Melomakarona (Gluten-Free & Lower Carb)
Melomakarona are also known as Greek Honey and Walnut Biscuits. They are traditional Greek biscuits that are made with olive oil, honey, orange juice and topped with crushed walnuts. They’re dairy-free, egg-free and my version is also gluten-free and lower in sugar. They are bursting with flavours of cinnamon and cloves and have the perfect balance of a crunchy biscuit that has been gently kissed and softened with honey syrup.
Here are a few suggestion and be sure to watch my video below to see how easy they are to make! Enjoy!
· Dry Ingredients include gluten-free self-raising flour, sugar (feel free to substitute this with monk fruit sugar) walnuts and almond flour. These ingredients make for a lighter and less carb-loaded biscuit.
· Wet Ingredients include olive oil that is light in flavour (used instead of a heavier olive oil to not overpower the spices in the melomakarona), freshly squeezed orange juice and brandy or cognac (which gives it a special aroma).
· Spices include ground cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg which give the biscuits a warming, sweet and woody spice flavour.
· Honey is known to Greeks as the ‘Nectar of The Gods’ and is used to ‘sweeten’ the relationship between family and friends, hence when you serve these to loved ones, you are intensifying the affections in your relationships. If you do not want to use honey, use sugar instead and bring it to a boil for an extra 5 minutes.
TIPS AND VARIATIONS:
Can I use traditional flour instead? This recipe has been specifically made to use gluten-free flour, however, if you are a baker and know the approximate consistency of cookie dough, feel free to experiment.
How is this lower in carb and sugar? Traditional Melomakarona recipes call for 1 cup of sugar (for this amount of biscuits) and then more sugar in the honey syrup whereas this recipe has only 120g sugar and you can even substitute that with monk fruit sugar if needed. I have also reduced the amount of flour and added instead almond meal which gives it a really lovely texture.
Why is the syrup important? The fragrant syrup is the essence of Melomakarona. To make sure your biscuits soak the syrup all the way, you need to dip them into the syrup while it is hot (cooled biscuit, hot syrup). This will help the biscuits absorb the syrup and begin to moisten.
Storing your Melomakarona. These biscuits will keep fresh for up to 2 weeks if stored in an airtight container and in a cool dry place. Alternatively, only syrup and sprinkle with walnuts, half the biscuits. With the remaining biscuits, syrup and walnuts, simply store them in an airtight container separately and use them when needed. These should last up to 3 weeks as well.
And now it’s time to start cooking! As always, if you make any of my recipes, I would love to hear your feedback. Don’t forget to save it on your Pinterest board as well! I have a board named CreateCookShare that you can follow and save. Can’t wait to hear from you.
Be Well, Margaret x
MELOMAKARONA GLUTEN FREE
Makes 24 x 40g each
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 + 20 minutes
Cooling Time Needed
320g self-raising flour, gluten-free
150g almond flour
200ml olive oil, light
120g caster sugar (use monk fruit sugar for sugar-free)
100ml freshly squeezed orange juice
Zest of 1 orange (approx. ¼ cup zest)
50ml brandy or cognac
1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup water
3 sliced orange rinds
6 whole cloves
100g walnuts, finely crushed
1. Begin by adding to a bowl the olive oil and sugar. Whisk with a hand-held mixer or an electric mixer for 3 minutes on high.
2. Add the orange juice, orange rind, brandy or cognac, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg and almond flour. Continue to whisk for 3 minutes or until well combined, scraping down the sides if needed.
3. In a separate bowl, sift the self-rising flour and then make a well in the centre. Pour the mixture into the centre and using a spatula stir until well combined. Allow sitting for a few minutes to rest. Now preheat the oven at 170C fan-forced.
4. Using hands, roll a tablespoon of mixture into oval shapes and place onto cookie trays lined with baking paper making sure there is a minimum of 3cm between each biscuit. Using a fork, gently push down on each biscuit, to slightly flatten and create grooves for the walnuts to sit in.
5. Place into oven and bake for 30 minutes. If your oven cooks unevenly rotate trays halfway through baking time. Turn oven off and leave biscuits untouched in the oven with the door closed for a further 20 minutes. Then remove from oven and allow to completely cool on the tray.
6. In a small wide pot add the honey, water, orange rinds and cloves. Bring to boil and then reduce heat to simmer for 3 minutes. Keep an eye on the syrup as it can easily overflow. Skim off any foam that may develop on the surface of the syrup.
7. Once the biscuits have cooled down, place them into the hot syrup for 30 seconds, turning them over a couple of times. Remove and allow excess syrup to drip off. Top with finely crushed walnuts and a light sprinkle of ground cinnamon.
Optional: You can dip in syrup and sprinkle with walnuts only a few biscuits at a time. With the remaining syrup, add it to a heatproof bowl and store the walnuts in a jar. Use as needed for up to 3 weeks. Store biscuits in an airtight container.