Darehats, or Bread of the Year, is a naturally vegan cake served on New Year’s Day or early January. It often has a beautiful design on top, similar to gata. In addition to kneading the dough with love, you also add a coin or fruit seed on top of the middle layer before sealing it. The cake is then cut into 12 pieces to represent the new year—or based on how many people will be enjoying it. Whoever gets the slice with the coin is said to have a new year filled with good fortune.
I enjoyed this cake during my first year in Armenia and received the revered piece—and had many more incredible years in beautiful Armenia!
You can watch or read the recipe below:
- 3 1⁄2 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 3⁄4 cup sugar
- 1 cup neutral oil (vegetable or canola oil)
- 3⁄4 cup warm/room temperature water
- 1 cup chopped dried fruits (such as raisins, figs, and apricots)
- 1 cup crushed nuts (such as walnuts and almonds)
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
- 2 to 3 tbsp Simple Syrup (page 19 of cookbook, or can substitute in maple syrup)
- Handful of sesame seeds, nigella seeds, or hemp seeds (optional)
- Clean coin or fruit seed (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350F (180C).
- Mix the flour, baking soda, and sugar in a large bowl.
- Add the oil and water and combine well, kneading the dough. It will be a stretchy/spongey dough.
- If you want to decorate the top of the bread, set aside a small golf ball-sized amount of the dough. Split the rest into two equal parts and set aside.
- In another bowl, combine the dried fruits, nuts, cinnamon, salt, and stir. Add the syrup to this bowl to lightly bind them together.
- In an oiled cake pan 12 inches in diameter and 4 inches in height, flatten out one half of the dough after lightly re-kneading it.
- Spread the nut-fruit mixture across it. Place the clean coin or seed somewhere on the nut-fruit mixture.
- Lightly knead and flatten the second half of the dough on a flat surface before placing it on top, making sure to seal all around.
- If you saved some dough, make a shape of your choosing to decorate the top of the bread.
- Optional: Brush some water on top of the dough and sprinkle on your choice of seeds.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, and then broil on low for an additional 1 to 2 minutes until the top is golden brown.
- Once cooled, slice into 12 pieces or based on the number of guests. Enjoy with some mint tea!
Note: Make sure to let anyone who will be enjoying this cake know that their piece may have a coin or fruit seed inside to avoid any choking hazards or chipped teeth!
This recipe is featured in The Vegan Armenian Kitchen Cookbook, which you can learn more about here!