Greek Recipes

Greek and Cypriot recipes

Honey Spice Cookies with Sesame Centers

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.

Honey Spice Cookies with Sesame Centers

Honey Spice Cookies with Sesame Centers

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes


  • 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
  • .
  • 1 cup of white sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • .
  • 2 cups of honey
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • .
  • 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.

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