It’s Zadigi Kahke (Easter Cookie) Time!

When Armenians prepare for Easter, chorag is always on the menu. But, this is also 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.

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Zadigi Kahke- an Armenian Easter cookie

A tasty Easter cookie that can be chewy or crispy depending on the size and shape you create. Recipe is from Aline Kamakian's and Barbara Drieskens' cookbook, ‘Armenian Cuisine’.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting time 2 hours
Total Time 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings 50 cookies

Equipment

  • Stand mixer with paddle attachment or a hand mixer.

Ingredients

  • 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
  • cups sugar
  • 1 cup milk a bit warm
  • 1 tsp. mahlab freshly ground
  • tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp. yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

View Comments

  • 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 !!!

  • 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.

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

    • These are really good, Krikor. I don't know where, if at all, these could be purchased. But you know where the recipe is!

  • Is it necessary to put the shortening? Otherwise, I have all the remaining ingredients at home.
    The designs are beautiful!

  • OMG , Please, reassess the cumin seeds in this recipe! That can NOT be correct!
    Perhaps you meant to write Nigella seeds which is commonly used alongside with the Sessame seeds in Armenian baked goods.
    Cumin seeds are savory and strongly used in Indian curry dishes. Not meant in sweet desserts.
    Otherwise, this is a good recipe.

    • Thanks for writing, Suzy. Just to clear things up, another name for black cumin seeds is nigella seeds. I've updated the recipe to indicate that. Only a small amount is used as a garnishing option, so all should be good. Enjoy!

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