We owe Dorie Greenspan a round of thanks. Not necessarily because she writes great cookbooks with fun and interesting recipes, but, because her Around My French Table was one of the first cookbooks we looked at when trying to find a recipe for cassoulet. Now, we’re not sure if there is a recipe for cassoulet in there, but there were definitely other recipes that we wanted to try. That’s what got us hooked, and made us want to start this blog. So, thanks, Dorie!
Another reason to thank Dorie is that this recipe for gozinaki comes from her latest book, Dorie’s Cookies, and we think it’s a winner. And, just so you know, gozinaki are a traditional Christmas and New Year’s treat from Georgia (not the US state of Georgia, the country). We did modify the technique for rolling these out to something we think is easier; plus, we give the weight of the honey, making measuring easy, too.
So, what about the cassoulet? We’ve never made one. We still want to; the name itself is enough to make us want to try it, but, now that we’ve gone several years since we first started looking, we haven’t got around to it.
We provide the weight of the honey because that’s the easiest way to measure sticky substances. Simply place the pan on a scale, tare (zero) the scale, and add honey until you have the right amount.
Oh, we did two batches back to back, so in the photos for the walnuts, you’ll see double the amount needed for a single batch of gozinaki.
Procedure in detail:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. At the same time, place a large (about 18 inches square) piece of parchment on a work surface and tear off another about the same size. You’ll use these two sheets when rolling out the gozinaki.
Toast walnuts. Place the walnuts on the prepared baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, stirring the nuts around occasionally, or until toasted.
Chop walnuts. Turn the walnuts out onto a large cutting board and chop the walnuts finely. Or at least until all the pieces are under 1/4 inch in size.
Boil honey. Measure the honey into a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, and place it over medium heat. Use a silicone spatula to stir the honey, and continue heating until it just begins to boil, about 3 to 5 minutes.
Add sugar. Add the sugar and stir in. At first it’ll be grainy, but, as it heats, the sugar will melt into the honey, making it smooth. Continue cooking until the mixture begins to boil.
Boil and test. Once the mixture boils up a bit, spoon out a small amount and drop it into a cup of cold water. If it balls up, the mixture has boiled long enough, so remove it from the heat. If the drop strings out, the mixture needs to boil a little longer. Let it boil for about another minute and try again. If you use a thermometer, we think the temperature should be around 255°F — it was difficult to measure accurately with this small an amount of honey and sugar, so don’t rely on the temperature as absolutely accurate.
Add walnuts. Remove the syrup from the heat and immediately stir in the walnuts until they’re all coated and sticky.
Scrape onto parchment. Scrape the mixture out of the pan and onto a piece of parchment on your work surface. Press it somewhat smooth with the spatula.
Roll. Place another piece of parchment over the top and use a rolling pin to roll the mixture to a thickness of about 1/4 inch. If you wish, peel off the top piece of parchment and use a bench scraper or the spatula to straighten up the edges.
Cool. Let the gozinaki cool for about 20 minutes.
Cut. use a large chef’s knife to slice the gozinaki into 1- inch strips. You’ll probably need to wash the knife part way through, since the gozinaki will stick to the knife. Then turn the knife about 30° from the original cuts and cut through about an inch apart to form diamonds.
Store. To store, layer between pieces of waxed paper in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.
We thought these would be really sweet with the honey and sugar, but they’re not. There are enough walnuts to counteract the sweetness, making gozinaki more savory than sweet. Now, even though these came from a cookie cookbook, we really think of them more as candy; they’re quite similar to the honey-sesame candies that are popular in Greece. Whatever they are, gozinaki are five-star easy to make.