The Origin Of The Greek Honey Cookies
These Greek Honey Cookies or as we call them in Greece Melomakarona, go way back in time. At first, they used to be called “Makaronia” (Ancient Greek word for dead soul pie). They were served, during medieval times in a form of a dry piece of pie (without syrup and honey) at a dinner that followed a funeral. Later on, they became a Traditional Greek Christmas Cookie.
And how they ended up representing such a happy time like Christmas after being a funeral cookie? That’s because of the addition of honey (“Meli” in Greek) which since Ancient Greek Times, used to be a symbol of longevity and creation. Exactly what people hoped the new year would bring them. Today, there is no Christmas without them. They are in every Greek home during Christmas time, along with Kourampiedes (Greek almond shortbread balls).
What Are These Really?
What are they? Imagine a fatty, oval-shaped gingerbread cookie, that has been soaked in syrup, then coated with honey and plenty of chopped walnuts (only without the ginger). They are bursting with flavors and aromas. Soft on the inside, so sweet from the honey, and then a nutty walnut crunchiness kicks in. Their dough also contains plenty of olive oil, honey and fine semolina (to make them more crumbly).
In my 25 years of Greek Christmas celebrations, I never came across a person who would say he doesn’t like “Melomakarona“. And that’s a really good point to prove how delicious these Greek Honey Cookies really are.
How To Make The Greek Honey Cookies
Now in a few words how they’re made… First things first, you make the dough which takes only 5 minutes and doesn’t require a mixer. You then knead the cookie dough into an oval-egg shaped cookie. Decorate it either with a knife (making crisscross lines) or with a hand grater. You bake them until golden brown and immediately soak them in a warm honey syrup (that you’ve prepared while they were baking). Transfer them to a cooling rack, and then the tempting, honey-goodness part begins. Transfer them to a serving plate, and drizzle with as much honey you like. Then coat with lots of chopped walnuts. In Greece, we serve them in a tower form, one on top of the other. Like they needed to be any more eye-catching….