Rich with butter and brandy, scented with orange and honey, and a little zing of clove and cinnamon, these cookies are delicious. After baking the recipe calls for dipping each in a rich, warm syrup of cinnamon, honey, sugar and water before sprinkling with chopped pistachios. I saved the leftover syrup (about a cup and a half worth) to make a honeyed-brandied apple sauce for eating with pancakes or waffles, mostly because I hate throwing away that much leftover, and partly to use up the remaining few tablespoons of brandy left in the bottle after baking these.

Sharon Tyler Herbst says that Venetians may have brought the recipe for these traditional Christmas treats with them in the 15th century when they and their neighbors ruled some of the Greek islands. Another theory (and alternate recipe) is outlined here: melomakarona. The blog that link will take you to also contains the only online etymology of melomakarona that I could find in my cursory search, and I am grateful to its author for that as these puzzles tend to bother me when I can find no solution… in case you haven’t yet noticed that quirk in my character.

In her recipe, Ms. Herbst calls for all-purpose flour and butter, but traditional μελομακάρονα bakers use semolina and olive oil. They also roll the pastry into an egg shape, which she suggests too, but I failed to do. They still taste pretty good though!


About pattiblaine

Raised under the name of Snyder in the upstate NY town of Vestal, I've worked as a typesetter, a fast food salad bar tender, an art reviewer, a waitress, a part-time nanny, and a very-bad-with-phones temp. Once upon a time I was all-but-thesis toward a Masters in Art History. Now I'm just a mom with a lot of fiber squirreled away throughout the house. We call it insulation. In 2013 I completed a life-long learning program at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and am a postulant toward the diaconate in the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester, NY. In addition to coordinating volunteers for the soup kitchen, I volunteer as a tutor at a deeply impoverished city elementary school, and am a docent at the Memorial Art Gallery.
This entry was posted in Extracurricular, On the fly (aka from a mobile device), The Joy of Cookies and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Melomakarona

  1. I knew the Meli/honey connection (the only cognative of this in english is Mead (honey wine)) but I love learning the macaroni part!–(I think I’d love the cookies too..But then, what’s not to like about them?)

    Meli/honey words are all over the map in english –from Melody (sweet music), to Diabetes Melititis. (sweet sugary urine!) meli is a key root word to know.

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