Cassandra, this one’s for you.
Have you ever had a cookie that just basically stops time? One that makes you stop in your tracks and re-examine your life? No? Well, I have a cookie recipe that will make you philosophical. It’s called melomakarona. And during the holiday season, when you are constantly bombarded with peppermint this and pumpkin spice that, melomakarona sing a different tune. These cookies gently embrace you with the classic wintertime flavors of orange (yes, oranges are a winter fruit), cinnamon, and a kiss of honey.
But if that’s not enough to convince you, what if I told you they are healthy too? Yes, a cookie can be healthy. Can’t it? No? Yes!!! Let me explain:
These cookies are a unique concoction of all that is good and right in the world.
- Olive oil – full of heart healthy fats and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Orange juice – vitamin C. Just what’s needed for the winter time cold season.
- Eggs yolks – all protein and the most nutritional part of the egg.
- Honey – hell, honey makes this cookie almost paleo. It’s anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and has healing properties…it’s the good kind of sugar right? Right?
- Walnuts – full of more protein, those feel good omega-3 fats and vitamin E too (shiny hair folks).
- Cinnamon & clove – they have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and also help in diabetes management.
Have I convinced you yet that this cookie is “not that bad”? Okay good, because you are going to need to remember all this stuff I just told you when I tell you to bathe them in a pool of honey simple syrup later.
But they are so gooooood. These cookies are move the earth kind of good…trust me please!!!
Well, instead of writing a soliloquy extolling the virtues of melomakarona…why don’t I just tell you how to make them and you decide! It’s a multi-step process, but nothing you have to do all in one day and it’s all pretty easy.
Here we go:
Melomakarona – makes 45 “question the meaning of life” cookies
Ingredients for the cookie part:
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1.5 cups olive oil
1 sticks of melted unsalted butter
2 egg yolks (large)
1 tsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp clove
1 rounded tsp of baking powder
1/2 rounded tsp of baking soda
grated orange rind of 1 orange
approximately 4 – 4.5 cups of all-purpose flour (approximate baking theory folks, read about it here)
Ingredients for the simple syrup:
3/4 cups sugar
1 cup of honey
1 cup of water
Ingredients for the topping:
1 cups of walnuts finely crushed in a mini food prep, or mortar and pestle if you’re old school
2 tbsp of sugar
1/4 tsp of cinnamon
Let’s talk about how to make them below:
Directions for the cookie:
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F. Grate the rind of one orange, it equates to about a healthy tablespoon and set aside. Squeeze the juice out of that orange and another if needed to get about 3/4 cup of orange juice.
In a large stand mixer, place the olive oil and orange juice, beat on high for 20 minutes. Next, add your melted butter and egg yolks and beat for another 20 minutes. Your batter will turn thick and creamy and a pale shade of yellow. You want to beat them for this long because it will add air into the batter for a nice tender cookie.
Now that 40 minutes have elapsed and you have finished checking your email, Facebook and Instagram pages, add, the cinnamon, clove, honey, orange rind, baking powder and baking soda. Mix for 5 more minutes.
Remove the mixing bowl from the stand and begin adding the flour one cup at a time.
Note: you can probably add the fist 2- 3 cups of flour and beat it in with you mixing stand, but after that I recommend you mix in the final 1 – 1.5 cups with your hand. You really need to feel the dough and get the right texture. You want to add enough flour so that the dough pulls away cleanly from the bowl, but not so much that the dough gets dry and cracks. You want the cookie to be smooth when you roll it out.
Next, roll out your cookies by hand like little football shapes about 2 -2.5 inches long and then press little indentations on them with a fork like in the picture above. We do this for several reasons. It helps to prevent the cookie from cracking, but also to create a little texture for them to hang on to syrup, walnuts and cinnamon sugar afterwards. Bake at 400 degrees F for about 18-20 minutes. They will become a nice toasty golden brown. Much like your favorite camel colored coat.
Ok ignore me.
Directions for the honey syrup bath and walnut topping:
After you have baked all of your cookies. I recommend you let them cool. Do not taste them. They are not sweet yet. It’s this next part, where you give them their sexy little honey syrup bath that transforms them into magic. You can do this part after they have cooled or even the next day. Or two days from now. No one is rushing you, even though you will want to after you taste them.
To “honey” them, begin by adding the sugar, honey and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil to melt the sugar and honey into a syrup. Once that has occurred, turn your burner down to low to keep the syrup warm. Add about 5-6 cookies at at time and let them swim in there for about 1 minute. Could be more, could be less time, but it’s rather quick.
I would recommend doing a tester one first to see how long it takes for the syrup to soak through the cookie. The trick is to have enough of the syrup permeate the cookie to sweeten it, but not so much that you have made mush. You want the cookie to hold up and not fall apart when you handle it or take a bite.
After a minute, remove the cookies onto a sheet tray to cool and add the next 5-6 cookies. While you are waiting for the new set to take their dip in the syrup, you can top the ones you just took out with finely crushed walnuts and sprinkle of cinnamon sugar.
And that’s it! You are done! You have now aligned the sun, moon and stars with all that is right about the world. Enjoy!
Here is my little melomakarono…hope your holidays were as magical as this cookie.