Vegan Melomakarona Recipe (GREEK CHRISTMAS HONEY COOKIES)

Easy vegan Melomakarona recipe – My vegan version of the amazing classic Greek Christmas Cookies recipe MELOMAKARONA. It’s a must-eat, must-bake classic Christmas cookie in Greece. This is my vegan MELOMAKARONA recipe. It’s just as Christmas-y, cozy, and irresistibly delicious as the popular authentic MELOMAKARONA recipe. Featuring fragrant cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, these delicious Greek Holiday cookies are like a mouthful of Christmas in every bite.

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How does Melomakarona taste? Well, I’m glad you asked. These delicious Greek Christmas cookies are like a soft, pillowy gingerbread cookie that meets spicy, rich cinnamon deliciousness all soaked in maple syrup. It’s moist, buttery (even though they are butter-free cookies) and pillowy at the center with a golden slightly crispy outside, plus little nooks and crannies packed with cinnamon sugar and crunchy walnuts. They really are the best vegan Greek Holiday cookies.

The Hallmark flavors of Christmas all come together in a glorious cookie masterpiece. We’ve got cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, allspice, and vanilla all coming together in this textural masterpiece of soft and pillowy on the inside and golden and buttery crispy on the outside. So good. 

These tasty Greek cookies are easy to make and a great cookie recipe to make with children. They’re fun to make for all age groups, and with a super tasty cookie in no time it’s a sure favorite. 

How to make vegan melomakarona cookies 

Making delicious melomakarona is a very easy two-part process. First, you need to make syrup for dipping the freshly baked cookies into right when they come out of the oven. This syrup is what transforms these cookies from good to absolutely mouthwatering I-want-to-eat-the-whole-plate delicious. Step two is making the easy cookie dough, shaping the cookies, and baking them for 15-20 minutes. 

Step 3, is all about dipping those fragrant Christmas cookies into the syrup you made. Yum.

Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top and chopped walnuts, and you’re almost ready to eat these festive and fragrant Greek Christmas cookies.

Let’s get baking

How to make the syrup for vegan melomakarona (Greek Christmas Cookies)

Prepare the syrup for the melomakarona first. Add water, sugar, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and the orange to a pot or saucepan. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 3 minutes while stirring. Once the sugar is completely dissolved, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the maple syrup. Set the syrup aside while you bake.

How to make and bake the best easy Greek Christmas cookies (vegan Melomakarona recipe)

Set out two large mixing bowls. Add semolina, flour, and baking powder to one bowl and mix until completely combined.

In the second bowl, mix together orange juice, cognac, sugar, and spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, clove, vanilla). Now, whisk in the baking soda and keep whisking until a foam begins to form. Add the water, olive oil, neutral vegetable oil, orange zest, and maple syrup. Whisk to combine.

Now, begin adding the flour mixture from the first bowl a little at a time as you whisk to combine. Once the dough is too thick to whisk, add all the remaining flour mixture and begin kneading the dough quickly to form a smooth and still a little sticky cookie dough.

Next, preheat the oven to 350F (180 Celsius) and line several baking sheets with baking parchment. Now, pinch a walnut-sized chunk of dough and roll it into a ball, then shape the ball into an egg shape. Do this with all the dough and place the cookies on the lined baking sheets. Press a fork on top of the cookies to create indentations that will become deliciously crispy on top. 

Bake the melomakarona in the oven, 2 baking sheets at a time for around 15-20 minutes or until the cookies are golden and evenly cooked through.

Easy way to dip melomakarona cookies in syrup 

Once baked, remove the cookies from the oven and dip them immediately into the cold syrup. Let the cookies soak for 7-8 seconds on each side, flipping them over with a spoon so all sides are covered. Gently remove the cookies from the syrup, place them on a baking rack and sprinkle them with ground cinnamon, granulated sugar, and chopped walnuts. 

Let the cookies cool, and store them in an airtight cookie jar at room temperature until serving.

Enjoy.

The secret to making the best Greek Christmas cookies (vegan Melomakarona recipe)

If you have tried different Melomakarona cookies you’ve probably noticed they can be quite different. Some can be quite dry and hard, while others are juicy and melt-on-your-tongue delicious. What’s the difference? The secret is all in the semolina flour. 

Semolina is made from ground durum wheat. It has an amazing liquid absorption that makes it delicious in baking and other of our foodie favorites like pasta and couscous. 

Using semolina in cakes and cookies makes for a moist and buttery cookie with a lightly crunchy crust. 

What does melomakarona mean?

Melomakarona (μελομακάρονα) are traditional Greek Christmas cookies. They are served during Christmas time throughout Greece. The word “melomakarona” is a combination of the two words “meli”, which means honey, and “makarona”. “Makarona” comes from the ancient word “makaria” and means blessed. In this Melomakarona recipe, we have substituted the traditional honey with syrup to make the recipe vegan. The cookies are naturally dairy-free and egg-free…and they are absolutely delicious. 

In some regions of Greece Melomakarona is also known as Finikia. The traditional recipe for both Melomakarona and Finikia cookies are almost identical…the main difference is that Finikia cookies are usually deep fried while Melomakarona is baked.

Tips to make the best Greek Christmas cookies (Melomakarona)

Getting the best Melomakarona dough

– don’t overwork the dough when kneading it. The cookie dough contains baking powder and baking soda that work best to make a light and delicious cookie when it’s not overworked.

Getting the right texture

– always use semolina in your Melomakarona dough to give the cookies the right consistency. Using semolina is the secret to moist and juicy Greek cookies that almost melt on your tongue in Christmassy goodness. 

Make the syrup ahead

– always make the syrup before you begin to make the cookie dough. You want your syrup cold when you soak your hot fresh-out-of-the-oven Greek cookies in it. 

Don’t be too generous with the flour

– Melomakarona is a light, buttery and tender cookie. Only use the amount of flour the recipe calls for. The dough should be slightly sticky when you shape the cookies.

Give the cookies time to soak up the syrup

– these Melomakarona cookies are all about the fragrant syrup. You want to make sure the cookies have enough time to soak up the flavors because this is the KEY to making the best Melomakarona cookies. I soak my coo for 7-8 seconds on each side, but if you want extra flavors you can let your cookies soak for up to 20 seconds total. 

Speed up the baking process

– to make your Melomakarona cookies quickly, you can make the syrup and pop it in the fridge while you bake. Then bake the cookies in batches – when one batch is baking you can dunk the already baked batch of cookies in the cold syrup. 

Frequently asked questions about Greek Christmas Cookies

Can I make Melomakarona dough in advance and store it in the fridge?

No. Melomakarona cookies turn out best when you bake them right away. The ingredients tend to separate if you store it, as the oil wants to sink…and you will end up with an overworked dough or a dry cookie.

How to store Melomakarona?

These vegan Greek Christmas cookies are best stored in a clean cookie jar or container. 

How long will Melomakarona keep?

1-2 weeks, maybe even more. The traditional Melomakarona are made with honey which will keep them fresh for 2-3 weeks thanks to the anti-microbial properties of the honey. Vegan Melomakarona is good for 1-2 weeks as they don’t contain any honey.

Do I have to use cognac in Melomakarona?

You can substitute cognac with another alcoholic beverage such as sherry or brandy. If you prefer a non-alcoholic option, you can also replace the cognac with pear-, peach-, or apricot juice.

Are you looking for more tasty easy vegan Holiday recipes? You might like these fan favorites:

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5 from 1 vote

VEGAN MELOMAKARONA RECIPE (Greek Christmas Cookies)

My vegan version of the amazing classic Greek Christmas Cookies recipe MELOMAKARONA. It’s a must-eat, must-bake classic Christmas cookie in Greece. This is my vegan MELOMAKARONA recipe. It’s just as Christmas-y, cozy, and irresistibly delicious as the popular authentic MELOMAKARONA recipe. Featuring fragrant cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, these delicious Greek Holiday cookies are like a mouthful of Christmas in every bite.
Course Baking
Cuisine Greek, Mediterranean
Keyword Cookies, dessert, vegan
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 50 cookies
Author Simone – Munchyesta.com

Ingredients

FOR THE MELOMAKARONA

  • 5.3 oz 1/2 cup (150g) Fine Semolina
  • 17.6 oz 4 cups (500g) Flour baking flour or all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 3.5 oz 1/3 cup (100g) Orange juice
  • 3 tbsp Cognac or apple juice for a nonalcoholic option
  • 3.5 oz 1/3 cup (100g) Sugar caster or coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp Cinnamon Powder
  • tsp Ground Nutmeg
  • tsp Ground Clove
  • ½ tsp Allspice
  • tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3.2 oz 1/3 cups (90g) Water
  • 4.4 oz 1/2 cup (125g) Olive Oil
  • 4.4 oz 1/2 cup (125g) Vegetable Oil neutral flavours, like sunflower oil or avocado oil
  • 3 tbsp (50g) Maple Syrup or other syrup
  • 2 Oranges – Zest From

FOR THE SYRUP

  • cups (300g) Water
  • cups (600g) Sugar any type you prefer
  • 2 Cinnamon Sticks
  • 4 Whole Cloves
  • 1 Orange cut into halves
  • 7 oz 10 tbsp (200g) Maple Syrup or other syrup

FOR TOPPING

  • 2 tsp Cinnamon Powder
  • 2 tbsp Granulated Sugar
  • 1⅔ cups (200g) Walnuts (optional) chopped

Instructions

Making the syrup

  • Prepare the syrup for the melomakarona first. Add water, sugar, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and the orange to a pot or saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil and let simmer for 3 minutes while stirring. Once the sugar is completely dissolved, remove the pot from the heat and stir in the maple syrup. Set the syrup aside while you bake.

Making the melomakaron

  • Set out two large mixing bowls. Add semolina, flour, and baking powder to one bowl and mix until completely combined.
  • In the second bowl, mix together orange juice, cognac, sugar, and spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice, clove, vanilla). Now, whisk in the baking soda and keep whisking until a foam begins to form. Add the water, olive oil, neutral vegetable oil, orange zest, and maple syrup. Whisk to combine.
  • Now, begin adding the flour mixture from the first bowl a little at a time as you whisk to combine. Once the dough is too thick to whisk, add all the remaining flour mixture and begin kneading the dough quickly to form a smooth and still a little sticky cookie dough.
  • Next, preheat the oven to 350F (180 Celsius) and line several baking sheets with baking parchment. Now, pinch a walnut-sized chunk of dough and roll it into a ball, then shape the ball into an egg shape. Do this with all the dough and place the cookies on the lined baking sheets. Press a fork on top of the cookies to create indentations that will become deliciously crispy on top. 
  • Bake the melomakarona in the oven, 2 baking sheets at a time for around 15-20 minutes or until the cookies are golden and evenly cooked through.
    Once baked, remove the cookies from the oven and dip them immediately into the cold syrup. Let the cookies soak for 7-8 seconds on each side, flipping them over with a spoon so all sides are covered. Gently remove the cookies from the syrup, place them on a baking rack and sprinkle them with ground cinnamon, granulated sugar, and chopped walnuts. 
    Let the cookies cool, and store them in an airtight cookie jar at room temperature until serving.
    Enjoy.

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1 Comment

  1. 5 stars
    This was just what I was looking for. Thanks for this recipe! Best real Greek cookies I’ve tried – they actually have the taste of home

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