Iziumnye sukhariki

My scrawled notes in The Joy of Cookies tell me that I baked these Russian raisin rusks on the third of January. I have apparently been too busy to write about them, however, until now. And the only reason I’m writing today is I’ve been given this brief window of time with nothing else pressing to do … at least nothing that I have along with me in this coffee shop.

More like biscotti or Zweiback than cookies, these rusks are baked twice: once in loaf form at a moderate temperature, and then cut into slices that are baked on each side at a lower temperature. They took a little under two hours to make, but three-quarters of that time they were in the oven in one form or the other. Great for someone who’s a little lame and ought to be off her foot for long stretches of time. That would be me.

Sharon Tyler Herbst compares them to biscotti d’anici, and while they are similarly prepared, there is no anise in them. Lemon zest, almonds and golden raisins, some of which are ground with a little of the flour before adding into the mix, are the dominant flavors. She also suggests that orange zest can be substituted for the lemon, which I imagine would be delicious. I really enjoyed them, but the verdict from the rest of the family is a resounding “meh” and so I have given them away.

As far as I can tell iziumnye sukhariki, or изюмные сухарики (Ms. Herbst provided the Romanized spelling and I have deduced — hopefully correctly — the Cyrillic), translates roughly to raisin croutons, or rusks. For more on rusks and biscotti and other twice-baked, long-lasting treats, check out Wikipedia: rusks.

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About pattiblaine

Raised under the name of Snyder in the upstate NY town of Vestal, I've worked as a typesetter, a fast food salad bar tender, an art reviewer, a waitress, a part-time nanny, and a very-bad-with-phones temp. Once upon a time I was all-but-thesis toward a Masters in Art History. Now I'm just a mom with a lot of fiber squirreled away throughout the house. We call it insulation. In 2013 I completed a life-long learning program at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and am a postulant toward the diaconate in the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester, NY. In addition to coordinating volunteers for the soup kitchen, I volunteer as a tutor at a deeply impoverished city elementary school, and am a docent at the Memorial Art Gallery.
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4 Responses to Iziumnye sukhariki

  1. D'Alta says:

    I love rusks–not that I have made any… Just bought some from a store many years ago. Don’t remember the store, nor the flavors. They might have even been a Weight Watchers product… Cannot eat raisins or almonds. Must be careful with zest…BUT, unlike your family, I never met a cookie I didn’t like…just some I can’t eat. Glad you were given time to write!

  2. My son called home when on a college trip to Germany to ask me what a rusk was… I told him a more bread like (vs cakelike) biscotti (and told him, he had eaten them–as zwiebach) I like the sweeter biscuit style–more than the bland zwiebach ones. (great word zwiebach–how infrequently one gets to type zw!)–Cookies like this are rarely good on their own–they need hot cocoa to dip them in (and soften them)

  3. Sue Lentini says:

    I made these last night and my husband and I both liked them a lot. I found The Joy of Cookies last year at a block sale in NYC where I live and have been baking from it ever since. It’s a great little book. I have always baked from Maida Heatter’s books, but I love this one just as much. I’m sending the Russian rusks to my Russian cousin, Elena in Maine. I hope she likes them as much as you, my husband and myself! Sue

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