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Christmas Baking Part I: Melomakarona making

For those of you who think that “melomakarona” making is too difficult, or it is something only grandmas know how to make, I can now confirm that you are wrong. I don’t cook very often (even though I would like to), and I am quite clumsy when I attempt to bake something, but “melomakarona” making was very easy even for me. The result (confirmed by Mr Proud Cypriot who is unfortunately a very strict judge), was extremely good as they were very tasty, even though one might say that they weren’t so pretty. Without further ado I present you the very easy “melomakarona” recipe:

Ingredients

For the dough
350g white flour
120g olive or corn oil
75g caster sugar
50g orange juice
3g cinnamon powder
3g ground cloves
5g baking powder
2g baking soda
120g walnuts (crushed)
100g honey
For the syrup
300g caster sugar
150g water
60g liquid glucose
1g vanilla
50g honey
For decoration
100g semi-crushed walnuts (depending on your preference)

1) The syrup: In a small pot, add the water with the sugar and the glucose. Let it heat up for 4-5 minutes and then add the honey. Let it turn into a mixed liquid for about another 1-2 minutes. Switch off the fire and add the vanilla.
2) The dough: in a large bowl, add all the ingredients to be used for the dough. Mix them together (you can do that using your hands), until the dough is thick and the ingredients are blended well together.
3) Baking preparation: Warm up the oven at 170C. In a large bake tray make small oval shaped “melomakarona” out of the dough. I made around 20 average sized ones but I broke a couple. Tip: when you knead the dough into the “melomakarona”, make sure that they are smooth and not cracked, as the cracks will become slightly bigger after they are baked and they will show (this is what made mine less pretty).
4) Baking: Put the bake tray in the oven for 12-15 minutes until the “melomakarona” become light brown.
5) Syrup soaking: Once you remove them from the oven, dip each of them into the syrup prepared beforehand and let them soak for 1-2 minutes each. might seem too long but it is worth it, especially if you like them soft and moist. If you prefer them dry leave them in the syrup for a few seconds (even though it is worth the 1-2 minutes of soaking). I left the syrup in the pot and dipped 2-3 at a time. Remove and drain them with an appropriate ladle and put them in your serving tray. Tip: I actually changed the serving tray after 10 minutes as inside the first one I used right after the syrup soaking there was way too much syrup.
6) Decoration: right after the soaking sprinkle some walnuts on top for decoration. It is up to you how crushed you want the walnuts to be.
This is it! It took me 1 hour from start to finish (and 30 minutes to clean!). Fortunately they last for up to a month, if you can resist not eating them that is. I made around 18 good ones. For more you can double the dough ingredients. The syrup was enough for two batches.

The recipe has been taken and sightly adapted from Mr Elias Mamalakis.

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