GoProvidence.com and the Providence Journal bring you Small Bites: Easy-to-Digest Recipes. Thanks to Greek chef Vangelis Rotas for giving us our first Small Bites recipe using metric measurements. He shared his family's Melomakarona Christmas cookie recipe.
Every family has their own version of Melomakarona. "It's small differences," he said. "Some might not use cinnamon. Some will use walnuts as we do, but others might prefer pistachios."
Rotas cooks at Yoleni’s, a wonderful Greek cafe, restaurant and market, which opened earlier this year in the former Tilden-Thurber building at 292 Westminster St. in Providence.
Yoleni's opens early with pastries and Greek coffees and serves a fast casual lunch of salads, spanakopita, sandwiches and more. In the evening there is table service with Greek wines, and a menu from chef Rotas and owners Alexander Philippides and Alexandra Georgiou. Yoleni’s is the first outpost in the U.S. of a Greek brand, which began as an e-commerce business selling Greek artisan foodstuffs. Georgiou is a native Rhode Islander happy to be home after raising three children with Philippides in Greece.
Check out the full recipe and video below:
For the Cookies:
- 192 grams olive oil
- 115 grams sugar
- 105 grams orange juice
- Zest of half an orange
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 10 grams cognac or brandy
- 400 grams flour
- 87.5 grams semolina
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 pinch ground cinnamon
- 1 pinch ground cloves
For the Syrup:
- 800 grams sugar
- 400 grams water
- 80 grams Karo light syrup
- 60 grams honey, plus more for garnish
- Ground walnuts for garnish
To Make the Cookies: Using a mixer, combine the olive oil, sugar, orange juice and orange zest until the sugar is well-blended.
In a small bowl, combine the baking soda and liqueur. Add to the mixer, along with the flour, semolina, baking powder, cinnamon and cloves. Mix until blended.
Roll small, oval pieces in your hands and put them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or until they are lightly browned and cooked through.
Cool cookies on a rack.
To Make the Syrup: Combine the sugar, water, Karo and honey, and mix well.
TIP: The syrup must be cold in order to use it, otherwise the Melomakarona will be destroyed.
When the cookies are cool, place them into the syrup one at a time using a slotted spoon. Serve with some drizzled extra honey and ground walnuts on each one.
Makes: 40 cookies