Thursday, December 3, 2009

An Armenian Christmas Cookie Recipe



As I was flipping through the pages of an old Kalajian-family cookbook, a yellowed, slightly tattered piece of paper dropped to the floor.

When I picked it up, I realized it was a newspaper clipping - obviously from an Armenian-American newspaper. Don’t know which one, or when it was printed.

Apparently my mother-in-law saved this for a long time. She might have made the recipe, but I don’t know for sure. It certainly sounded good!

The recipe, which was submitted to the paper by Ms. Irene Guregian, of Chelmsford, Massachusetts, is called “Apricot Crescent Cookies” (Dziranamahig).

Doug discovered that Ms. Guregian still resides in Chelmsford, and with the click of his mouse was able to find her phone number. I called, and had a nice conversation with her daughter Karen. Unfortunately Ms.
Guregian isn’t well, and did not recall which paper printed her recipe, but did remember that she created the recipe herself, and Karen confirmed that they are, indeed, delicious.

With Christmas just a few weeks away, I figured I'd better get a head-start on trying out this recipe. I altered it a bit, as noted below, and decided that these Apricot Crescent cookies really are delicious!

Apricot Crescent Cookies

Ingredients:
2 cups sifted flour
½ lb. butter or margarine
1 egg yolk
¾ cup sour cream
¾ cup chopped walnuts ( pecans work well in this, too)
One jar apricot preserves

Directions:
Cut butter into flour, using fingertips. Add yolk and sour cream. Mix well. Dough should be sticky. Shape into ball and sprinkle with flour.
Wrap in waxed paper and chill several hours. Divide dough into 3 parts.
Roll each section out to a large circle like a pie shell. Cut, as you would a pie wedge, into 12 sections or less. Mix nuts into apricot preserves.
Place heaping teaspoon into large section and start rolling toward small point to make crescent-shape (using fingers) as you place on (ungreased) cookie sheet. Bake in 350° oven 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.

Yield: approximately 3 dozen.

For the record: The procedure I used to make this varied a bit. Here are the changes I made:
1. I used a pastry blender instead of my fingers.
2. After making the dough, I separated it into 3 equal balls, wrapped them individually, then refrigerated as directed. I kept the other balls of dough in the refrigerator until I was ready to use them.
3. After rolling each ball into a 12 inch circle, I spread 1/3 of a 10-ounce jar of apricot preserves on the surface of the dough.
4. Then I sprinkled about 2 or 3 Tbsp. of chopped pecans over the apricot.
5. I used a pizza wheel to cut the dough into 12 wedges. The wheel made this so easy! After that I prepared the recipe  as directed.
6. Be sure to cool the cookies on a wire rack. Store in a container with a tight fitting lid.

7 comments:

  1. I'm almost embarassed to post this.

    My mom made similar cookies but with a few shortcuts. She used that frozen croissant dough that comes in a cylindrical container (Bisquick? forgot the brand). Then she made a zaatar filling by combining the zaatar (pick your favorite mix or make your own) and olive oil. She brushed the filling on the cookies, rolled them up, and stuck them in the oven following the box directions. Presto! Zaatar crescent cookies for breakfast.

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  2. But Ms. Guregian's cookies definitely sound better! Don't tell my mom, though! LOL

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  3. The zaatar variety sounds really good, too, although not sweet like the apricot ones. I'll definitely give those a try. Thanks for the recipe, and don't be embarrassed, we all take culinary shortcuts! By the way, the commercially prepared dough you refer to is Pillsbury.

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  4. Another really good variation is nutells spread on the dough...

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  5. I don’t understand “roll the dough across”- do we roll it up like a jelly roll or fold it in half? I just want to make sure.

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  6. If I am understanding your question, once the dough is rolled into a 12"circle, the apricot preserves are brush onto the surface, then nuts are sprinkled on top of that. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut dough into 12 pie-shaped slices. Begin rolling at the wide end of the slice toward the pointed end. Slightly turn the ends downward to create a crescent shape as shown in the photo above. I hope this helps!

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