When Armenians prepare for Easter, chorag is always on the menu. But, this is also a time for baking Easter cookies (Zadigi Kahke). To be honest, I’d never made these before, but decided the time was right, especially since I’d seen a recipe for it in my copy of Aline Kamakian’s and Barbara Drieskens’ cookbook, ‘Armenian Cuisine’.
Before I began, I emailed Barbara because I had a question about the amount of flour listed – it just didn’t sound like enough. (It’s helpful that their email addresses are in the cookbook for such instances!)
I’m 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 my question answered, and with the authors’ permission to post this recipe, I got busy in the kitchen.
Here is the updated version of the Zadigi Kahke recipe.
Zadigi Kahke- an Armenian Easter cookie
- Stand mixer with paddle attachment or a hand mixer.
- 6 cups flour (sifted)
- 2 cups farina (sifted)
- 1 cup butter (melted)
- ½ cup sunflower oil (safflower oil may be substituted)
- ½ cup all vegetable shortening (melted)
- 1½ cups sugar
- 1 cup milk (a bit warm)
- 1 tsp. mahlab (freshly ground)
- 1½ tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1 Tbsp. yeast
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1½ tsp. ground cloves
- 1 pinch salt
Glaze and Garnish Ingredients:
- 1 egg
- 2 Tbsp. milk
- 1 Tbsp. raw sesame seeds
- 1 Tbsp. black cumin seeds (aka nigella seeds)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, blend together 1 ½ cups of the flour, ½ cup of the farina, and the rest of the cookie ingredients. Little by little, add the remaining flour and farina. Knead by hand until a workable dough is achieved.
- Roll the dough into balls and place them in a large bowl. Cover with parchment paper and a soft, clean towel. Let the dough rest for two hours.
- Roll the balls of dough into fine sausage shapes that can be formed into twists, twisted rings, or braids. Place each shaped piece on parchment-lined baking pans.
- Brush the tops with egg glaze, made by whisking equal amounts of egg and milk. Garnish with a sprinkling of sesame seeds or black cumin (nigella) seeds, or a combination of the two.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake until cookies are golden brown.