I am unaware of the exact origin of this pastry; however, since I saw it mentioned in two Armenian cookbooks, it is probably Armenian. The dough is very similar in texture to rugelach dough, and is very simple to make (only flour, butter and cream); it is a bit fragile to handle (sprinkle it with flour if it sticks) but morphs into tender and flaky cookies with the delightful sweet discovery of a lukum ( raha) inside.
NOTE: The longer the cookies bake, the crispier the dough gets. If you like your dough on the soft side, remove them from the oven when their color is light golden. I made the dough the day before, wrapped it in foil and placed it in the fridge. When I was ready to roll I pulled it out 45 minutes ahead.
INGREDIENTS: 20 cookies
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 6 ounces unsalted butter softened at room temperature
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (more or less as needed), mixed with one teaspoon of baking powder
- 1/cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on the cookies if desired)
- 12 Lokum or Turkish Delights, cut in half (any flavor, as desired)
1. Place the cream and butter in a mixer bowl and combine well for a couple of minutes. Add the flour (mixed with the baking powder) gradually, until the dough is no longer sticky and form a firm but moist ball. Keep in mind that the less flour you add, the flakier the cookies will be.
2. Wrap the dough in plastic and place in the fridge for one hour or overnight. To save time, divide the dough into 3 parts and wrap separately; each part will be rolled one at a time. Roll the ball of dough between sheets of wax paper (sprinkled with flour as well) into a large circle, about 9 inches wide. Use a pie pan or cake pan over the dough pressing on it to demarcate the borders and cut it into a clean circle if desired. Score the circle into a cross first, then each quarter in half to form triangles. Place at the edge of each triangle a small piece of lokum and roll up into a crescent shape; place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
3. Bake in a preheated 350F oven for about 20 minutes or until the crescents are golden. Bake a couple of minutes longer if you like them extra-crispy. Cool the cookies and when ready to serve, sprinkle them with powdered sugar.
NOTE: The only tricky part to this recipe is making sure the size of the lukum is not too big for the triangle of dough; if it is, it will probably ooze out during baking; another pitfall is to make sure the crescent is tightly sealed prior to inserting it into the hot oven.