Nazouk with 3 fragrances

Nazuk, nazook… so nazouk in French ? They are buttery vanilla flavored Armenian biscuits.

The Daring Bakers’ April 2012 challenge, hosted by Jason at Daily Candor, were two Armenian standards: nazook and nutmeg cake. Nazook is a layered yeasted dough pastry with a sweet filling, and nutmeg cake is a fragrant, nutty coffee-style cake.

More about it here.

I had never cooked anything Armenian, so that’s an interesting culinary trip.

I have not followed totally the given recipe as I have used ingredients I had to “cook or lose” in my fridge : vege cream and coconut butter for the pastry. And I have brushed with yogurt. Then you see that my technique is less expert than the Armenian aunt in the video. That’s my first try.

Filling 1 : butter and vanilla
Filling 2 : coconut butter and coconut flakes
Filling 3 : Butter and cinnamon

They are all delicious with coffee. I expected something softer like sweet bread, but they are more like cookie. They are very close to some kinds of vanilla bredele, Alsatian Christmas cookies.

Recipe from the challenge :

Nazook

Yields 40 pieces
Video instructions by aunt Aida

Ingredients
Pastry dough
3 cups (720 ml) (420 gm/15 oz) all-purpose (plain) flour, sifted
2½ teaspoons (12½ ml) (7 gm) (¼ oz) (1 packet) active dry yeast
1 cup (240 ml) (225 gm/8 oz) sour cream
1 cup (2 sticks) (240 ml) (225 gm/8 oz) softened butter (room temperature)

Filling
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) (210 gm) (7½ oz) all-purpose (plain) flour, sifted
1 1/2 cups (360 ml) (340 gm/12 oz) sugar
3/4 cup (1½ sticks) (180 ml) (170 gm/6 oz) softened butter (room temperature)
2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract

Wash
1-2 egg yolks (for the wash; alternatively, some yogurt, egg whites, or a whole egg)

Directions:

Make the Pastry Dough
1. Place the sifted flour into a large bowl.
2. Add the dry yeast, and mix it in.
3. Add the sour cream, and the softened butter.
4. Use your hands, or a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, to work it into a dough.
5. If using a standing mixer, switch to a dough hook. If making manually, continue to knead for about 10 minutes, or until the dough no longer sticks to the bowl or your hands. If it remains very sticky, add some flour, a little at a time.
6. Cover the dough and refrigerate for 3-5 hours, or overnight if you like.

Make the filling
7. Mix the flour, sugar, and the softened butter in a medium bowl.
8. Add the vanilla extract.
9. Mix the filling until it looks like clumpy, damp sand. It should not take long. Set aside.

Make the nazook
10. Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F/175°C/gas mark 4.
11. Cut the refrigerated dough into quarters.
12. Form one of the quarters into a ball. Dust your working surface with a little flour.
13. Roll out the dough into a large rectangle or oval. The dough should be thin, but not
transparent.

14. Spread 1/4 of the filling mixture across the rolled-out dough in an even layer. Try to spread the filling as close as possible to the edges on the short sides, but keep some of pastry dough uncovered (1 inch/2.5 cm) along the long edges.
15. From one of the long sides, start slowly rolling the dough across. Be careful to make sure the filling stays evenly distributed. Roll all the way across until you have a long, thin loaf.

16. Pat down the loaf with your palm and fingers so that it flattens out a bit (just a bit).
17. Apply your egg yolk wash with a pastry brush.

18. Use your crinkle cutter (or knife) to cut the loaf into 10 equally-sized pieces. Put onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

19. Place in a preheated moderate oven for about 30 minutes, until the tops are a rich, golden brown.

20. Allow to cool and enjoy!

Ideas for a Sweet Xmas – Gâteaux de Noël


(Osaka cake)

You probably think I’m big fan of Christmas. Actually, I couldn’t care less, it’s only the bottom of the year, the time with the shortest days. What I really like is there are so many Christmas food, particularly sweets, from so many places.
It’s fun to try to make them.

Snow-flake

Kurisumasu keeki 2012

charlotte kurisumasu keeki

rose cranberry panettone

Easy Yule logs :


bûche forêt noire


bûche aux marrons glacés

The tradition of Provence with the 13 desserts :

13 retro desserts

honey walnut iced nougat

These cakes are not only for this occasion, but many like to invite them :

snow flake cake


Marquises au chocolat


Gâteau Mont-Blanc antillais (coconut layered cake)

With the coffee, you need many mignardises :


Schwowebredele (the traditional Xmas cookie of Alsace, make them in many shapes and flavor)

black sugar nonnettes (yeast)
Mandarin orange nonnettes (baking powder)

Biscotti de Noël


Truffes au chocolat


Calissons


Pâtes de fruit


Pralines au chocolat

Hot wine revisited :


jelly spiced wine pears

lait de poule (French eggnog)

This is what we have in Japan :


kurisumasu ke-ki (how to bake a Japanese Xmas cake)


Ichigo daifuku mochi (Winter wagashi)


kuri kinton (marron sweet)

Over the world :


Bibingka (Philippines)


Povitica (Slovenia)

home-made mandarin Stollen (Germany)


Chionoules or snowballs (Greece)

*************************************

I have not made these two, I’ve just received them. The white is of course a German Stollen.

Berawecka (Alsacian “pear bread”, fruit cake). I’m very serious. It’s very healthy. It’s mostly made of fruit like those “health fruit bars” I see on many health blogs.

I had to check the quality. You want to know ? Of course, that’s totally decadent and not healthy at all. Mmmmm… Well, I’ll try to keep some for Christmas.

The stars of the schwowe (-bredele)

When Schowebredele Christmas season cookies start falling from the trees…

All Alsatian chrissy sweets are bredele, bredela, bredeli, bredelo, bredelu…well maybe not bredelu. This type of nutty sablés are schwowebredele.

On peut en faire de tres differents sur la meme base en changeant les noix et
parfums.
Pour le glacage, qui est facultatif : sucre glace + jus de citron +
colorant, sucre glace + alcool + colorant, ou chocolat + beurre

Biscuits de Noël
(Schwowe-bredele )

300 g farine
100 g poudre d’amandes (ou de noix, de noisettes, de noix de cajou…)
5 g levure chimique
100 g sucre en poudre
1 oeuf oeuf
100 g beurre (mou)

Parfums (3 exemples) :
1 : cacao en poudre et cannelle
2 : zeste de citron et vanille
3 : eau de fleur d’oranger et extrait d’amandes

Mélanger la farine, la poudre, la levure, le sucre. Ajouter l’oeuf et
le beurre. Ajouter les parfums choisis. Former une pâte avec les
mains. Couvrir.
Mettre une heure au frigo.
Etaler sur 2 millimètres. Découper des formes.
Cuire au four 10 minutes à 180 degrés

Etoiles. Vanilla and lemon.

Sapins. Orange blossom and almond.

Baking is a sure way to travel in times and places… That puts me at the age of 8, in the North-East of France, helping the grandmas. Every year, they tried the impossible challenge of filling all their huge cookie tins a while before Christmas. Due to some hidden holes in the bottom of the boxes, they never stayed full and some new batches had to be baked in the last busy days…