I like an apple cake as much as the next girl (two favorites are Amy’s Bissel Apple Cake and this Cornmeal Apple Upside Down Cake) but there are two nights of Rosh Hashanah, and once I’ve got my apple cake craving taken care of, I need something else. Enter these blondies. Though blondies might not seem quite fancy enough for a big holiday meal, trust me that these will blow your hair back, and can be gussied up into something truly stunning to look at, and downright delectable to eat.
The only specialty item called for here is pomegranate molasses, which you can almost certainly find at your local Middle Eastern food store, or you can buy it online here. I love to drizzle some pomegranate molasses over my yogurt and granola in the morning, and it’s also good as an ice cream topping.
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 ¾ cups brown sugar
¾ cups unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 Tablespoon pomegranate molasses
½ cup chopped dates
½ cup pomegranate seeds
⅓ cup chopped pecans (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper, and spray the parchment paper with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer cream together the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the pomegranate molasses and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Gently fold in the dates, pomegranate seeds, and pecans if including.
Pour the batter into the lined pan. It will be a very thick batter--smooth out the top with a butter knife. Bake until top is golden and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack.
When blondies are completely cool (I let them sit, covered, overnight) remove from pan, and if you want a round dessert, use a biscuit cutter or the edge of a juice glass to cut circles out of the blondies. Serve topped with ice cream, and drizzled with a tiny bit of pomegranate molasses. Follow with a sweet and wonderful new year.
For me, Rosh Hashanah always symbolizes the beginning of Fall (although it is way early this year, practically still summer) and I love celebrating apples at my holiday table.
This sweet, nutty apple cake will be the perfect ending to your Rosh Hashanah or Sukkot meal, and is sure to satisfy even the most gluten-loving guests.
¼ cup coconut oil (or margarine or other fat of your choice)
¼ cup honey
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup almond meal
½ cup brown rice flour
½ cup millet flour
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 cup diced apple
1 tsp sucanat (raw sugar)
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees (if you have convection, use it!) and grease an 8-inch round pan.
Using a mixer, cream coconut oil, honey, and brown sugar. Add eggs one at a time, allowing to incorporate before adding the next. Stir in applesauce and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: almond meal, brown rice flour, millet flour, teff flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in three batches, allowing each batch to incorporate before adding the next. The batter will become thick and sticky. Stir in diced apples.
Spread batter into prepared pan and sprinkle sucanat over the top. Bake for 45-50 minutes until the top is firm, the edges are golden and crispy and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
For more of Rella's delicious gluten-free recipes check out her blog The Penny Pinching Epicure.
Rosh Hashanah is an auspicious time, meant for new beginnings and good luck. We wish people inscriptions in the book of life, say special prayers for health and prosperity, and even wear white, symbolizing purity and cleansing from sin.
I like to put my money where my mouth is: according to Sephardic custom, certain foods – like dates, squash, and pomegranates – are lucky, and should be eaten in abundance on the New Year.
Another one of these auspicious foods is black-eyed peas, which I’ve been eating regularly ever since returning from Southeast Asia this past December. While they aren’t a traditionally Thai or Vietnamese food, they’re a staple in Burma, just over the border from Thailand. With the steady influx of Burmese émigrés to Thailand, vendors have started selling specialties from their hometown on the streets of Chiang Rai, near the border. One of my favorite dishes, which I first encountered in Naomi Duguid’s excellent book Burma, combines black-eyed peas with turmeric, shallots, ginger, and fish sauce. It’s a surprisingly addictive combination.
I built on that original recipe in honor of Rosh Hashanah, adding another auspicious food – pomegranate seeds – and some pomegranate syrup, for good measure. I swapped out fish sauce for soy sauce, added a heaping handful of parsley, and finished the dish with a big squeeze of fresh lime.
Because Rosh Hashanah starts so early this year, we’re planning on at least one picnic lunch, to take advantage of what we hope will be good weather. I’m planning to serve this, alongside the usual round challah and apple slices dipped in honey. Double good luck!
1 heaping cup black-eyed peas
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp fresh grated turmeric root or ¼ tsp ground turmeric
1 large shallot, minced
¾ tsp salt
1 tsp soy sauce
2 tsp pomegranate syrup, optional (if not using, double lime juice)
½ cup pomegranate seeds
2-3 Tbsp chopped parsley, chives, or a mixture
Juice of ½ a lime
If your black-eyed peas are old, soak them overnight in enough water to cover them by at least 1 inch.
When ready to cook the peas, fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil. Add drained peas, cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until peas are fork-tender, between 45 minutes and 1.5 hours. Cooking time varies drastically and depends on the age of your peas, so check them regularly.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in your smallest sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the turmeric and shallots, and cook for 3-4 minutes, until shallots are soft, fragrant, and browned in spots. Add salt, stir to combine, and remove from the heat.
When peas are soft but still retaining their shape, drain them, transfer them to a bowl, and pour the shallot mixture over the peas, making sure to scrape the sauté pan for all those little bits of turmeric and shallot clinging to the bottom. Stir beans to incorporate, taking care not to smush them too much.
Add soy sauce and pomegranate syrup if using, and toss to combine.
Right before serving, fold in pomegranates, fresh herbs, and lime juice. Serve at room temperature or slightly chilled.
I love a good challah challenge and always welcome an excuse to create new flavors for friends and family to try. I tend to favor savory combinations such as rosemary and garlic, za’atar and “everything bagel” challah flavors, although I also make salty chocolate and cinnamon raisin versions on occasion.
For Rosh Hashanah this year I wanted to branch out and try something completely new and perfect for the holiday.
A few months ago I was chatting with my husband’s best friend’s mother, whom we lovingly call “Mama Morley.” She was explaining a technique she uses for round challah that I had not tried before – stuffing the challah dough and rolling it like a cinnamon bun. Brilliant!
This conversation stuck in my head, and so as I was mulling over potential recipes for the New Year I realized I should try this technique and stuff it with something uniquely delicious for Rosh Hashanah.
And thus my Balsamic Apple Date Challah was born. The dough itself is sweet, laced with cinnamon, vanilla and just a touch of nutmeg. And when you break into the round loaf, it is like biting into a challah cinnamon bun.
I sprinkled the top of the challah with thick sea salt, cinnamon and sanding sugar. But you can leave the salt off if you would rather go all-sweet. Either way, your guests will barely be able to control themselves around this challah. My daughter kept trying to sneak her own bites, as you can see below from her chubby little hands which somehow made it into the photos.
Wishing everyone a sweet, happy, healthy and DELICIOUS New Year.
For the challah dough:
5 cups flour
½ cup sugar
2 Tbsp honey
½ Tbsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 ½ Tbsp yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 ¼ cups lukewarm water
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
For the filling:
3 gala apples, peeled and diced
1 cup pitted dates, chopped
½ tsp salt
1 cinnamon stick
¼ cup water
¼ cup red wine
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
For top of challah:
1 tsp water
1 tsp honey
1 Tbsp sanding sugar
1 Tbsp thick sea salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
In a small bowl, place yeast, 1 tsp sugar and lukewarm water. Allow to sit around 10 minutes, until it becomes foamy on top.
In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, salt, sugar, honey, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. After the water-yeast mixture has become foamy, add to flour mixture along with oil. Mix thoroughly.
Add another cup of flour and eggs until smooth. Switch to the dough hook attachment if you are using a stand mixer.
Add another 1 1/2 cups flour and then remove from bowl and place on a floured surface. Knead remaining flour into dough, continuing to knead for around 10 minutes (or however long your hands will last).
Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with damp towel. Allow to rise 3-4 hours.
To make the filling, place apples, dates, salt, cinnamon stick, water, red wine and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Continue to simmer on medium heat until the mixture is reduced. Add the balsamic vinegar and simmer another 2-3 minutes. The mixture will cook around 10-15 minutes in total.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool 5 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick.
Place mixture in a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and pulse until smooth.
After the challah is done rising, cut the dough in half. To be as precise as possible, use a scale to measure the weight.
Roll the first ball out using a rolling pin into a rectangle. Spread around half, perhaps slightly less, of the apple-date mixture in an even layer, leaving 1/2 inch all around without filling. Working quickly, start rolling up the dough towards you. Try and keep the roll relatively tight as you go. Pinch the end when you finish.
Create a pinwheel shaped-challah by snaking the dough around and around in a circle around itself. When finished, tuck the end under the challah neatly and pinch lightly. This doesn't have to be perfect - remember, as long as it tastes good, almost no one (maybe except that judgmental great aunt) will care what it looks like.
Repeat with other half of dough.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Allow challahs to rise another 30-60 minutes, or until you can see the the size has grown.
Beat 1 egg with 1 tsp water and 1 tsp of honey. Brush liberally over each challah. Combine sea salt, sanding sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle over challah.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until middle looks like it has just set, and the color is golden.
I have a love-hate relationship with the High Holidays (who doesn’t!?). It always seems to coincide with a busy time of work and I never have enough time to cook all the recipes I want to try. This year is the first time my husband and I will be celebrating the holidays at home (as opposed to going to family or friends). We are hosting lots of meals, which means I am forced to/have the opportunity to explore new recipes and adapt some of my favorites.
The one thing I make year after year without fail is my mom’s honey cake. It is moist, sweet and the perfect addition to any Rosh Hashanah meal. It is the first thing I eat after the Yom Kippur fast with a big glass of orange juice. When I think of the holiday season I can smell the honey cake and see my mom’s kitchen counter covered with honey cakes and challah.
This year, I wanted to change up the cake by utilizing the same concept and making it a little more interesting. Here is the recipe for a Honey Pomegranate Cake with a pomegranate glaze on top. You can make the cake ahead of time and freeze it for later, however you should not glaze it until you the day you are serving.
For the cake:
1 cup sugar
1 cup oil
1 ½ cups honey
3 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 cup cold brewed pomegranate tea (brewed for 30 min)
For the glaze:
½ cup pomegranate juice
¼ cup sugar
juice of ½ lemon
4 Tbsp powdered sugar
In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients and slowly add to liquid ingredients. Pour into 10” ungreased angel food cake pan (tube pan), not a Bundt pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 300 degrees and bake for an additional 45 minutes.
When the cake is done invert and allow to cool completely before removing.
For the glaze, combine pomegranate juice, sugar and lemon juice in a small pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil then let simmer uncovered for 15 minutes stirring frequently. It will become a syrup and reduce to about half. Remove from heat, let cool slightly and whisk in powdered sugar until smooth.
Stir in pomegranate seeds and pour over the cake.
You might still be thinking about summer tomatoes, peach pie, and drinks by the pool, but we are thinking about honey cake and apple desserts since Rosh Hashanah will be upon us in just two weeks!
Apple and honey cakes are traditional, sweet New Year desserts but they can definitely get a bit stale. The honey cake from my childhood? My Great Aunt Ruth would make honey cake sometime around June, cut it into slices, freeze it, and then defrost it in the fall to serve at my grandma’s house for Rosh Hashanah. Is it any wonder honey cake is far from my favorite dessert!?
So I set out to find the freshest, traditional and non-traditional, super scrumptious apples & honey desserts perfect for your Jewish New Year celebrations. Please note: Great Aunt Ruth’s version is not included.
Got a great recipe? Post below and let us know!
I’m kind of obsessed with beets. I’ve made Beet Fries, Pickled Beets and even Beet Hummus. Not only are they tasty and healthy, but a shade of vibrant pink (or golden yellow) that pops on your holiday table. Beets are rich in vitamin C, fiber, and some even consider them to be a natural aphrodisiac. Can’t hurt! Pass by the canned variety in favor of the more flavorful fresh. Totally versatile, beets are perfect roasted, pickled, raw or in this case, fried.
Sprinkled with a little salt, these crunchy chips are delicious on their own, and even better when paired with a sweet and spicy pareve mayonnaise. Sort of a modern twist on apples dipped in honey. I used just red beets, but throw in some golden ones as well for a colorful addition to your Rosh Hashanah meal. The prayer said over beets in Hebrew means to remove, which signifies the hope that enemies and faults will be removed in the New Year.
Amy Kritzer is a food writer and recipe developer in Austin, TX who enjoys cooking, theme parties and cowboys. She challenges herself to put a spin on her Bubbe’s traditional Jewish recipes and blogs about her endeavors at What Jew Wanna Eat. Her recipes have been featured on Bon Appetit, Daily Candy, The Today Show Blog and more. You can follow her on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook and watch her cooking videos on Google+.
For the beet chips:
1 quart vegetable oil
3 medium beets, washed and dried well
Coarse black pepper
For the spicy honey mayo:
¼ cup mayonnaise
3 tsp honey
2-3 tsp Sriracha (or to taste)
In a large, wide pot heat the oil over high heat to 375°F.
Cut the root end off the beets, and cut using a mandolin into 1/8-inch thick slices.
Set up a cooling rack over paper towels near the pot.
Once oil is hot, slip one layer of beets into the oil and fry until golden and the bubbling and sizzling stops, about 3-4 minutes.
Remove with a slotted spoon and immediately sprinkle with salt and pepper and let cool on the rack. The chips will crisp up as they cool.
To make the Spicy Honey Mayo, combine mayo, honey and sriracha in a small bowl. Chill for at least 10 minutes. Serve alongside freshly made beet chips.
Have you heard of the cronut, a donut-croissant hybrid that is all the rage currently in NYC? On any given morning I log in to Facebook and at least one of my friends has been standing on line (sometimes in the rain) since 6:00 am in order to procure one of Dominque Ansel’s much-coveted cronuts. Well, the cronut craze has officially landed in Israel! The Forward reported earlier this week that Lenchner bakery in Tel Aviv has made the first kosher version; and now other bakeries in Israel are coming up with their own versions. Will the cronut be the new cupcake? It doesn’t have my vote yet, but then again, I have yet to wait online at 6:00 am to actually taste one. Looks pretty tempting though, eh?
On Chosen Eats this week Mari Levine presents us with the results of a kosher hot dog taste test “throwdown.” Many of the hot dog brands are ones I haven’t even heard of including International Beef Frankfurters and the winner, Shor Harbor Beef Franks. My own favorite from the list? Abeles & Heyman! What’s your preferred kosher hot dog brand – we want to know!
Are you a fan of the Food TV show ‘Chopped’? If not then you might have missed Chef Katsuji Tanabe, the chef of kosher restaurant Mexikosher in Los Angeles, take the win last week! The Jewish Journal has a full write-up of the chef and his TV appearance, including his tips for winning – don’t drink the coffee!
In other kosher restaurant-related news, The Prime Grill Cookbook is coming out in mid-September. The new cookbook by Chefs David Kolotkin (a Nosher contributor!) and Joey Allaham, takes you inside Prime Grill and will include some of the restaurant’s signature dishes including Smoked BBQ Short Ribs, Texas Style Rib Eye, Chicken & Waffle Nuggets with Maple Syrup Dip, Quinoa Cake “Latkes,” among many more.
Last but certainly not least, did you hear about our Rosh Hashanah Ingredient Challenge?! Our own version of Top Chef, High Holiday Edition, we are asking our favorite contributors and YOU, our readers, to submit your best Rosh Hashanah recipe and photos. Your mission – use two of the following traditional New Year ingredients and send us the recipe by August 23rd: pomegranate, honey, apples, dates, gourds, beets, fenugreek and black eyed peas. More info here.
It may seem that Rosh Hashanah is a lifetime away, but in fact, it is a mere three weeks away! And the month of Elul is already upon us, so I am hyper focused on preparing for the New Year, if you can believe it. Elul is actually one of my favorite times during the Jewish year. I love the spiritual gear-up for the High Holy Days; taking time to reflect on the year that has passed, and hopes and goals for the year ahead.
I also love trying new recipes, and preparing desserts, challah and other dishes for the New Year. It always goes back to food for me.
And in the spirit of trying new things for the New Year, here at The Nosher we decided to try something a bit different this holiday season – our first ever Rosh Hoshanah Ingredient Challenge!
We reached out to some of our favorite contributors and told them their mission, should they choose to accept it, is to create a delicious, beautiful Rosh Hashanah recipe using 2 of the following traditional New Year ingredients: pomegranate, honey, apples, dates, gourds, beets, fenugreek and black eyed peas. They will get extra points if the dish created is ROUND! Stay tuned over the next few weeks to see their amazing creations.
But we want to see what kind of Rosh Hashanah recipes YOU can come up with so we are extending the ingredient challenge to our readers too! Send us your best recipes using two of the above ingredients and email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will feature the best recipe as part of our High Holiday menus, so get cooking! Entries need to be received by Friday, August 23rd and must include a description of the dish, ingredients, directions and at least one photo.
Wishing everyone a meaningful Elul full of reflection and maybe some recipe-creation too.
Most cookbooks leave me a bit bored and uninspired. I am admittedly very picky about where I procure recipes from, and which cookbooks occupy the precious counter space in my kitchen. But it was a delightful day last week when my copy of the Balaboosta cookbook by Chef Einat Admony arrived.
I have eaten several times at Balaboosta in NYC. And by several I mean, so many times I probably cannot count. Never once did I leave disappointed. When a friend tells me they are going to eat at Balaboosta, I always reply “make sure to order the cauliflower – it is the best cauliflower you will ever eat!” For those that haven’t yet tasted the cauliflower, they always look at me a bit strange. I mean, how life-changing could a cauliflower dish really be? Well, it is.
And to my supreme happiness, Einat’s recipe for salty, sweet tangy “Cauliflower Everyone Loves” is included in the cookbook.
Balaboosta’s menu is deeply rooted in Mediterranean flavors, although I would really call it Israeli fare – not kosher, but inspired by Einat’s Persian Jewish roots: grind your own hummus at the table and then relish eating it up with fluffy pita. Fried olives with labne. And whole grilled fish, just to name a few of my favorite dishes.
The cookbook itself is a more of a hybrid, featuring the Mediterranean flavors of Balaboosta the restaurant, while also including some of Einat’s kids-friendly food ideas (bourekas, veggie chips and schnitzel fingers), romantic meals (coconut milk french toast, lamb chops with Persian lime sauce) and also her favorite healthy cooking options (butternut squash and saffron soup, pavlova with berry coulis). It also has an entire section dedicated to traditional, Israeli foods. Like the restaurant, not all the recipes are kosher, but there are so few dishes that include shellfish that I would recommend this cookbook to those who keep kosher (and don’t) without hesitation.
I expected to love the recipes in the Balaboosta cookbook. I didn’t expect to LOVE Einat’s stories about her family and food. For me a cookbook is about the recipes, not about the author. But I find myself unable to tear myself away from the authentic narrative sprinkled throughout her recipes.
Perhaps my favorite quote from Einat is her explanation of the Yiddish word ‘balaboosta’ and what it means to her:
Like my mom, my aunt Chana and the generations of balaboostas before then, I cook from the gut: no measuring cups, no scales. But unlike them, I see being a balaboosta not just a way to run a home but as a means of navigating the pitfalls of life with a courageous heart, a head filled with determination and a spirit of risk and adventure.
Every cookbook should have great recipes, and stories, that inspire even beyond the kitchen. So Chef Einat, thank you!
Balaboosta is available for pre-order on Amazon now and will be available on September 3rd. Will be a tad too late for Rosh Hashanah inspiration, but hopefully you can snag your copy in time for the remainder of the Jewish holidays this Fall and beyond.