Melomakarouna – A Greek tradition in our house meets healthy. Do Santa a favor and ditch the refined sugar! You won’t feel bad when you’re kids reach for seconds and grabbing that extra piece won’t weigh on you the rest of the day. These cookies don’t lack taste but they definitely lack the bad feeling you get after overindulging during the holidays!
Every year at Christmas my mom always dives into baking full force. I mean, what is Christmas without our family’s traditional Baklava and Greek cookies? This year I knew I wanted to tackle those cookies and recreate them in a healthier way, I needed to get them vegan and gluten free, and even free of refined sugar. Baklava I would leave until next year, a little more challenging and I had too much on my plate without much time. So I got out my flours, started mixing and made dough after dough. The consistency of these cookies varies greatly from family to family. Some like them soft and crumbly, and some hard and crisp. We were split in my family, so I really wanted to find a way to satisfy both sides. And I think I did it. After a few trials, I finally got one that came out firm enough to dip in the syrup, but soft enough to crumble in your mouth. With the traditional recipe, it usually works to simply bake the cookies longer if you want them on the harder side, but with gluten free flour blends I always change up the flours I am using depending on what I’m going for. So for this project, I needed two flour blends for my recipes. Having hit home for the soft cookie team, I now needed to find that perfect blend for the crisper cookie crowd. This was a little more challenging, but in the end I think I got it! These ones were definitely at their best when fresh, but still tasted pretty good a few days later. As the holiday approaches, it feels good to go back to my roots and bring a little taste of my ancestry into our new world of vegan, gluten free, and free of refined sugar.
- 2 ½ cups tapioca flour
- 1 cup buckwheat flour
- 1 cup gluten free oat flour or grind gluten free oats
- 1-2 cups sorghum flour start with 1 and add more to get the right dough consistency
- 1 cup chopped walnuts to sprinkle over the top at the end
Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Combine all dry ingredients (from baking powder to flours) in a small bowl and set aside. Using a stand or hand mixer, mix the oil, sugar, orange juice, and brandy until well blended. Then slowly add in the flour mixture.
- Once you get the right consistency (dry enough to form into patties, but still a little moist and sticky), form into oblong patties about 2-3 inches long and ½ inch thick. Press each cookie on the back of a cheese grater to make a pattern on top. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden at the edges.
- Once cookies are completely cool (the next day is best), prepare the syrup. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer. Remove cinnamon stick and lemon if desired (can get in the way while dipping the cookies).
- Begin dipping the cookies, using a slotted spoon. Be careful to only dip for a few seconds so the cookies don’t fall apart, but making sure to completely cover the cookie.
- Place them on a platter and sprinkle chopped walnuts over them as you go.