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Spicy Baked Syrup cakes
40 servings

1 1/2 cups honey
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 tablespoons lemon juice
1 lb walnuts, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups butter, softened
4 tsp cinnamon (or more)
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
juice from 2 oranges, strained
2 Tbs cognac or brandy
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
6 cups flour or more
2 oz walnuts, finely chopped

Combine the honey, granulated sugar, water, and lemon juice in a
saucepan and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Combine
the 1 pound finely chopped walnuts with 1/4 cup of the softened
butter, 2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, and 5 tablespoons of the syrup.
Reserve the remaining syrup and set the filling aside while you
prepare the dough. Using an electric mixer, cream the remaining
butter (1 cup) with the oil until light and fluffy. Gradually add
the confectioners' sugar, beating on medium speed. Add the orange
juice slowly to the batter, along with the Cognac or brandy, 1
teaspoon of the cinnamon, and the other spices.

In a small bowl, sift the baking powder, soda, and 2 cups of the
flour together. Slowly add the flour mixture to the batter and beat
for a few minutes. Continuing to mix by hand, add only enough
remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead. Break off small pieces
of the dough and shape with your fingers into oblongs about
2-1/2-inches long and 1-inch high. Flatten between your palms and
place 1 teaspoon of the filling mixture in the center. Work the
dough around the filling to enclose it completely and press firmly
to seal. This procedure sounds difficult, but with many hands it
is quite simple. Place on a cookie sheet and continue until all
the cakes are shaped. Bake in a moderate oven (350 F) for 25
minutes, then cool on a rack. Bring the syrup back to a boil. Dip
each cake into the syrup and arrange on a platter. Sprinkle with
the remaining chopped walnuts and teaspoon cinnamon, or more if
desired. Cool before storing.

Note: You may bake and cool melomakarona, store a few days in
advance and dip in syrup as described above a day or so before
serving. The flavor improves after a few days.


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