This is one of the traditional sweets that are made at Christmas. The semolina gives them a grainy texture that I find very appealing.Ingredients: 1 cup vegetable (sunflower) oil (or a packet of margarine 250 gr.) 2 ½ cups fine semolina ½ cup flour ¼ cup sugar ¼ cup brandy ¼ cup orange juice 2 tablespoonfuls orange zest 1 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon powdered cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon powdered cloves For the syrup ¾ cups water 1 cup honey ½ cup sugar 1 stick cinnamon 4 – 5 whole cloves Half an orange with the peel Walnuts pounded in a mortar, or finely chopped Ground cinnamon
Place the oil with the sugar in the mixer and beat them for about 10 – 15 minutes. In the meantime, mix the semolina with the flour and leave aside. Now add the brandy and the orange zest in the oil. Put the orange juice in a water glass and add the soda. As the soda froths, pour it quickly in the oil mixture as you stir it. Run the mixer at the lowest speed, and add the cinnamon, the cloves and the semolina a tablespoonful at the time. When the semolina is finished, switch off the mixer.
Take a cookie sheet and greased it very lightly. To shape the melomakarona, take a handful of the dough and roll them in your hands. Make little oval logs (about 3 in. long) and place them on the sheet about 1 in. apart from each other. When you have finished the dough, you can make a little pattern on the top of the cookies by lightly pressing a fork.
Bake them in a preheated oven at 170o C for about 20 minutes. Check them so they don’t burn.
Take them out of the oven and let them cool. When they are cold, prepare the syrup.
Put all the ingredients except the walnuts and the ground cinnamon in a pot and bring to the boil. Remove the foam that forms on top. Simmer for about 5 minutes to get the aroma of the spice and the orange. Turn down the fire to one, so as to keep the syrup hot. Take 3 – 4 cookies and drop them in the syrup. Roll them around and leave them in the syrup for 15 – 20 seconds. If you take them out sooner they won’t absorb enough syrup. If you leave them too long, the cookies will break up afterwards.
Lay them on a platter side by side and sprinkle ground cinnamon and the walnuts over them.
You will have about 30 cookies and if you want more, just double the amount of the ingredients.