Crunchy, cake-like orange-flavoured biscuits, dipped in a honey syrup then rolled in walnuts. A traditional Greek biscuit served at Christmastime and the perfect addition to your holiday baking spread.
Let me preface this post by saying: I’m not Greek, I don’t have Greek heritage and I’ve only visited Greece once as a 14 year old, and as I have the worst memory in the history of the world, I don’t remember much about the trip, which is a real shame.
But I love trying different foods from different cultures, especially if they’re sweet, so that has to count for something, right? I’m normally a chocolate biscuit type of girl, but there was something about these Melomakarona Biscuits that got me hooked and I couldn’t stop thinking about them. Perhaps it was the crunch of the orange-flavoured biscuit or the pairing with walnuts, who knows. All I know is that I just had to make them.
From my vast research (ahem, Wikipedia), I’ve learnt that these are Greek biscuits traditionally made around Christmastime. It seems they were funeral biscuits but somewhere down the line they became a Christmas thing. I think it was for the better. Orange and cinnamon and walnuts all combined together in a biscuit is just what you need during the holidays. They are crunchy on the outside, but almost cake-like on the inside and the sweet citrus flavour from the orange zest is perfectly combined with the crushed walnuts.
Prep Time: 20 minutes + cooling
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
1 cup canola oil
½ cup caster sugar
Zest of 1 orange
Juice of 2 oranges (about ½ cup)
3 cups plain flour
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups walnuts, pulsed in the food processor until finely chopped
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup honey
1 cup water
- Preheat oven to 160°C/325°F/Gas Mark 3. Line 3 large baking trays with baking paper.
- In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to combine canola oil and caster sugar until sugar is starting to dissolve. Add orange zest and juice and combine. Add half the plain flour, half the baking powder and half the salt and beat until combined. Add cinnamon and remaining flour, baking powder and salt and beat until well combined. Allow mixture to stand for 5 minutes.
- Gather about 1 tablespoon of mixture and roll into a log shape. Place onto prepared trays, leaving a 3cm gap between each biscuit. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden. Cool biscuits completely on trays.
- While biscuits are cooking, make syrup: Combine sugar, honey and water in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved, about 3 minutes. Bring to boil, being careful not to allow syrup to overflow, then reduce heat to low and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to stand for 5 minutes.
- Place walnuts in a wide bowl, then, using tongs, dip biscuits in syrup and toss in walnuts. Return to baking trays and allow to stand for 30 minutes before serving.
Recipe adapted from Super Food Ideas Magazine, November 2015 edition.