WILLIMANTIC, CT — This treasured family recipe for Shahka Lokhmahs (sugar cookies) from Ruth Hartunian-Alumbaugh is featured at the Armenian Museum of America website. It is a recipe her beloved grandmother and mother made for many years. Now, Ruth makes it frequently as it brings back fond memories of working in the kitchen with her mother.
“Baking with my ‘menz mama’ as well as ‘menz hireek’ were special opportunities to not only learn but the exercise patience. Many of the things we made were very time-consuming and could often take a whole day. Think delicious, flaky baklava from scratch including the dough, syrup, chopping nuts by hand, and assembling the dough, each sheet slathered with clarified butter. It would take a full day to make two ‘tapsees’ (9X13 baking pans) of this treasured concoction,” remembers Ruth.
“My creative and talented grandfather was a baker in Beirut who brought some of his pans to Wisconsin where my parents eventually settled. His baking style would include preparing for a full day’s worth of baking. Making pita bread and other breads from scratch were his specialties.”
“It seems that many cultures share a similar type of recipe with similar ingredients for these buttery cookies (Shahka Lokhmahs). This one is a melt-in-your-mouth delight,” she adds. “The recipe makes about ten dozen — plenty to share (or keep for yourself). If you don’t want to make them all at once, you can keep the dough in the refrigerator. Bring it to room temperature before you roll it out and bake it. This is a time-honored recipe in our family, and a no-fail baking endeavor,” she says.