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Christmas honey sweets
Melomakarona - Christmas honey sweets.
 
Ingredients 
  • Cup of all-purpose unbleached flour.
  • Extra flour for kneading.
  • One and a half teaspoons of baking soda.
  • Quarter teaspoon of salt.
  • One and three-quarters cup of mild olive oil.
  • One and a quarter cup of sugar.
  • Half cup of cognac or port. 3 oranges - zested and juiced.
  • 4 teaspoons of freshly ground cinnamon.
  • One and a half teaspoons of freshly ground cloves.
  • Three-quarters of a teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg.
  • For the syrup: 2 cups of honey.
  • 1 cup of sugar. One inch piece of cinnamon.
  • 1 clove.
  • 1 lemon - zested and juiced.
  • 1 cup of water.
  • For the topping: half a cup of shelled almonds.
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar.
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground cinnamon.

Instructions 
  • Start by making the syrup.
  • Put the honey, sugar, cinnamon, clove, and lemon zest in a saucepan and add the water.
  • Bring to a boil and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  • Add the lemon juice, then chill.
  • To blanch the almonds plunge them into boiling water for 1-2 minutes until you see signs of their skins loosening.
  • Then drain and slip or pop them from their skins onto a baking sheet.
  • Toast them in an oven preheated to 350 F for about 10 minutes - just until they begin to colour.
  • Cool, then chop them very, very finely - if you do this in a food processor, make sure that the pulses are short, or the nuts could turn oily.
  • Mix the ground almonds with the sugar and cinnamon and reserve.
  • Sift the flour, baking soda and salt together.
  • Put the olive oil and sugar in a large bowl and beat together.
  • Beat in the Cognac,
  • the orange zest, spices, and juice from 2 oranges (about 1/2 cup).
  • Then beat in the flour, a few spoonfuls at a time, until you have a malleable dough, adding more flour if it is too soft, and more orange juice if it is too stiff.
  • Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes until very smooth.
  • Pinch off pieces of dough of about 2 tablespons and form into flattened oval or lozenge shapes.
  • Place them on an oiled or non-stick baking sheet.
  • Bake in an oven preheated to 400-425 F for about 20 minutes, until brown.
  • When they are cool enough to handle, dip them in the bowl of syrup for about a minute.
  • Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a tray to cool.
  • Sprinkle with the chopped almonds.
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