Honey Dipped Cookies (Melomakarona)

Makes 40 to 50 cookies. Recipe is from Elpis Polyzopoulos.

8 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

2 tsps. baking powder

11/2 cups vegetable oil

1/2 cup shortening

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup brandy

2 tsps. grated orange rind

For syrup

2 cups honey

2 cups sugar

2 cups water


11/2 cups finely chopped walnuts

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. cloves

1. Sift together flour, soda and baking powder into a kneading basin and make a well in the center. Blend the remaining ingredients at high speed in a food processor or blender. Pour the mixture into the well. Gradually incorporate the flour from the sides of the well into the liquid and knead lightly until a soft and greasy dough is formed. Avoid overkneading.

2. On a wooden surface, roll out the dough into a 1?3-inch thick sheet. use cookie cutters to cut out the dough into ovals, squares or rounds. Arrange them on ungreased baking sheets and decorate the tops by drawing and pressing the prongs of a fork across the surface.

3. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

4. Meanwhile, combine the syrup ingredients in a large pan and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat and simmer for 7 minutes. Skim off the froth and pour the syrup over the cookies as soon as they come out of the oven. When all the syrup is absorbed, turn the cookies over and allow to cool completely.

5. For the garnish, mix together walnuts, cinnamon and cloves in a bowl. Picking up one cookie at a time, turn them over and sprinkle the tops with the walnut mixture. Place the cookies on a serving dish and keep covered with plastic wrap to prevent them from drying out. They keep well at room temperature up to 3 weeks.