Thursday, April 5, 2012

It's Zadigi Kahke (Easter Cookie) Time!

Zadigi Kahke (Easter Cookies)
When I posted Hermine Kabbenjian’s request for Zadig Kahke in January, I included – with permission from authors Aline Kamakian and Barbara Drieskens - the recipe from their cookbook, ‘Armenian Cuisine’. I hadn’t made the cookies at that point, but decided now (Holy Week) was the time to try. Before I did, however, I emailed Barbara because I had a few questions about two of the ingredients (it’s great that their email addresses are in the cookbook!). I’m so glad I wrote, because Barbara informed me that there was an error in the printed recipe – the cookbook said to use 2 and 2/3 cups flour, when in fact, it should be 6 cups of flour. With this correction, and my questions answered, I got busy in the kitchen.

Here is the corrected version of the Zadigi Kahke recipe. Below it you’ll find my notes and final evaluation.

Zadigi Kahke (from the cookbook “Armenian Cuisine”)
Yield: About 50 cookies

Cookie Ingredients:
6 cups flour, sifted
2 cups farina, sifted
1 cup butter, melted
½ cup sunflower oil
½ cup vegetable shortening, melted
1 ½ cups sugar
1 cup lukewarm milk
1 tsp. ground mahlab
1 ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 Tbsp. dry granular yeast (1 packet)
1 egg
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 ½ tsp. ground cloves
A dash of salt

Glaze:
1 egg
2 Tbsp. milk

Garnish:
1 Tbsp. raw sesame seeds
1 Tbsp. black cumin

Directions:
1. Using a stand mixer, blend one fourth of the flour and farina with all of the other cookie ingredients. Mix until well-combined.

2. Gradually add the rest of the flour and farina. Knead the dough with your hands until it is smooth.
3. Divide the dough into several balls and place them in a large bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, then with a clean towel. Let dough rise for 2 hours.

4. Roll balls of dough into fine sausage-shapes that can be formed into twists, rings or braids.
5. Place shaped dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Brush with egg glaze made by mixing together one egg and 2 Tbsp. milk. Sprinkle tops with either sesame seeds or black cumin.

6. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven until cookies are golden, about 15 minutes or so.

Robyn’s Notes:
1. I almost followed the recipe exactly. Since I couldn’t find sunflower oil, I used safflower oil, a baking and cooking oil, instead. (Barbara felt it would work just fine, and it did.)

2. My dough did not rise at all. I’m not sure if that was because the yeast was stirred directly into the other ingredients rather than adding it to lukewarm liquid first.
3. The dough was greasy to the touch, so I had to knead a bit more flour into it.

4. After shaping some of the dough into ring shapes, I gave up. Instead, I took a ball of dough and pat it down on a lightly floured surface. Using a rolling pin, I rolled the dough into about a ¼ inch thick rectangular shape, then used a fluted roller to cut the dough into stick-shapes. I followed the baking direction from the recipe.

5. Since the original recipe did not mention how long to bake the cookies, I had to keep an eye on them. At 350°F, it took the cookies about 15 to 20 minutes to reach a nice, rich, golden color.

The Armenian Kitchen’s Evaluation: These are pretty darn good! I don’t know if my cookies turned out the way Aline’s do, but we like them – a lot! I also don’t know what the texture should be. The ring-shaped cookies came out softer; the stick-shaped ones, crispier, and I’m a fan of crispy.
If any of you decide to try this recipe, I’d love hear how yours turned out!

9 comments:

  1. I tried the recipe from the armenian cuisine cookbook, the quantity of flour was wrong,the dough was too watery,so i added a good quantity of flour and little bit of farina,anyway i left it for few hours and it didnt rise,and the dough was breaking,impossible to shape it! So i added water and kneed it again,and i gave the shapes,it turned out very yummy...but if somebody can make little bit more clear the procedure of this recipe ! Thx
    By the way what a luck that i have,,, i was searching for a new recipe in the internet and i found this site,saying thatthere was a mistakein the armenian cuisine book !!!

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  2. This recipe is 100% wrong. Don't waste your time.

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  3. Whoever posted this recipe should be ashamed of themselves. This recipe is so wrong and awful, I'm embarrassed I fell for it. I think it's a sick joke?

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  4. The dough is very dry, i added lots of water and impossible to make twists!! I don't understand what kind of recipe is this!

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  5. I am glad I read your comments that this recipe is bad. Greek Easter is this sunday and I was going to impress hubby that Armenian cookies are better than the Greek ones!

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  6. Are eggs missing from this recipe?

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  7. According to the cookbook authors, this recipe does not have eggs in the dough. But based on the difficulty in having the dough hold together, perhaps the addition of an egg or 2, wouldn't hurt! Robyn@thearmeniankitchen.com

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  8. I have not tried this recipe yet but from the proportions and the comments it sounds like the farina is breaking the consistency of the dough... both making it dry and not trapping the CO2 from the yeast. Farina will absorb a lot of the water used in the recipe. Maybe it needs to be partly soaked first.

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    1. An interesting observation! If you do try this recipe and first soak the farina, I would appreciated hearing your evaluation. Thanks!

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