Dish 9: Kurabia

Armenia

Over the summer, I may or may not have been a little hooked on Keeping Up with the Kardashians, and its offshoot, Kourtney and Khloe Take Miami. For those of you that don’t watch much Reality TV, these shows feature quite the family. A quote from the homepage of the show on eonline.com describes the show: ‘A tempest of siblings, business and fame engulf Olympic decathlete Bruce Jenner and paparazzi fave Kim Kardashian as their huge Hollywood families collide.’ Where am I going with this? My inspiration for this month’s dish came due in part to the Kardashian’s Armenian background.

Armenia, located in southwestern Asia east of Turkey, is slightly smaller than the state of Maryland. They pride themselves on being the first nation to formally adopt Christianity in the early 4th century.

FUN FACT: In my research on the background of the country, I came across an interesting tidbit. According to the Bible (Gen. 8:4), Armenia surrounds the Biblical mountains of Ararat, which is the final resting place of Noah’s Ark after the flood.

I found the recipe for Kurabia (shortbread cookies) from The Armenian Table, written by Victoria Jenanyan Wise, at the Iowa City Public Library. I was having a sweet tooth moment, and just so happened to have all of the ingredients on hand in my kitchen, so Kurabia was a perfect fit.

Traditionally made around Christmas, Kurabia tasted similar to a sugar cookie with butter, sugar, and flour being the main ingredients. The dough was rolled into walnut-sized balls and then smashed down in the middle to make room for a dollop of filling consisting of egg white, sugar, chopped walnuts and cinnamon.

The author gave many variations to use for the filling of this cookie dependent on what types of flavors you were going for. The egg white, sugar, walnut and cinnamon filling I used had a foamy consistency and a delicious caramel-walnut flavor after baking.

I’m giving this quick and easy Armenian recipe a big thumbs up, and am adding it to my list of cookies to make for Christmas. — Did I mention the recipe says these cookies will stay good up to 2 weeks in an airtight container?!

Natalie Nielsen, International Food Blogger

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