Also known as the Christmas cookie, Melomakarona are a popular treat any time of the year. Use your favorite honey (we love our local NY Buzz summer and fall variety).
They are also one of the easiest cookies to make. Traditionally, they are formed in a sort of flattened oblong shape but we make them in small bites. You really just need one to be satisfied but, heck, it's the holidays, have a bunch!
Melomakarona (Honey and olive oil cookies)
For the cookies For the syrup
1 cup extra virgin olive oil 1 cup honey
1/2 cup sugar 1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cognac* 1 cup water
1/4 cup orange juice
zest from one orange For topping
1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 cup crushed walnuts
3 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Warm oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine extra virgin olive oil, sugar, cognac, orange juice, zest and cinnamon. Sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture a cup at a time. Knead dough for a few minutes (by hand or with a dough attachment if using a mixer) until smooth. Check consistency and add more flour if needed. Form dough into oblong shape (about a quarter of cup at a time) and place on baking sheet; press to slightly flatten the cookie. Bake approximately 20-25 minutes.
While cookies bake, combine ingredients for the syrup and bring to a boil on the stovetop; boil for 5 minutes. Remove the foam that will form on top. Remove cookies from oven and place in a rimmed dish, pour hot syrup so that the cookies are half immersed in syrup. Let stand for 10 minutes. Drizzle more syrup over the cookies and immediately sprinkle with crushed walnuts. Enjoy!
* If preferred, 1/4 orange juice can be sustituted for the cognac.
This past Saturday, at the Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow farmers market, we set up our booth in the shade of one of Patriot Park's lovely old trees. From 8:30 until 2:00, the market was a-buzz with folks shopping, strolling along the park's winding paths and enjoying the live music on the lawn. It was a picture-perfect day and I had a wonderful time talking to customers about Oil Ladi, while they sampled the EVOO drizzled on cherry tomatoes or on a slice of baguette. Several customers told me they preferred it straight and so I poured them a shot! Even better!
As the market wound to a close, I purchased a bunch of rainbow carrots and several of the most beautiful summer squash from a nearby vendor. Last night our family enjoyed that squash prepared the way my mom's prepared it for as long as I can remember. It's the simplest recipe and I'll share it with you here: steam the squash either sliced or cubed, as you prefer; combine one part red wine vinegar to three parts EVOO, dried oregano and salt, to taste, in a jar, cover tightly and give it a good shake to emulsify. Pour over your steamed squash and enjoy!
The important thing, as this article states, is to be sure you are cooking with a truly high-quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO). Low acidity (less than 0.8%) is what gives EVOO its delicious taste, healthful benefits and ability to withstand high heat. We've used our EVOO for everything we cook that calls for olive oil and yes, I make french fries with it and they are delicious!