Pastry Chef Alexandra Artinian shares her recipe for simit (also known as sesame twists), a traditional, not-too-sweet Armenian cookie that’s practically made for dunking into a warm cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate. “These are cookies I grew up eating and it was always a treat when my grandma or aunt would pull out the Tupperware full of them,” Artinian says. The recipe calls for mahlab, a Middle Eastern spice made from grinding the seeds of St. Lucie cherries, but don’t let that intimidate you—you should be able to find it at a local specialty market (try the ones in Watertown).
- 4 cups flour
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon mahlab
- 5 teaspoons sugar
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 cup warm water
- Egg wash (1 egg, water, pinch of salt)
- Mix together dry ingredients and whisk.
- Add wet ingredients and knead well.
- Let stand for 1/2 hour.
- Divide the dough into 32 small balls.
- Roll the balls into ropes or sticks and lay flat.
- Brush egg wash onto the cookies.
- Sprinkle with white and/or black sesame seeds.
- Bake at 350 degrees or 375 degrees until golden.