Friday, January 21, 2011

Return from Turkey with - you guessed it - Turkish Delights!

But also so much more.  One of our colleagues came back from a break to his native Turkey and thus returned for another installment of our international cake hours.  These included some all-around-the-world famous Turkish delights but also something called Hanimeller Un Kurabiyesi.  These were not the run of the mill Turkish delights although they could be to people who live in Turkey. We have mostly had those that were lightly flavored or contained one type of nut - frequently pistachio.
More than one type of Turkish Delight!
The selection this time included Turkish delights with an assortment of nuts and also Sultan Turkish delights - good enough for the Sultan? The former were pretty typical but depending on what you picked you got a single hazelnut. almond or pistachio.  They weren't exactly stuffed with nuts but were as usual very good.
Mixed nuts are fine with us

Is this what the Sultan got?
Love the Istanbul Skyline
The Sultan Turkish delights were flavored, contained nuts and were covered with coconut not just the normal powdered sugar. These were also very good and it was a new experience for us as we had not had this type of flavored delight before. They were also opaque to look at not clear as usual. The flavors were subtle and the chocolate in particular was interesting. The general consensus was that the Sultan delights were more exotic - as they should be if they are being served up to a Sultan.
Which one has the almond?

Harlequin Turkish Delights - Vanilla, Chocolate and Strawberry...with nuts!

Did you know the Turkish word for Turkish Delights is Lokum?  We didn't.  The Sultan package gave a nice history of the treat on the back though they get no kudos for spelling.  We were also intrigued by certain ingredients including "Soapworth Juice" and "Nature Identical Strawberry Flavour." We still don't know what Soapworth Juice is but were pretty comfortable that "Nature Identical" meant natural. We also wondered what the ingredient was that made them so dense thinking it might be gelatin and we were chowing down on the byproduct of horses hooves - you know like Jello. But no - it is cornstarch!  And a lot of it we assume! 
The Story of Lokum

Soapworth Juice?
Ülker's Hanimeller Un Kurabiyesi turned out to be a type of shortbread cookie. The exact translation is "honeysuckle flour cookies". Maybe that means they have less butter and have honeysuckle flavor though who knows what that is. They came in piles in the container which included an envelope that was labeled pudra şekeri and contained a white powder. In the absence of a Turkish translator it did not strain our language capabilities to conclude it most likely meant powdered sugar and not anthrax. So we dutifully distributed the cookies on a plate and sprinkled them with the sugar figuring that was the intent of the envelope. Since we have no one with a respiratory ailment we were clearly right and our Turkish colleague confirmed that we served them up correctly.  We love shortbread and these with or without the sugar were just fine. Let's hear it for Hanimeller Un Kurabiyesi.
Honeysuckle Flour Cookies

Snugly Packaged

With the not so mysterious white powder
Our Turkish compatriot is now a PhD and will be moving on to the gray city of Seattle.  Fortunately we have a faculty member who can keep the pipeline for Lokum open.

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