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Best Greek Christmas Cookies
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4.15 from 7 votes

Best Greek Christmas Cookies (Isli)

Crumbly semolina cookies, filled with walnuts, flavored with orange and cinnamon, and soaked in a honey syrup. Truly the best Christmas cookie!
Prep Time45 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Greek
Keyword: christmas, Nuts, Oven baked
Servings: 38 cookies
Calories: 239kcal


For The Syrup:

  • 250 grams / 9 oz (¾ cup) honey
  • 400 grams /14.10 oz ( 2 cups) sugar
  • 80 ml orange juice fresh
  • 450 ml water
  • 1 orange peel
  • 1 stick of cinnamon

For The Filling:

  • 200 grams / 7 oz walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder 100% + unsweetened

For The Cookie Dough:

  • 250 ml olive oil
  • 120 ml orange juice fresh
  • 80 grams / 2.8 oz (⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon) sugar
  • 100 ml water lukewarm
  • ½ orange zested
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 200 grams / 7 oz (½ cup+ 2 tablespoons) fine semolina fine semolina, not flour
  • 560 grams / 19.7 oz (4 cups + ⅔ cup) all-purpose flour
  • extra honey to serve with


For The Filling:

  • Add all of the ingredients for the filling in a blender or food processor. Blend until walnuts look finely ground.

For The Cookie Dough:

  • In a mixing bowl, add the olive oil, orange juice, sugar, water, and orange zest, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir with a whisk to combine.
  • Add the semolina in and stir well to thoroughly incorporate with the other ingredients. Now add the flour in, in batches while mixing the dough with your hands. You should end up with a soft dough that's kneadable.

Make The Cookies:

  • Take a small piece of the dough, about the amount of a tablespoon, and squeeze it in your hands to press out any air that's inside the dough. Then shape it into a round ball.
  • Flatten the ball into a round disk about the size of your palm. Press it in the middle with your thumbs to create a well.
  • Take a spoonful (using a teaspoon) of the filling and add it inside the well. Close the edges all around to close the filling inside.
  • Flip the cookie (seam-side down) and shape it into a triangle or like an almond.
  • Place on a parchment paper-covered sheet pan and proceed on making the remaining cookies.
  • Preheat oven to 180°C / 356°F.
  • Using either a fork or a knife, make criss-cross or zig-zag lines on the surface of the cookies.
  • Bake the cookies for about 20-25 minutes or until they get light golden-brown on top. Meanwhile, make the syrup.

For The Syrup:

  • Add all of the ingredients for the syrup to a medium-sized cooking pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 6-7 minutes. Until sugar dissolves completely and it gets a syrupy consistency. Remove from heat and set aside.
    NOTE: Do not stir the syrup, just shake the pot if needed.
  • Using a slotted spoon, dip the cookies in the hot syrup in batches. Give them a few turns in the syrup letting them soak for no more than a minute. Then transfer to a cooling rack.
  • Repeat the process for the remaining cookies.
  • Serve drizzled with some extra honey on top. Store at room temperature for up to 2-3 weeks. The syrup preserves them nicely.


Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 239kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Sodium: 31mg | Potassium: 77mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 13IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 16mg | Iron: 1mg