Christmas time is coming and Skopelos island has already “wore” its festive!

Preparations have already begun while the festive atmosphere is prevailing everywhere! The roads and the houses are decorated with lights thus creating this festive sense while housewives perfume the alleys with traditional sweets!

The sweets that star in all houses during Christmas in Skopelos -and Greece, in general- are the Greek almond snowballs (kourabiedes) and the Greek honey cookies (melomakarona).

Below you will find some great recipes provided by Akis Petretzikis in his website so this year, you can make your own Christmas sweets!

Greek Honey Cookies (Melomakarona)


For the syrup

  • 500 gr. water
  • 800 gr. crystal sugar
  • 150 gr. honey
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 orange, cut in half
Melomakarona |

Melomakarona |

Mixture 1

  • 400 gr. orange juice
  • 400 gr. seed oil
  • 180 gr. olive oil
  • 50 gr. icing sugar
  • ½ teaspoon clove
  • 2-3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Orange zest (from 2 oranges)

Mixture 2

  • 1 kg. all-purpose flour
  • 200 gr. fine semolina

To serve

  • Honey
  • Walnuts

Execution of the recipe

For the syrup

Boil all the ingredients for the syrup, except for the honey.

Note that we should begin with the syrup 3-4 hours before starting making the melomakarona so as to have the time to cool down until the melomakarona come out of the oven.

Once the syrup has come to the boil and the sugar is melted, remove it from the heat and add the honey. Mix it altogether and let the syrup cool down.

For the melomakarona

Preheat the oven to 190oC (fan mode).

Add all the ingredients of mixture 1 into a large bowl and mix it very well with a hand whisk.

In a second bowl, mix all the ingredients of mixture 2.

Add the mixture with the liquid ingredients into the mixture with the solid ones, mix gently with hands for a very short time (maximum 10 seconds) so as the mixture will not split or curdle.   

Mold the melomakarona in a uniform oval shape (3-4 cm diameter, 30 gr. each one) and bake for about 20-25 minutes until they get crunchy and nicely colored. 

As soon as they are ready, soak the melomakarona into the cold syrup for about 10-15 seconds. Then let them drain and drizzle them with honey and walnuts.

Greek Almond Snowballs (Kourabiedes)

Kourabiedes |

Kourabiedes |


  • 500 gr. butter, at room temperature
  • 220 gr. icing sugar
  • 1 gr. vanilla powder
  • 1 teaspoon rosewater
  • 30 gr. bitter almond liqueur or brandy or rum
  • 200-280 gr. almond slivers or coarsely chopped, unsalted and toasted
  • 900 gr. all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch salt

For the compound

  • 1 teaspoon rosewater
  • 300 gr. icing sugar


Execution of the recipe

Preheat the oven to 180oC (fan mode).

In the mixer bowl, add the butter, the icing sugar and mix them at high speed for 10-15 minutes with the paddle as long as the mixture gets fluffy and white.

Add the vanilla powder, the rosewater, the bitter almond liqueur and keep mixing them. Remove the bowl from the mixer.

Break down the almond with your hands until you crumble it and then put it into a bowl. Add the flour, the salt and then put them all in the mixer bowl.

Mix the mixture with a serving spoon, very gently so that it does not lose its volume. Once the ingredients are homogenized, mix with hands. 

Shape balls of 30 gr. each and transfer them to a baking sheet with parchment paper. Press softly on the center of each ball with your finger and bake them for 20-25 minutes.

Follow the same process for the whole mixture. Remove and let them cool down.

Put a layer of kourabiedes in a serving dish, spray them with rosewater and sprinkle with icing sugar.


Success is guaranteed!

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!