Author Archives: Shannon Sarna

Shannon Sarna

About Shannon Sarna

Shannon Sarna is the editor of The Nosher. Born to an Italian mother who loved to bake, a Jewish father who loved to experiment, and a food chemist grandfather, loving and experimenting with diverse foods is simply in her blood. Her writing and recipes have been featured in Tablet Magazine, JTA News, The Jewish Week, Joy of Kosher Magazine and Buzzfeed. She graduated from Smith College in Northampton, MA with a degree in Comparative Government and Spanish Language and Literature and currently lives in Jersey City, NJ. To see what Shannon is cooking and eating, follow her on twitter @shasarna and on Instagram.

Flamin’ Hot Cheetos Bagels Have Gone Too Far

I am a born- and-bred New Yorker who loves a good, classic bagel and schmear. It’s practically a requirement to live in the New York area. I have been working on my own recipe for some time (stay tuned!) and I am no stranger to the rainbow bagel and other crazy counterparts that have been trendy the past two years. In fact, I first spotted rainbow bagels nearly three years ago in Hoboken, NJ near my daughter’s former preschool. And since then, indeed, rainbow bagels have taken over.

But it’s not just rainbow bagels. It’s Oreo bagels. And truffle bagels. And a whole list of wacky flavor combinations we compiled last year. And now, to add insult to injury, the sacred bagel has been defiled by Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. And I simply cannot remain silent about this gross injustice done unto this New Yorker’s favorite Sunday breakfast. Check out this video posted by The Food Network of the crazy flavors being churned out by The Bagel Nook in Freehold, NJ:

What America needs right now is a good simple sesame bagel with cream cheese, lox, tomatoes and red onion. No more, no less. Let’s make bagels great again.

But, you know, if you’re into the rainbow bagel thing, that’s cool too. Try making your own with my friend Whitney’s recipe for rainbow bagels with funfetti cream cheese.

Compost Cookie Hamantaschen Recipe

If you’ve never made compost cookies, but you love desserts that are a little salty and a little sweet, this cookie (and hamantaschen) are for you. Do a quick Google search for “compost cookie” and you will come up with dozens of recipes. But the original compost cookie was born out of the crazy genius dessert brain of Christina Tosi of Milk Bar, one of my personal baking heroes.  The recipe for her famous cookie (and cakes and crazy desserts) can be found in her cookbook, which I absolutely love and highly recommend if love baking projects.

I love classic hamanastchen dough filled simply with jam or Nutella. But I wanted to get a little crazy with the actual dough this year, which is where the compost part comes in. In Tosi’s famous cookies, she adds cornflakes, pretzels, potato chips and even coffee grinds. You know, like you add the coffee grinds to your compost? It’s sort of an “everything but the kitchen sink” sort of cookie.

The cookies are complex, fun and absolutely delish. Get creative and crazy with your toppings, because after all, it’s Purim.

Compost Cookie Hamantaschen

Sweet Dessert Hummus Recipe

Have you ever tried dessert hummus? That’s right – a sweet hummus. No, it’s not exactly traditional, but it is as simple as making classic hummus. Instead of savory ingredients like garlic, tahini and cumin, you add dates, maple syrup and even cocoa powder.

It’s perfect for those times you are craving something sweet but also want to eat healthy. No refined sugar, no guilt – just delicious!

The Most Outrageous Matzah Ball Soup Recipe

A few years ago when I was out in Los Angeles visiting my family, my brother insisted we head to Canter’s Deli, an iconic Jewish deli that has been around since 1931. I am never one to turn down some good Jewish comfort food, and was thrilled to order a big bowl of matzah ball soup on a cool, rainy December night to share with my then 2 year old daughter. The bowl was filled to the brim with not only a larger-than-life matzah ball, but kreplach, rice and noodles. That’s right – it was a matzah ball carb fest, and it was glorious.

Since that visit, I have been loading up my matzah ball soup with rice and matzah balls, sometimes alphabet noodles or ramen noodles per my daughter’s request, and even awesome store-bought dumplings. If you are feeling adventurous, you can certainly try making your own meat kreplach. Although I have been opting for these store-bought Kosher’us veal or beef pelmeni I buy  at Shop Rite or our local kosher butcher.

The key to making a good loaded matzo ball soup is to keep all the ingredients separate until serving. After making soup, remove the veggies and the chicken and store them in separate containers until ready to serve.

Or if you decide to use store-bought chicken broth, cook your rice, noodles and matzah balls separately, and then build the bowl of soup for each individual.  This is truly the ultimate Jewish comfort food on a cool night, or any time you need a little chicken soup love.

Loaded Matzah Ball Soup

5 Jewish Recipes to Celebrate National Nutella Day

I know there are some Nutella haters out there, but I think we can all agree those people are nuts. Ha, get it?! Anyways, I am a firm believer that Nutella is the perfect food and it goes on just about anything. Pair it with fruit, top some toast with it or add it to your favorite Jewish baked goods.

It’s National Nutella Day, so add some of that creamy goodness to one of your favorite Jewish treats.

easy two ingredient rugelach

Nutella babka

Two ingredient nutella rugelach

Fig butter and nutella challah from Food52

Nutella-filled hamantaschen from Mother Would Know

Nutella cinnamon coffee cake from Two in the Kitchen

Healthy Jewish Side Dish: Lightened-Up Kasha Varnishkes

Kasha varnishkes is a much beloved Ashkenazi comfort food dish. Traditionally made with bow tie pasta, onions, schmaltz and kasha (buckwheat), it is filling, comforting peasant food at its best.

I wanted to add a little bit of healthfulness into the traditional recipe, so we decided to swap out regular or egg pasta for some whole grain pasta and add some riced cauliflower into the mix for a serving of vegetables.

Watch below to see how I made the dish. It was really delicious and hearty!


This recipe is based on this classic recipe for kasha varnishkes from celebrated food writer and cookbook author Adeena Sussman. 

These Are the Only Jewish Super Bowl Snacks You Need

I don’t even know who is playing in the Super Bowl this year (Confession: I never know who is playing), but I know it’s coming up, and I love planning delicious party food. And I am pretty sure there are lots of other people who are just like me.

So whether or not you know who will be playing in a few weeks, it’s time to start menu planning, and these are the five indulgent Jewish party foods your Super Bowl viewing absolutely needs.

Schnitzel strips with green tahini dip

Pastrami tater tots

Challah dogs

Za’atar fried chicken with spicy thyme honey

Brisket stuffed fried potato balls


How to Make Rainbow Cookies

Rainbow cookies are the most beloved sweet treat of my childhood, and I know many East Coasters like myself have some strong views of them. Some people call them the “kiddush cookies,” while I remember them from platters of cookies my mother would put out for piano recitals and holidays: They are always the first to disappear. They aren’t quite Jewish; in fact they are more accurately Italian. But as with many foods born in New York City when Irish, Italian and Jewish immigrants were all living side by side, they have been adopted by Italian bakeries and Jewish delis alike — and they are beloved by (most) all.

What you may not realize about rainbow cookies is that they aren’t really cookies at all, but more accurately, thinly baked layered cake made with flour, sugar, butter, eggs and almond paste, giving its distinct flavor. They are filled with raspberry jam, chilled and covered on top and bottom with a layer of melted chocolate. Slice them off into bite-sized rectangles, and you have the most perfect non-cookie cookie treat.

You could dye the cookies any color combo you like, for example these ombre blue version for Hanukkah, but red, white and green are traditional in the New York area. I suggest buying three square 8×8 or 9×9 baking pans to make this task easier. If you don’t have a food scale, I would highly recommend investing in one. It will make tasks like measuring batter or dough much easier and far more accurate.

If you’ve never worked with almond paste before, make sure it is fresh and that it is broken down into small pieces. You can even pulse it in a food processor or by using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer before adding to the batter. But if not and you end up with clumps, fret not: It will still bake fine (and taste amazing). Go ahead — try your hand at my absolute favorite cookies. Full recipe and instructions below.

5 Totally Unique Shakshuka Recipes for Your Next Brunch

I love making a simple, classic North African-Israeli style shakshuka on a busy weeknight for dinner or while entertaining for Sunday brunch. But sometimes you just want something different. Or at least you want to gawk at some beautiful, yolk porn-y photos to inspire you.

Shakshuka has been pretty trendy, and bloggers are dreaming up beautiful, mouth-watering not-so-traditional versions of their own. Here are 5 versions to test out this weekend!

Japanese shakshuka from Tasting Table

Italian eggs in shakshukatory from Port and Fin

Spring shakshuka with ramps, herbed yogurt and spiced butter from The Little Ferraro Kitchen

Shakshuka with spinach and lamb meatballs

Green shakshuka from The Kitchn

lamb meatball shakshuka main




Easy Jewish Dessert: Two Ingredient Rugelach Recipe

I know you guys enjoy a good recipe hack, and I think you will love this one: two ingredient rugelach! That’s right: just a package of puff pastry, filling and that’s it. You can make flaky, sweet, indulgent rugelach for your next Shabbat dinner, brunch or just because you need something with your afternoon cup of tea, within 30 minutes.

I demonstrate below using chocolate hazelnut spread, but you could use a cookie butter or jam – or try something savory like goat cheese and herbs. Top with a quick beaten egg and bake for 16-18 minutes, or until golden. Doesn’t get a whole lot easier than that. Watch below for the easy instructions.

The following recipe was inspired by this recipe from Real Simple

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