Britannia Melomakorona recipe

Melomakarona - Greece


Traditional Christmas festivities in Greece involve attending Mass and cleansing rooms of bad spirits, using a sprig of basil wrapped in a wire cross that has been dipped in Holy water. 

Honey, walnut and cinnamon are the three main flavours in the festive Greek cookies, melomakarona. They are simple to make and are sure to be a hit with the whole family at Christmas.  

Prep time: 15-30 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Serves: Makes 60 cookies 


110g butter, softened
200g caster sugar
2 tsps orange zest
225ml olive oil
110ml sesame oil
1kg plain flour
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
110ml orange juice
110ml cognac
Juice of ½ a lemon
80g walnuts, roughly ground

Serving syrup:
200g caster sugar
175g honey
110ml boiling water
1 cinnamon stick
4 cloves
Juice of ½ a lemon
Ground cinnamon, to decorate


  • Preheat the oven to 175C.
  • In a small mixing bowl, add the butter, sugar and orange zest, and rub together with your fingers until the mixture has a sandy consistency. Add the oil and beat together until fully incorporated. Add the orange juice, cognac and lemon juice and mix well.
  • In another bowl, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to the orange and cognac mixture, a cup at a time, to form a doughy consistency.
  • Take a walnut sized piece of dough in your hands and roll into an egg like shape. Continue this process until all the dough has been used.
  • Place the dough balls onto an ungreased baking sheet. Use a fork to create a crisscross pattern on each cookie.
  • Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown.
  • Meanwhile, add the honey, sugar, water, cinnamon stick, cloves and lemon juice into a saucepan and bring to the boil on a medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, then remove the cinnamon stick.
  • Scatter the walnuts onto a plate and remove the cookies from the oven. Float each cookie in the syrup until the cookie has absorbed the syrup on both sides.
  • Remove the cookie from the syrup using a spatula, and lie on top of the walnuts. Press against the walnuts to make sure they stick to the cookie, then remove from the plate and sprinkle with cinnamon. Repeat this step for each of the cookies.