I tried out all three recipes in the collection. After diligent taste-testing by my family (including by some members old enough to remember what these cookies should taste like), I chose this recipe, and made some modifications to suit our tastes today. The other two recipes are summarized at the bottom of the blog entry.
Here's a photo of the winning Obarinky recipe (#26), as originally typed up by my Teta Baba. It is attributed to Ika Melnyk, who is also credited with another recipe I adapted in a previous blog entry - walnut torte (see that blog entry for details about the recipe collection itself):
26. Obarinky from Ika
12 dkg flour,1 cooked egg yolk, 8 dkg butter, 4 dkg sugar, lemon zest. Mix and chill for an hour. Cut out obarinky, give them an egg-white wash, and sprinkle with sugar and 3 dkg chopped almonds.
Here's my updated version, with volume equivalencies for the weight measurements ("dkg" stands for dekagrams, or 10 grams). I add almond extract to punch up the flavor (or you can add vanilla). Instead of using chopped almonds as the topping, I prefer to arrange sliced almonds in a wreath or ring shape, as in the photo at the top, to increase the visual appeal.
Click HERE to download a printable version.
**Keep scrolling down for step-by-step instructions with photos.**
12 dkg. flour (about 1 cup)
1 egg yolk, cooked
8 dkg. butter (about 5 1/2 Tbsp.), softened
4 dkg. sugar (less than 1/4 c)
zest from 1 lemon
optional: 1/4-1/2 tsp. almond extract or vanilla extract
1 egg white
Almonds (sliced, slivered, or chopped)
To cook the egg yolk, separate the egg, save the egg white for the topping, slide the egg yolk into simmering water for about 2 minutes until cooked; you can press the cooked yolk through a sieve, or just put it in the mixing bowl with the other ingredients – it won’t be quite as evenly distributed, but will work just fine.
Mix flour, egg yolk, softened butter, sugar, lemon zest, and almond extract. Mix into a smooth dough.
Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for about an hour.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Roll out dough about 1/8-1/4 inch thick. Dough should be easy to work with. Reroll scraps and continue cutting out cookies until no dough is left.
Cut out doughnut-shaped cookies. (I used Wilton’s Round Cutter set, but a linzer cookie cutter would work well too).
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place cookies onto lined baking sheet. They don’t spread much at all, so you can position them fairly close together.
Use a pastry brush or other tool to give the cookie tops an egg-white wash.
Immediately place almonds on cookie surface as desired (for sliced almonds, you can do a wreath design; for slivered almonds, you could do a flower pattern).
Sprinkle cookie surface heavily with the coarse sugar. (If using chopped almonds, you can mix them with the sugar at about a 1:1 ratio before sprinkling).
Bake at 350 F for 10 min.
Cool briefly, remove to plate.
Cookies taste better the next day.
Here are the ingredients you will need, already measured out:
cooked egg yolk, raw egg white, flour, sugar, butter, lemon zest, almond extract, and sliced almonds. You'll also need coarse sugar for the topping (which I forgot to put in the photo).
Different ingredients will have different weights for the same volume, so I need to repeat the process for the flour. 12 dkg of flour (120 grams) turns out to be just about 1 cup of flour.
8 dkg of butter (80 grams) turns out to be about 5 1/2 Tablespoons. The paper wrapper is pretty light, so I didn't bother zeroing out the scale for this.
But since this recipe calls for one raw egg white for the topping, it's nice if you can just cook the yolk on its own and save the white uncooked (quicker, too!)
To do that, separate the yolk from the white (try to keep the yolk whole), and save the white for later. Boil some water in a small pot, and slide in the yolk gently. Let it cook for about 2 minutes (or up to 3 minutes). Remove the cooked yolk with a spoon, and let it cool.
Or you can just break the yolk up with your fingers into the other dough ingredients, as in the third photo below, and let the mixer break it up some more. The yolk bits will be more visible in the dough and won't seem to be mixed in as well, but for this recipe, the end product is the same.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of about 1/4 to 1/8 inch. The dough should be pretty easy to work with.
I find it much easier to use circle cutters. Wilton makes nice nesting circle cutter sets:
or you could use a linzer cookie cutter set.
I have an older Wilton circle cutter set that worked very well here - I used the biggest and smallest cutters:
The cookies taste better the next day, and they keep well.
The flavor is very delicate, however, so I don't recommend serving these with other baked goods that are strong in flavor.
And there you have it - old-fashioned obarinky! Enjoy!
-sour cream version: ¼ c. sour cream, ¼ c. softened butter, ¾ c. flour; Mix, chill overnight, proceed as above
-yeast version: 3 egg yolks, 2 Tbsp. sour cream, 1 Tbsp. softened butter, 1 packet yeast, ¾ c. flour; mix and proceed as above