I love desserts. Really. I grew up in a house where Thanksgiving was not about turkey. We did the all-dessert Thanksgiving. So this month's Daring Baker's challenge was one which sounded really cool.
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.
Before this challenge I knew nothing about Armenian food. Now, while I don't know much, I know that I might have a new favorite kind of dessert! I was concerned at first, because Passover fell right during this challenge. Neither of these amazing recipes were ones which would adapt well... I was confident that I would get one made in time, but not sure about both.
I started with the nutmeg cake. I had a playdate scheduled for the day before we flew to Florida for Passover. With extra mouths around, I figured it was the perfect opportunity. The recipe, as the name gives away, calls for a good deal of nutmeg. While I like nutmeg, I wasn't sure I liked it a full cake's worth. So I used some nutmeg and some cinnamon. I also topped the cake with cinnamon sugar (from my awesomely fun grinder...!) instead of the walnuts called for. I didn't have walnuts at home, and wasn't about to go get some right before leaving!
The cake smelled amazing as it baked. Like, so super good that we were all a bit disappointed that we would have to wait for the following day to taste it. But man was it worth the wait!! I absolutely loved the bottom "cookie" layer, and the nutmeg and cinnamon made the flavor just so warm. This is absolutely a cake I will be making again. And even if you don't consider yourself to be a Daring Baker, please try this. It is pretty easy, and definitely delicious!
As for the nazook. I really wanted to make it. So I did. The dough came together beautifully. I used Greek yogurt instead of the sour cream called for in the recipe, but I don't think that made a difference. It was silky, smooth and easy to work with. So easy that Little Girl had fun rolling it out. I made the traditional vanilla filling according to the recipe, but added cinnamon after the first two rolls were done. I think my filling was a bit too wet, but that might be because I used margarine instead of butter. Or just because that's the way things go sometimes...! Either way, the rolls looked nice before going into the oven, so I was pleased. Coming out of the oven? Well, they smelled amazing, and the taste was fabulous. But my rolls kind of exploded during baking. It was a yeast dough, so rising accounts for some of it. But wow...!
Jason, thank you so much for introducing me, and all of us, to these Armenian delicacies! I can honestly say that you opened my eyes to something special, and I am truly grateful! Please do yourself a favor and check out the amazing creations of my fellow Daring Bakers!
Can't wait to see next month's challenge... I'll give you a hint - the host is someone you might have heard of before...! :)