Merry Christmas!!! with our favorite cookies

Dec 22, 2011

Christmas is everyone’s favorite time of the year. I enjoy it mostly for the food! Many savory dishes and desserts are made only during the Christmas and New Year festivities. This makes things interesting but it is a pity we can’t enjoy them throughout the entire year.
In Greece we have two favorite cookies which are found in every single house as well as every pastry shop in the country. We just love melomacarona and kourabiedes!! There is no such thing as Christmas without these cookies.

Melomacarona are egg free cookies scented with cinnamon, clove and orange. After baking they are immediately dipped into thick honey syrup that makes them irresistible.
Kourabiedes are very simple to make, since they are made only with flour, butter and sugar and are scented with vanilla and brandy or rum. Very good quality butter gives these cookies their characteristic taste and aroma. In Greece we use goat or sheep’s milk butter both of which have a very intense aroma, but any good quality milk butter will do.

 Every home has its own version of these cookies. For example, in melomacarona some use only flour, whereas we use both semolina flour and all purpose flour. Semolina flour helps the cookies stay crispy and syrupy inside, but the choice is yours.
I hope you will enjoy them both. Merry Christmas!!!

30-35 cookies

280gr light olive oil or vegetable oil
180gr orange juice
110gr icing sugar
orange zest from two oranges
6gr baking soda
1tsp five spice mix (cinnamon, clove….)
190gr fine wheat semolina flour
500gr all purpose flour
5gr baking powder

Honey Syrup: 
500gr sugar
250gr water
50-100gr honey
(boil for 3 min)

Preheat the oven to 180˚C. In a large bowl combine the orange juice, sugar spices and brandy and mix to blend. Stir in the sifted flour gradually while mixing with your hands until blended. Shape into 2cm balls and press them between your palms to flatten them a little. To give a crisscross effect, score them with a fork. Place them 2cm apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15-20 min until the melomacarona are slightly browned. As soon you remove them from the oven dip them in batches into the cool syrup for 30-40 seconds and then place them on a rack over a baking pan to drain the excess syrup. Finally, sprinkle with finely chopped walnuts.

30-35 cookies

250gr butter
50gr icing sugar
60gr brandy
500gr all purpose flour
5gr baking powder
100gr roasted, chopped almonds
icing sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 180˚C. Combine the flour and baking powder thoroughly and set aside. Meanwhile in a mixer beat the butter, icing sugar, and vanilla for about 5 min. until you have a pale and creamy result. Add brandy and the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix with your hands until the batter is well mixed. Add the chopped roasted almonds and incorporate. The dough looks crumbly worry, that’s how it should be. To make the cookies take little portions of dough and form into 2cm balls pressing between your  palms to flatten them slightly. Arrange the cookies on a lined baking sheet and bake for 20-25 min until golden brown. Leave the cookies to cool and then dust them with icing sugar.

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