Melomakarona, rich, dark and intense, are another standard on the Christmas table, but they are also made in a Lenten version (below) in which butter is replaced by olive oil. The cookies are delicious either way.
3/4 cup Krinos Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup brandy
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt
5-6 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
6 cups syrup
1 cup ground walnuts
NOTE: Follow syrup preparation instructions on page 72
In a large bowl, whip together the olive oil, sugar and honey. Dissolve the baking powder into the water and mix into the oil and sugar. Add orange juice, brandy, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, and mix well. Gradually fold in 5 cups of the sifted flour. Knead, adding more flour if necessary, until smooth dough forms.
Lightly grease several cookie sheets and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Take a walnut-size piece of dough at a time and shape into small oblongs, mounding the top slightly. Bake on the greased cookie sheets for about 15 minutes, or until golden.
Have the syrup ready and cool. When the melomakarona comes out of the oven, steep them into the cool syrup. Remove with a slotted spoon, place on a platter or tray and sprinkle with ground walnuts.
Yield: About 4 dozen