Course : Greek
Serves: 40
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1 1/2 cups olive oil
1/2 cup butter, unsalted -- room temperature
1 cup beer
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon -- ground
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves -- ground
1 medium zest of one orange
1 cup sugar
2 cups semolina -- finely ground
6 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups sugar -- (for the syrup)
1 1/2 cups honey
1 cup water
1/2 cup walnuts -- chopped

Preparation / Directions:

Put the olive oil, butter, beer, cinnamon, cloves, orange zest and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until they are thoroughly blended. Sift about one cup of flour with the baking soda, baking powder and salt and blend into the mixture. Add the semolina, a cup at a time, into the mixture. Add the enough of the remaining flour, a cup at a time, until you get a rather firm dough (you may need a bit more or less than the amount mentioned in the ingredients list). Use your hands to do the mixing, as an electric mixer will be useless after the first two or three C of flour have been added. Roll the dough into cylinders, about two inches long and one inch in diameter, flatten them with your hands, and place them on cookie sheets greased with a little olive oil. Bake at 350F for half an hour. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool for about half an hour. Make the syrup: mix the sugar, honey and water, and bring them to a boil. Cook on low heat for three minutes and skim off the foam that forms on top. Pour the hot syrup over the cookies, sprinkle them with the chopped walnuts and let them soak overnight. NOTES: Traditional Greek Christmas cookies soaked in honey syrup -- This is one of the two kinds of confection that are traditionally consumed in large quantities in Greece during the holiday season (the other is kourabiedes). I suppose You can use flour instead of semolina, but only as a last resort, as you won't be able to get that wonderful grainy texture which you get if you use semolina. The amounts given here are for only half a recipe. Considering that it is very hard to eat only one melomacarono, making the full recipe may not be as outrageous as it sounds!

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