Christmas biscuits with olive oil and spices (vegan melomakarona)

The melomakarona or μελομακάρονα are traditional Greek biscuits for Christmas! They are made traditionally with honey but in this recipe I made them with coconut syrup for the vegan version! They are made with olive oil and spices (cinnamon and cloves) and in this recipe they have the texture of a slightly soaked shortbread which is rather unusual! Try making them, it’s delicious and easy to make :-)

Note, that everybody in Greece is trying to find the right method to soak these biscuits in syrup but in this recipe it is very simple, and you will not have to stay put and survey the process! It’s quite straightforward ;-)

Merry Christmas to all!

In two words:

“Even if I walk in the shadow of the dead, I have no fear because you are with me”.

To Start...

difficulty easy
cooking - 25’ (or 30’ for bigger biscuits) + the time to soak (10h-12h)
serves - 23 small biscuits or 15 bigger ones  


for the biscuits
  • 2 + ¼ cups of all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon of baking powder
  • just a little bit of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon
  • a bit of ground cloves (*)
  • ¼ cup of caster sugar
  • ¾ cup of olive oil
  • 1/8 cup of orange juice
  • 1/8 cup of cognac
  • the zest of ¼ of an orange
for the syrup
  • ½ cup of caster sugar
  • ½ cup of water
  • ½ tasse de sirop de fleurs de coco
to bring everything together
  • 60gr of walnuts


for the biscuits

  • In a bowl, stir with a whisk:
    • the flour (sieved)
    • the baking powder
    • the salt
    • the spices (**)
  • In another bowl, add all the liquids, the caster sugar and the zest of the orange, that is:
    • the caster sugar
    • the cognac
    • the orange juice
    • the olive oil
    • the zest of the orange
  • Stir everything together with an electric mixer or a whisk
  • Start adding the mixture of flour into the liquids with a tablespoon
  • Stir well until the flour is fully absorbed
  • Work the dough a little bit with your hands to form a sphere
  • Form small balls and place them onto a tray going to the oven
  • Press them a little bit using the back of a fort and pinch them a little bit as well
  • Bake for 25’ if they are small, or 30’ if they are bigger

to soak the biscuits into the syrup

  • Add into a casserole:
    • the sugar
    • the water
    • the coconut syrup
  • Bring the heat up and heat the syrup for 5’ in medium heat
  • Normally, you will have to remove the foam that is created on top of the syrup with a tablespoon
  • Pour the syrup as it is hot, or even very hot, on top of the hot biscuits
  • Let them soak over night
  • In the morning turn them on the other side, and let them soak some syrup from this side also (1h-2h)

to bring everything together

  • Slice the walnuts in rough pieces with a knife or an electric mixer
  • Place the biscuits onto a plate and sprinkle on top some walnuts
  • You can create layers and place between them some parchment paper, if you don’t want them to stick
  • It’s delicious and vegan 100%
  • Enjoy!

What’s the story behind this recipe?

This is a traditional Greek recipe to make Christmas cookies with honey, but in this version, I wanted to create vegan biscuits so I replaced the honey with coconut syrup and it worked! Note, that I love coconut syrup because I find its perfume delicious!

The biscuits are very good and have this special texture that resembles to shortbread biscuits only they are slightly soaked in syrup! Either way, this recipe produces the best melomakarona or μελομακάρονα μελομακάρονα there are! And believe me when I say this, I lived long enough in Greece (35 years) and I had tasted many melomakarona!

If you want to know a bit more about their story just read the story in the traditional recipe page ;-)


This is a recipe (without the coconut syrup) that comes from an old leaflet dating from 1963, and that was published by Greek cream maker brand called “Giotis”, for more information read the story of itsinspiration in the traditional recipe!

(*) if you can’t find ground cloves,make your own, just press them in a mortar and produce some powder; don’t use much because it’s really very heavy on taste!

(**) you need to be careful on how much cloves you are going to use because it’s very strong, so use just a little bit but enough to break down a little bit the taste and odor of cinnamon! 

o-o C'est si bon ! o-o

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