People might wax poetic about the fall foliage or eagerly await summer, but the season I look forward to the most is Girl Scout Cookie season! New Years Diets are quickly forgotten…at the first sight of those adorable girls in green berets I squeal with excitement before buying so many boxes I have trouble carrying them away! My favorites include Samoas and Thin Mints, but I think we can all agree that there’s almost no better combination than sweet peanut butter and delectable shortbread cookie all wrapped in a smooth chocolate coating. Yes, my friends, it’s true. I am firmly on Team Tagalong.
As I was munching on some Tagalongs after work last week and glancing at my calendar at the upcoming holidays I realized it was pretty much my duty to all fellow Jewish food and Girl Scout cookie lovers to reinvent the Tagalong as a hamantaschen cookie. After a few attempts to perfect the recipe, I created an easy shortbread cookie dough, peanut butter filling and chocolate candy coating that my husband and friends couldn’t get enough of. It definitely tops the Chocolate Hamantaschen with Irish Crème Filling I created last year, and that one was pretty good.
One note of caution – don’t upgrade the ingredients! When testing this recipe, I discovered using chocolate bark made all the difference in mimicking the flavors of the Tagalong. You might be tempted to go for the high quality dark chocolate, but don’t! The chocolate bark thinly coats the shortbread dough and peanut butter filling for that amazing crunch and taste that you used to only be able to find in that beautiful red Tagalong box.
These Tagalong hamantaschen taste identical to the original Girl Scout cookie, but in a Purim-perfect package your friends and family will adore – Scouts’ honor!
For the shortbread hamantaschen dough:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/4c sugar
¼ cup cream or milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
2 ½ tsp baking powder
4 cup flour
For the Tagalong filling:
1 ½ cup peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1 cup chocolate candy bark
1 Tbsp cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Add eggs one at a time, then cream/milk and vanilla and blend until mixture is smooth. Fold in salt, baking powder and flour until just combined. Divide the dough into two discs, cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge while you make the fillings and egg wash.
Mix peanut butter and powdered sugar in a small mixing bowl until thoroughly combined.
Beat egg and cream well together until combined to make egg wash. Set aside.
Roll out the first disc of dough on a well floured surface. Cut circles with a floured drinking glass or cookie cutter as desired. Brush lightly with egg wash.
Place a teaspoon of the peanut butter mixture in the center of each circle. Fold into a triangular shape, pinching each corner firmly to seal. Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet and brush lightly with egg wash. Set in fridge to chill for 10 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough.
Bake chilled cookies at 350 degrees for 14-17 minutes, until golden brown.
While cookies bake, place the chocolate bark in a glass bowl. Microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring until melted.
Once the cookies are done, let them cool on the cookie sheet for 3-5 minutes and transfer to a cooling rack until cool to the touch. Dip the bottom of each cookie in the chocolate bark and set on parchment paper. Place back in fridge until chocolate is set.
Burekas are one of my favorite Israeli treats, and they are the perfect way to use up leftover mashed potatoes from your Thanksgiving dinner. This recipe is as easy and delicious as it gets – the best kind of recipe when you need a pick-me-up from all that Black Friday shopping. These are also fantastic during Shabbat dinner to serve with a salad course. You can even serve them with leftover gravy for a delicious dipping sauce.
I used a pareve (nondairy) phyllo dough in this recipe for ease, but you are welcome to make your favorite bureka dough if you prefer. You can also switch up the fillings with whatever leftovers you have on hand: turkey and cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes and even stuffing all make fantastic fillings.
1 package phyllo dough, defrosted
leftover mashed potatoes
1 egg + 1 Tbsp water
freshly ground black pepper
leftover gravy for dipping
Preheat oven to 350°.
Beat the egg with 1 Tbsp of water. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick cooking pad.
Roll out phyllo dough carefully to prevent splitting. I like to divide the layers of the phyllo in half so I can get four sheets instead of two. If the layers seem too brittle and dry, brush with vegetable oil. Working quickly, cut each sheet horizontally into 4 strips.
Lightly brush a strip with the egg wash. Place a scant teaspoon of mashed potatoes at the right end of the strip and fold the right bottom corner up and to the left to create a triangle shape. Continue wrapping the triangle into the remaining strip, being careful to preserve the triangle shape. Seal the end with egg wash if necessary and place end down on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat this process with the remaining strips.
Lightly brush the tops of the burekas with egg wash and sprinkle with dried thyme and freshly ground black pepper.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with warmed leftover gravy.
Thanksgiving is one of my family’s favorite holidays. Besides Passover, it is one of the only times we all come together during the year and so my mother and I get pretty excited about planning; we spend months working on the perfect place cards, décor, side dishes and desserts. We went all out for Thanksgivukkah last year creating this recipe for sweet potato latkes with toasted marshmallows.
This year we are very much in the midst of menu planning, and can’t wait to make this new dish for challah stuffing stuffed acorn squash, made with classic Thanksgiving flavors like squash, dried cranberries, thyme and even pecans.
This dish has a great “wow factor” due to its eye-catching presentation but is quite simple to make. You can even make it ahead of time to save time the day of Thanksgiving. This dish also serves as a great vegetarian entree for your guests.
4 acorn squashes
½ leftover challah loaf (about 2 cups cubed)
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces white mushrooms, chopped
2 tsp dried thyme
2 Tbsp soy sauce
½ cup toasted pecans, chopped
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup to 3/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth, as needed
Salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350°F. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet and set aside.
Cut challah into ½ inch cubes and place on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and use your hands to toss the challah pieces and distribute the oil evenly. Toast in the oven for 15-20 minutes, tossing once halfway through. Set the toasted challah cubes aside.
Cut 3/4 inch off the top of each acorn squash and carefully scoop out the seeds and strings of each squash. Cut a sliver off the bottom of each squash and place them on the baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, generously season with salt and pepper, and replace the top of each squash, leaving room for steam to escape. Bake for 40 minutes.
Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-heat heat and sauté the diced onion until translucent. Add the mushrooms and thyme, stirring until the mushrooms brown. Add garlic.
Once no liquid is left in the pan, deglaze the pan with soy sauce. Add cranberries, pecans, challah and vegetable broth, stirring until the vegetable broth is absorbed and the mixture starts to come together. You can add additional broth if the mixture is too dry to come together. Add salt and pepper as needed.
Stuff the squash with the challah mixture until slightly mounded. Place the top of each squash next to its body. Bake the squash and stuffing for 25-30 minutes, until the stuffing is lightly browned and the flesh of the squash can be pierced easily with a fork. Place the top of each squash on top of the stuffing to serve.
Holiday gatherings are always hectic, but Rosh Hashanah seems especially so. It’s easy to get stressed out with preparations, the start of the school year and the marathon of holidays that continue popping up for the rest of the month.
To prevent what my mother calls “the crazies,” she serves this festive cocktail as family and friends arrive for our holiday meal. Nontraditional? Yes. Effective? YES. This Jew Year’s Eve Punch is one of her favorite tricks to ensure a smooth and joyful beginning to the New Year.
Perfect for the High Holiday celebrations from Rosh Hashanah through Sukkot this delicious punch incorporates the sweet flavors of apple and honey into an easy-to-make and easy-to-love drink. You can make this with or without alcohol (we often mix two versions to make sure our guests have a non-alcoholic option) and it is always a hit. Serve your Jew Year’s Eve Punch in a large punch bowl or in individual glasses, garnished with a thinly sliced apple round and honey “swizzle stick” like these.
1 quart Apple Cider
1 quart Ginger Ale
2 cups Honey Bourbon
1-2 granny smith apples, cut into slices
Honey sticks (optional)
Chill apple cider, ginger ale and bourbon if using.
Pour apple cider, ginger ale and bourbon into large pitcher or punch bowl and add ice and apple slices.
Garnish individual glasses with an apple slice and honey stick if desired.
I am always ready to bake up treats for an outdoor picnic celebration. And Lag B’omer, the 33rd day of the Omer, is a time to celebrate friends, families and the change in seasons. It is traditional to have a bonfire on this joyous day, and so what better to have at around the campfire than s’mores rugelach.
Of course these sweet, gooey rugelach are perfect for any outdoor celebration or summertime gathering, campfire or not. But I must warn you: they are so addictive you may have a hard time sharing.
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2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
¼ cup sugar
¼ tsp salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cup marshmallow fluff
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 ¼ cup crushed graham cracker crumbs
1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water for egg wash
Cream the butter and cream cheese together in a mixer until light. Add sugar and salt. With the mixer on its lowest speed, add the flour ½ cup at a time until a dough forms.
Place dough onto a well floured surface and shape into a ball. Cut the ball into quarters and wrap each with plastic. Chill in the refrigerator until firm, about 1 hour. If making ahead of time, you can also freeze the dough at this point.
Right before you’re ready to take the dough out, prepare the marshmallow filling. Place 2 cups of the marshmallow fluff in a medium size microwavable bowl. Microwave for 10-15 seconds so that the fluff becomes easier to spread.
On a well floured surface, roll each ball out into a 8 inch circle. This dough can be sticky, so sprinkle more flour as necessary. Spread the marshmallow fluff across the dough in a thin layer. Sprinkle ¼ cup of mini chocolate chips and ¼ c crushed graham crackers. Use a pizza cutter to cut the circle into 12 wedges. Start by slicing the circle into quarters and then slice thirds into each quarter to ensure your rugelach will be evenly sized. Roll each wedge up, starting with the wider side.
Place cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush each cookie with egg wash and sprinkle with remaining graham cracker crumbs.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes until browned. Let cool on a wire rack and enjoy.
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Hamantaschen are the traditional treat of the holiday of Purim. These delicious cookies remind us of our sweet victory over Haman, a villain with a triangular shaped hat who attempted to kill the Jews of Persia. Hamantaschen cookies are usually filled with poppy seeds or jam, but when I found out that Purim fell over St Patrick’s Day Weekend this year, I knew a recipe mash-up was a must!
I toyed with the idea of dying the hamantaschen dough green or picking a green filling — lime curd or Andes mint chocolate both sounded like delicious options. However, in the end I settled on incorporating the flavor of Irish creme liqueur. These Irish hamantschen have a crisp chocolate cookie crust that gives way to a rich and creamy spiked center. My take on the traditional Purim cookie is easy to make and pairs wonderfully with a cup of coffee
Having trouble folding your cookies? Try this tutorial if you’re having trouble!
For the dough:
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
2 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ cup vegetable shortening
¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
½ cup irish crème liqueur
2 tsp vanilla extract
For the filling:
16 oz cream cheese (2 8oz packages)
½ cup sugar
1/4 cup Irish crème liqueur
For the topping:
1 egg + 1 Tbsp water, beaten
In a medium bowl, mix cocoa powder, flour, salt and baking powder. Set aside.
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to combine the shortening, butter and sugar. Add eggs and blend until smooth. Add liqueur and vanilla.
Fold in dry ingredient mixture until a dough forms. Do not overmix. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and form a large ball. Divide in half, wrap each half in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes.
While dough is chilling, prepare cheesecake filling. Blend cream cheese and sugar. Add Irish crème and the eggs one at a time, blending thoroughly after each egg.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Whisk remaining egg and 1 tbsp water together to create an egg glaze.
Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface until thin, around ¼ inch. Cut 3 ½ inch rounds with a cup or cookie cutter and brush round with beaten egg glaze. Fill each round with a teaspoon of Irish crème filling. Pinch corners together to create a triangular shape. Brush pastries again with the egg glaze.
Bake until golden brown (17 to 21 minutes).
Reprinted courtesy of www.thebigfatjewishwedding.
When I was brainstorming my Thanksgivukkah menu I kept dwelling on one of my favorite childhood holiday dishes – what my family calls “Sweet Potato Yum Yum” (or what another family might call sweet potato casserole). You are probably familiar with the heavenly combination of pureed sweet potatoes, margarine, brown sugar and spices, topped with marshmallows and baked to sweet, melted perfection.
Combining the flavors from my family’s Sweet Potato Yum Yum into individual-sized sweet potato latkes topped with toast marshmallows seemed like the perfect crowd-pleasing dish to mark this once-in-a-lifetime holiday. And it is. Happy Thanksgivukkah!
Reprinted courtesy of www.thebigfatjewishwedding.com
1 lb sweet potatoes
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
½ tsp salt
1 heaping tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 Tbsp brown sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
Peel and coarsely grate the sweet potatoes.
Place grated potatoes in a dish towel and wring out as much excess liquid as possible. This step is key to making sure your latkes are crispy. In a medium bowl stir together potatoes, flour, salt, pumpkin pie spice and brown sugar. Lightly beat eggs in a small bowl. Fold eggs into potato mixture until combined.
Heat oil in a deep skillet over moderately high heat.
Check to see if oil is hot enough by putting a small drop of the potato mixture in the oil. If it starts bubbling it is ready for frying.
Spoon approximately 1/8 cup potato mixture per latke into the oil. Flatten with a spatula and don’t crowd the pan otherwise the latkes won’t crispy properly.
Reduce heat to medium and cook until golden brown, about 1- 2 minutes per side.
Transfer latkes to a cookie rack to cool.
Turn on your oven’s broiler. Place latkes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and top each latke with marshmallows. Place latkes with marshmallows in the oven and watch carefully to make sure the marshmallows don’t brown too much.
Once marshmallows toasted until just brown, remove from oven and serve.