Gorikhivnyk

Despite several futile attempts to learn otherwise, I have no idea what gorikhivnyk means, or even exactly of what it might be a transliteration. Ґоріхівнйк, maybe? Maybe. Google did not help. Google Translate did not help. Sharon Tyler Herbst was not terribly helpful either.

Ukrainian, specifically of Kiev, is all I have from Ms. Herbst on the origin of these chocolate-date-nut bars. Toasted chopped almonds, chopped dates, grated semi-sweet and unsweetened chocolate sit suspended in a cloud of vanilla-scented meringue on top of an otherwise pedestrian, sweet pastry base. They are a mystery and a delight.

The list of topping (an inadequate descriptor for what takes up an inch and a quarter of these bar’s delicious height) ingredients includes the aforementioned almonds, dates, chocolate and vanilla, along with 5 egg whites and a little salt. Ms. Herbst makes no mention of sugar in that list, but in her instructions clearly states to add the sugar one tablespoonful at a time while beating the egg whites at a med-high speed as one does when whipping up a meringue.

That moment — that one right there — when you realize you do not have all the information you need to complete a recipe, and the pastry base is baking in the oven for a scant 12 minutes before cooling slightly for another 10, after which it will need to be topped with what you are trying to put together as quickly and as well as possible when you really, really do not like whipping up meringues? Stress. In a first world problem kind of way, but still.

A whole other first world problem is that the magic of Google on your smartphone is no help whatsoever because apparently the only person who talks about or makes or has ever heard of gorikhivnyk is Ms. Herbst. Ok, that is not entirely true. The recipe appears to be in another cookie cookbook, but the website that holds that information provides a shopping list only, and the ingredients differ. A lot.

So Ms. Herbst does not remember to tell you how much sugar you might need to add slowly to the meringue before folding in all the ingredients that will doom that meringue if there is not enough sugar in it. What to do? Your desperation drives you to hastily paste together a reverse transliteration and voilà, Ґоріхівнйк? Gets you nothing.

Failing all that, I turned to Google as though it was the magic 8 ball of baking, and asked what ratio of egg whites to sugar one might use for a meringue, shook it, then extrapolated from its myriad responses, taking into consideration the sweetness of the dates and the semi-sweet chocolate and the bitterness of 100% cacao unsweetened chocolate. I threw in about 7/8 of a cup. A tablespoonful at a time, of course. Success! I think. I don’t really know how gorikhivnyk are supposed to look or taste.

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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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