Grandma Jennie’s Cheoreg
1 pkg dried yeast (place in 1/4 c. warm water with a bit of sugar)
1 c. milk
1 tsp. to 1 tbsp freshly ground mahlab (available at Armenian grocery stores) - Marash Girl uses 1 tbsp.
1/2 Tbsp black caraway seed optional - Sev Goondoug available at Armenian/Middle Eastern grocery stores.
1/3 c sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 c butter, melted
5 c flour
2 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten (to wipe on top of shaped cheoreg before dipping in sesame seed.)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees fahrenheit. While oven is heating,
mix dough ingredients together with large heavy spoon. Dough should NOT be stiff, but rather fairly loose in order to achieve a soft cheoreg, the way Grandpa Peter liked it. Set aside the dough to rise in a covered glass bowl, away from drafts. When dough is doubled in size, punch down. Take the equivalent of a half cup of dough, roll into 6 or 7 inch strip, circle strip around itself (snail-like) to make a circular roll.
Place this roll in the palm of your hand, dip top of roll into egg mixture, then into flat dish in which you have placed sesame seeds. (This system gives a delicious thick layer of sesame seeds, not just sprinkles, and saves the trouble of brushing on the egg, then scattering on the sesame seeds. It was Grandma Jennie's very own secret.) Place plain side of roll on greased baking tray, leaving room for cheoreg to rise (about 1 inch between rolls). Dough will have risen enough by the time you finish shaping rolls to bake on greased tray in preheated oven for 15 minutes.
Recording this recipe in memory of Marash Girl's mother, Jennie Vartanian Bilezikian and the family visits to her Uncle Joe (Grandma Yester's Brother Yusuf) & Auntie Mogie Bosnian (Ruthie and Didick's mom). Auntie Mogie always welcomed us with cheoreg in her oven and baking when we arrived, ready to take out and serve us piping hot.