Melomakarona (Greek Christmas Cookies)
Recipe type: Cookies
Melomakarona are aromatic cookies spiced with orange and cinnamon and spiked with whiskey.
For the dough:
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup Crisco
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 1 ½ cups orange juice
  • 2 shots of whiskey (my yiayia calls them jiggers)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 heaping teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 7 to 8 cups flour
For the syrup:
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup Karo syrup
For the topping:
  • 1 cup walnuts, finely ground
  1. Begin with the syrup. In a pot, add the sugar, Karo syrup and water and bring to a boil for about 3 minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the honey. Keep the syrup on low heat until ready to use.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare the dough.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the vegetable oil and Crisco, and beat together with a hand mixer until smooth. This should take about 10 minutes to get a smooth consistency. This will make for a fluffy cookie. Then, while still mixing, add the sugar, orange juice, whiskey, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla and eggs and mix until well combined.
  4. Gradually fold in as much flour as needed until the dough is soft but not sticky or stiff.
  5. Mold cookie dough into small rounds or ovals. I use my hands though some cooks use a teaspoon. Place on cookie sheet and repeat, keeping the same consistency of the shape size for each one. (This dough makes for about four batches of cookies)
  6. Place the first cookie sheet in the oven and bake the cookies for 17-20 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet or a cooling rack for 5 minutes.
  7. Once your first batch of cookies has cooled, place the cookies (using a slotted spoon) in the syrup and soak them for about 10-20 seconds. Be sure to do these in batches. Remove the cookies and place them on a parchment paper or cooling rack and sprinkle with chopped walnuts. Make sure you sprinkle walnuts right after they’ve soaked in honey, so the walnuts stick to the cookie.
  8. Repeat this process until all cookies have been baked, soaked in honey, and dipped in walnuts.
  9. Allow all the cookies to cool completely before serving.
-While the first batch of cookies is baking, start making and shaping the next batch on another baking sheet.
-Right after you take the first batch of cookies out of the oven, place the second batch in the oven and repeat for all cookie sheets.
Recipe by Eleni Saltas at