If you haven’t tried Armenian desserts, you’re in for a treat!
While not as popular in the U.S. or the U.K. as some other Asian cuisines – Chinese, Japanese, or Indian, for example – Armenian food, and Armenian desserts, in particular, are delicious.
These desserts are traditionally sweeter and look and taste more like something you’d find in American bakeries than Chinese or Japanese desserts do.
The recipes often include fruits, nuts, and spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or cloves, and many of the most popular desserts have influences from Russian or Turkish cuisine.
In short, Armenian desserts walk the line between traditional Middle Eastern cuisine and what Americans would consider “normal American sweets.”
If you’re a fan of Asian desserts but prefer your sweets less natural and more sugary, then Armenian desserts are probably right for you.
1. Armenian Gata
This gorgeous, intricate dessert looks like it would take hours to make, and if you include rise time, it does take about 2 and a half hours.
However, it only takes 30 minutes to prepare and another 30 to cook, so it’s not nearly as difficult to make as you might imagine.
It’s somewhere between bread and cake but is softer and tastier than either.
The outside of the gata is lightly sweetened with honey, sugar, and vanilla, but the filling is where it really gets good.
The filling is so tasty, in fact, that you’ll never believe it’s made from only five simple ingredients – butter, sugar, flour, salt, and walnuts.
It’s buttery, nutty, and unbelievably sweet.
If you’re looking for the perfect dessert to serve with tea or coffee, Armenian gata is it.
2. Armenian Baklava (Pahklava)
If you’re familiar with baklava, then the yumminess of Armenian baklava will come as no surprise to you.
It features the same thin, flaky phyllo dough and the same nutty, spicy filling.
The main difference between Armenian and Turkish baklava is the syrup.
While you’ll use some of the same ingredients for both – water, sugar, and lemon juice – for Armenian baklava, you’ll also add cloves and lime juice.
It gives it a zestier, spicier taste.
3. Armenian Nutmeg Cake
The first time I made this simple Armenian cake, my family was hesitant to try it.
They said it looked like “burned cornbread with nuts on top.” The description was somewhat accurate.
Ultimately, the wonderful smell of the cake was what won them over.
It smells so fantastically of nutmeg and brown sugar that you can’t help but want to try it.
One bite was all it took for them to realize they were wrong. This spicy, nutty, oh-so-sweet cake may be simplistic, but it lacks nothing in flavor.
Between its warm, rich taste and that delightful aroma, it quickly became a new favorite in my household.
This perfectly golden-brown pastry is popular in both Armenia and Russia.
It’s sweet but not too sweet, and the texture is wonderfully soft on the inside with a bit of crunch from the dough.
In most ways, it’s a lot like gata, and some people even use the two terms interchangeably when talking about both desserts.
Both are sweet, buttery, and nutty. The main difference is usually the way they look.
Gata is larger and more decorative, while nazook is individual pastry-sized.
5. Cranberry Citrus Nazook
This citrusy treat has the same great shape, texture, and sweetness as the traditional nazook above.
However, these pastries also include cinnamon sugar and dried cranberries.
They’re sweetly tart and delectable. (If you don’t like cranberries, you can use raisins or craisins instead.)
6. Matzoon Cookies
Matzoon cookies are thick, fluffy, and full of flavor. Plus, you can make nearly three dozen of them in only 40 minutes with ten everyday pantry staples.
If you’re the kind of person who enjoys eating just the tops of your muffins, then these are the cookies for you because that’s almost what they are — muffin tops.
They’re lightly sweet, nutty, and wonderfully chewy. I highly recommend them to anyone.
7. Armenian Apple Chunk Cake
Wouldn’t you love to be able to make the perfect apple cake for fall with 10 simple ingredients, one bowl, and one whisk?
With Armenian apple chunk cake, you can!
All you’ll need are three gala apples, sugar, flour, oil, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, eggs, walnuts, and vanilla.
Your kitchen will smell phenomenal while this is baking, and the dense texture and robust apple cinnamon taste are even more impressive.
8. Kourabia (Armenian Shortbread Cookie)
Kourabia look a lot like raw donuts!
Despite their appearance, though, they are mouth-wateringly good. They’re soft and crumbly, and they’re supremely buttery in the best way.
If their extraordinary softness and flavor aren’t enough, you’ll also love how easy they are to make.
They require only four ingredients – clarified butter, sugar, white flour, and blanched almonds.
9. Rice Pudding
Rice pudding is pretty much the same no matter where in the world you make it. It’s warm, creamy, and feels like home.
All you’ll need for this particular recipe is rice, water, whole milk, sugar, and cinnamon.
It’s no trouble to make, but it does take some time – a little over 3 hours, in fact.
So don’t worry about how difficult making it will be; it won’t be.
However, don’t wait until the last minute to make it, either. You’ll be sorely disappointed.
10. Honey Spice Cookies
I’m ending this list with one of my all-time favorite Armenian (and Russian) desserts, and before you look at the 380 minute total time on the recipe and run away, wait!
Most of that time – 4 hours of it – is simply setting the dough aside to let it rest.
These traditional Russian cookies are just as easy to make as everything else on this list.
And they’re so incredibly heavenly!
You’ll make them with traditional baking ingredients, but you’ll also add coffee, honey, nutmeg, vanilla, star anise, allspice, and more.
Biting into one of these will set off a flavor explosion on your tongue. Plus, the texture is fantastic.
The cookies themselves are soft and wonderful, but the glaze adds a nice crunchiness, as well.
Trust me when I say these will be your new favorite holiday cookies.
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