zest from 1 orange
  • cup orange juice see notes*
  • ¾ cup (160 grams) sugar

For the syrup

  • 1 ¼ cup (300 grams) sugar
  • 1 ¼ cup (16 ounces) honey
  • 1 ¼ cup water
  • 1 strip of lemon rind
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick

For the walnut topping

  • 1 heaping cup (135 grams) walnuts finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

Making the syrup

  • Add the sugar, honey, water, lemon rind, lemon juice, cloves, and cinnamon stick to a medium saucepan. Place on the stove over medium heat for ten minutes, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Making the cookies

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • In one large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a second large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, brandy, orange juice, orange zest, and sugar until well combined.
  • Continue whisking the wet ingredients while gradually adding in the flour mixture, about one cup at a time, adding the next cup as soon as the former is blended in (be careful not to overwork the dough). After mixing in two or three cups of flour, swap out the whisk for a silicone spatula or wooden spoon.
  • Once you've incorporated all of the flour, the dough will be smooth, soft, and a little greasy.
  • Hand-roll two tablespoons of dough (~27-30 grams or the size of a walnut) into an oval shape (a good baseline is two inches in length).
  • An optional step is to create a pattern on the cookie by either rolling it down a grater or take the back of a fork and press it lightly against the length of the cookie (if doing the latter, you can also press the fork cross-wise for a cross-hatch pattern).
  • Place the cookies on a baking sheet one inch apart and bake for 20 minutes, or until the bottoms are lightly golden. Due to the volume of the recipe, you may have to bake in batches.
  • While the cookies are baking, combine the walnuts and ground cinnamon for the topping and set aside, then prepare your cookie and syrup assembly station!
  • Grab a large baking pan and line it with wax paper (this allows for easier cleanup and prevents the honey-dipped cookies from sticking to the pan).
  • At your station, you should have an empty space reserved for the baked cookies, the syrup, the wax paper-lined pan, and walnut topping.
  • When the cookies are done, remove them from the oven and immediately add hot cookies to the cool syrup face-down (5-7 at a time depending on the size of your pan), for one minute. Flip the cookies and let soak an additional minute.* Using a slotted spoon, move the cookies to the wax-lined pan. Sprinkle with the walnut topping.
  • Repeat these steps as each batch comes out of the oven.
  • Once the cookies have completely cooled, they can be transferred to a platter to serve (it's traditional to stack the platter high with melomakarona. They can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature and will keep up to 5 weeks.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  1. If measuring flour by volume, it's important to be precise! Be sure to use the scoop and level method.
  2. If a juicer is available to you, use that for the orange you zested. Freshly squeezed juice is always a great bet and it allows you to use the whole ingredient! 
  3. Adding warm/hot cookies to cool syrup will allow them to better absorb the syrup.

 

HOW TO PRONOUNCE MELOMAKARONA AND FINIKIA

  • Melomakarona (meh-loh-mah-KAH-roh-nah) 
  • Finikia (fih-KNEE-kya)

HOW TO STORE THEM

  • Either cover the pan with plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container. Store at room temperature. They will keep up to five weeks.

HOW TO GIFT THEM

  • Just like with kourabiedes, it's fashionable for a Greek to place a melomakarono into a cupcake liner before packaging in an airtight container for gifting/bringing to a holiday gathering (honestly, I also sometimes line them all in cupcake liners after they've cooled for easy gift-prepping). Plus, it's easier and less messy for folks to grab and eat!