Salty Sesame Rings (Susamlı Çörek)

3 cups of flour
8 oz of cream cheese, softened, or Greek style yogurt
8 oz butter (2 sticks), softened, preferably salted
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1 egg, yolk only
Sesame seeds
Black Caraway seeds (Nigella Sativa)

Lightly cream butter and cream cheese (or yogurt) in a large bowl. Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix as much as you can with a spoon or spatula, then mix the rest by hand until well blended.

Prepare 3 breading trays or 3 small plates. Place egg yolk and a few drops of water in the first to create an egg wash. Place sesame seeds in the second and black caraway seeds in the last one.

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

Take a small amount of dough and roll out in between palms until about 3 inches long; then, shape into small rings. Continue making rings or braids until no more dough is left. Tip: Work quickly; the longer the dough sits out, the softer and less manageable it becomes. Try and keep the size of the rings relatively even so that you don't end up with some undercooked or burnt ones.

Dip each ring into the egg yolk wash followed by the sesame seeds, black caraway seeds or a combination of both. Coat one or both sides and place on the baking sheet. Once you've coated all the rings, bake them for 28-30 minutes or until golden.

Allow the pastries to cool completely before placing them in an airtight container.

Yields about 60-65 small rings.

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