Monday, October 25, 2010

Matzoon Cookies

I know what you're thinking.  "What the Hell is 'Matzoon'?"  Well matzoon is simply the Armenian word for yogurt, and as I've mentioned in the past, yogurt is very Armenian.  We not only invented it and make it regularly, but we use it in a lot of things.  Cookies are no exception.  I attended Armenian school once a week from a very young age until high school, and in my early years one of the activities we would do at school included making these matzoon cookies.  I know you think I should stop being a brat and just call them yogurt cookies, but I'm not going to do that.  They're matzoon cookies, and that's all there is to it :) Lightly sweet, with a fluffy and cakey interior, yum!

Ever since we were young, my sister and I always loved these cookies, and I decided after many years on the bench it was time to break them out again, this time as a treat for my ADORABLE nephew Alex's 2nd birthday party (which was TOTALLY Bob the Builder-themed in case you were wondering).  I figure you're never too young to try your very first matzoon cookie!  I have revamped the original recipe and completely changed the method of prep, because let's just say, the method of prep in the original would make any baker shed tears of disappointment.  It was pathetic, and definitely not the way cookies should be made.  Here is my version of this classic and delicious Armenian cookie! P.S. Alex LOVED them :)

Matzoon Cookies
Makes 75 (about 6 dozen)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
5 eggs, beaten, at room temperature
1 cup yogurt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
1 T. plus 2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixer at medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs a little at a time, until well-combined. Add the yogurt and vanilla extract and beat until well combined. Scrape the bowl and beat again to make sure everything is well incorporated. Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl, and with the mixer at low speed, slowly add the dry mixture and mix until just combined, but do not overmix. Fold in the chopped walnuts. Using a small ice-cream scoop (1 1/2 inches in diameter), portion out level scoops of cookie dough onto parchment-lined half-sheet pans, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake in batches for 18 minutes, or until golden brown, switching pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through. Cool and serve.

**Note** 15 cookies can comfortably fit on each half-sheet pan, requiring exactly 5 pans if all the dough is portioned at once. Otherwise, portion and bake cookies in batches and then use the cooled pans to portion and bake more of the dough.  If you wanted to make less cookies, and you consider yourself a mathematician, you can divide the recipe into fifths (since there are 5 eggs, 5 cups of flour, and it fits on 5 sheet pans) and make less cookies if you'd like, but I can imagine the measurements would be a little unusual.


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