'Tis the season to make cookies, of course. And if you're in need of some last-minute inspiration and a not-your-usual-cookies recipe, it's worth taking a look at our techniques for Greek Christmas cookies from home cook and cookbook author extraordinaire Aglaia Kremezi.
Of course, if you're looking for something more traditional, we've also got a gallery of 26 cookie recipes to keep you busy. But for now, here's Aglaia's recipe for melomakarona, Greek orange spice cookies.
Recipe: Melomakarona (Orange Spice Cookies)
If you manage to resist eating these fast, they will get even better with time.
Makes about 40 cookies
For the dough:
• 1 1⁄4 cups light olive oil (not extra virgin)
• 1⁄3 cup sugar
• grated zest of 1 orange
• 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
• 3 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 1⁄2 cups fine semolina
• 1⁄2 cup brandy
• grated zest of 1 lemon
• 1 teaspoon ground cloves
•1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the filling or topping (optional)
• 2 cups finely chopped walnuts or 1 cup, for sprinkling
• 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon or 2 teaspoons, for sprinkling
For the syrup:
•1 cup sugar
•1 cup honey
•1 1⁄2 cups water
In a large bowl, beat the oil and sugar with an electric mixer until blended. Beat in the orange zest and juice. In a medium bowl, combine 2 cups of the flour and the baking powder. Gradually beat the flour mixture into the oil mixture. Beat in the semolina, brandy, lemon zest, cloves and cinnamon. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding 1 cup or more flour as necessary to obtain a smooth, soft, oily dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 20 to 30 minutes.