Melomakarona Yemista me Sousami
In Greek, these honey spice cookies with sesame centers might be called “Stuffed Melomakarona with Sesame” or “Melomakarona from Rhodes,” where they have become famous. A winter holiday tradition (but delightful any time of year), these cookies bring in seasonal tastes and smells of cinnamon, cloves, and oranges. After baking, the cookies are briefly soaked in a lightly spiced honey syrup, and sprinkled with sesame seeds.
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
- FOR THE COOKIE DOUGH
- 1 1/2 cups of olive oil
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- juice of 1 orange
- 4 tablespoons of brandy
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1/2 cup of Vermouth
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons of ground cloves
- 6 cups of all-purpose flour
- FOR THE FILLING
- 1 cup of white sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
- FOR THE SYRUP
- 2 cups of honey
- 2 cups of sugar
- 2 cups of water
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- FOR TOPPING
- 1/2 cup of sesame seeds
- Dissolve the baking soda in the brandy.
- Combine the ground cinnamon and cloves in a bowl and mix well for the dough.
- Combine the ground cinnamon and cloves in a bowl and mix well for the filling.
- In a mixing bowl, beat together the oil and sugar for about 5 minutes. Add orange juice, brandy with baking soda, baking powder, combined ground cinnamon and cloves, and Vermouth. Continue beating and add two-thirds of the flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, beating on low speed until well blended. Change to dough hooks, or use hands when needed.
- Add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, kneading with hands at the end. Dough is ready when it no longer sticks to the hands, about 5 minutes of kneading (the dough will be oily).
- Combine all filling ingredients in a bowl.
- Use a handful of dough to make each cookie, forming into a log shape. Flatten it out, place a small teaspoonful of filling in the center and close the cookie, sealing the filling inside, in a long oval shape (see photo). Continue until all dough and filling is used.
- Preheat oven to 355°F (180°C).
- Place cookies well spaced on a lightly greased or nonstick cookie sheet (or on baking parchment paper). Bake at 355°F (180°C) for 30-35 minutes until nicely browned.
Make the Syrup:
- The cooled cookies will be dipped in hot syrup, so don’t start the syrup until the cookies are cooled. Combine all syrup ingredients in wide pot (like a deep frying pan) and boil gently for about 15 minutes. Remove the stick of cinnamon. Leave the syrup on the stove over the lowest heat possible during dipping.
- Put in cookies (as many as will fit on the bottom in one layer) into the hot syrup and use a spatula if needed to hold them down for 30 seconds to 1 minute. Once the cookies have been soaked, remove them with a slotted spoon, letting excess syrup drip, place on a large serving plate in layers, sprinkling each layer with sesame seeds before adding another layer on top.
- Melomakarona are not refrigerated. Cover them well with plastic wrap or store in tins so they don’t dry out, and they’ll last for several days – if they aren’t eaten by then.
- Yield: about 3 dozen Melomakarona Cookies with Sesame Centers.