Category Archives: Uncategorized

Green Lasagna

Yield:
6-8 servings

I grew up eating lots of very traditional Italian-American lasagna, baked ziti and anything else you could cover in homemade tomato sauce and cheese. And I loved it – I mean who doesn’t!? Garfield the cat was even one of my heroes growing up. I always appreciated his feisty-ness towards his sibling (Odie), his appreciation of napping and of course his love of lasagna.

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In the past few years I have yearned for lasagnas with a little more flair, and a little less sauce. I have made a white pumpkin lasagna, and a white lasagna with spinach and pine nuts. I have included a béchamel, and left it out. I have even experimented with different kinds of cheeses.

As the greens of spring have taken over at my local farmer’s market, a lasagna recipe was once again creeping into my head. Peas, fresh herbs…something was simmering.

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When I suggested a puree of spring peas with herbs basked into a creamy lasagna, my husband was less than enthusiastic. He responded to the idea saying, “Um..ok. I guess let’s see how it turns out.”

I love it when my husband has to admit he was wrong, and in the case of this lasagna, he had to concede defeat as he shoveled another bite into his mouth. And though I actually hate peas, this lasagna is absolutely out of this world, creamy and full of fresh spring flavors. It’s also perfect for a Shavuot celebration. Pair with a crisp glass of white wine and a simple mixed green salad and you have a complete meal especially appropriate for a June lunch.

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I actually ended up making this recipe two ways. Once with regular, store-bough lasagna noodles which was delicious. And a second version with homemade spinach noodles. You can try either – they were both creamy, lighter than you might think and really yummy. It really depends on the amount of work you want to put in. Making your own noodles is delicious, but much more time consuming.

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Green Lasagna

Ingredients

8 ounces whole milk ricotta

8 ounces mascarpone cheese (or another 8 ounces of ricotta)

12 ounces mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated

¼ cup grated parmesan

1 egg

2 cups fresh or frozen peas

2 Tbsp butter, melted

1 Tbsp fresh mint

1 Tbsp fresh parsley

1 Tbsp fresh basil

Salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil

12-15 lasagna noodles or homemade spinach noodles

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Boil a large pot of salted water. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to the pot as the water is coming to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles as directed, around 7-8 minutes. Drain water and layer noodles on a baking sheet drizzled with a smidge of olive oil to prevent sticking. You can also put sheets of parchment paper in between noodles.

In a food processor fitted with blade attachment, pulse peas, herbs and melted butter until desired smoothness.

In a large bowl mix together ricotta, mascarpone, all but 1 cup of the grated mozzarella, parmesan, fresh herbs, egg and the pea mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Mix until just combined.

Drizzle bottom of a 9X13 baking with olive oil. Layer lasagna noodles so that they overlap just slightly on top of one another. The bottom layer should be 4 noodles. Layer about a third of the cheese-pea mixture on top and smooth using a spatula or back of a spoon.

Repeat with three layers. On top of the third layer of noodles, add the remaining grated mozzarella, a sprinkle of salt and pepper and another drizzle of olive oil.

Cover with tin foil.

Bake for 25-30 minutes covered. Remove foil. Bake for another 10 minutes or until cheese on top is melted and slightly bubbly. Allow to cool before cutting.

Posted on May 29, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Gluten-Free Blintzes

Yield:
14-16 blintzes

Many of us have seasonal associations with Jewish holidays. The High Holidays and Sukkot: crisp, fall weather, a perfect time for a spiritual cleanse before we head into winter, Hanukkah: dark and cold winter, and a holiday of light to brighten the darkness, and of course, Passover: springtime and rebirth to signify freedom from slavery. My personal associations with Shavuot were always about the end of the school year and summer being just around the corner.

blintzes-stamped

As a child, my family usually headed to Atlantic Beach, NY to celebrate Shavuot with my grandparents and revel in the end of another school year. I have fond memories of walking home from shul with my Saba, salty breeze blowing, to devour my Savta’s famous blintzes. The streets in Atlantic Beach are ordered alphabetically and, stomach rumbling, I’d count down: Oneida, Putnam…I just looked at Google Maps, and it turns out the shul was only three blocks away

v at the beach

My grandparents have since passed away, and their house has been sold, but those memories live on. I’d like to think that my Savta would approve of these blintzes, though they are completely gluten-free (sorry, Savta!). The trick to these is a heavy, high-quality crepe pan, to ensure a thin and evenly cooked crepe. I use the DeBuyer Iron pan.

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Gluten-Free Blintzes

Ingredients

For the crepes:

240 grams/2 cups of your favorite gluten-free flour mix

OR

90 grams white rice flour

50 grams quinoa flour

100 grams tapioca flour

1 tsp psyllium husk

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 cup milk (regular, soy, or almond milk will all work)

2 large eggs

1 Tbsp grapeseed or other vegetable oil, plus more for frying

For the filling:

3 egg yolks

1 lb farmer cheese (if farmer cheese is not readily available, you can also use ricotta)

1/2 lb cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup or more sugar, to taste

zest of 1 lemon

jam, sour cream, or your other favorite toppings

Directions

If you are mixing flours yourself, measure and mix ahead of time into a small bowl. Whisk milk, eggs, and  tablespoon of oil together in a medium mixing bowl and add the flour slowly, whisking as you go. Whisk until the batter is smooth and has no large pieces.

Heat your crepe pan on high with about a teaspoon of oil.

Make your crepes with about ¼ cup of batter, spreading it around as quickly as possible to get it as thin as you can. Cook on each side for about 2 minutes apiece, flipping with a metal spatula. The timing of this will depend on the kind of pan you use and how hot it is. Each side should be just slightly browned. These crepes are sturdy and can be piled on top of one another as you finish cooking them.

Mix together all the ingredients for your filling.

Take each crepe, 1 at a time, spoon 2-3 heaping tablespoons of filling on the bottom third, fold the bottom edge of the pancake up and over the filling, fold the sides in, and roll up into a slim roll.

To bake, put the blintzes side by side in a greased oven dish and bake at 375 oven for 20 minutes. To fry, heat about half an inch of grapeseed or vegetable oil in a frying pan, and when the oil is hot, fry each blintz for about 4 minutes on each side, until browned.

Cool on a paper bag to absorb excess oil. Serve with jam, fruit, sour cream, or other toppings.

Posted on May 28, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Dishes for Memorial Day Weekend

The long weekend is finally here and I am ready for some relaxing. I am also ready for the start of outdoor picnics, barbecues and other summer gatherings.

Struggling with what to make? We’ve got some ideas to wow your guests all weekend long. So turn on the grill, open some wine and take a deep breath, And maybe a big sip of a cocktail.

strawberry lemonade martini

Strawberry Lemonade Martini

Peachy Summer White Sangria

grilled artichokes 1Grilled Artichokes

Israeli Salad

Spring Quinoa with Pesto and Greens

Watermelon Corn Salsa

salsa

Spinach Steak Salad with Mango Peach Salsa

Fried Chicken

Ultimate Kosher Burgers

Roast Chicken with Spicy Honey BBQ Sauce

bbq-honey-chicken-2

Pretzel Ice Cream Pie

Berry Crumble Pie

berry crumble pie1

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Posted on May 22, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Roast Chicken with Spicy Honey BBQ Sauce

Yield:
1 whole chicken

Summer is almost here. I can feel it. Every time we get a warmer day the women of NYC are giddy with sandal wearing and summertime accessories. The flowers are blooming, the farmer’s markets have returned and the season of grilling is almost upon us.

Growing up, BBQ sauce-slathered chicken was a staple, probably only because covering chicken in a sticky, sweet sauce was a surefire way to get the kids to eat it. But at some point I fell out of love with “BBQ chicken.”

bbq-honey-chicken-2

That is until I started making my own sauce. I have had some great bottled BBQ sauce, and I know some people swear by their go-to brand. But for me, making it from scratch makes all the difference between good chicken, and chicken people can’t stop talking about.

This spicy honey BBQ sauce is really quick to whip up and is inspired by this recipe from Taste of Home, one of my go-to places for tried-and-true home cooked dishes. I kept the coffee in, which really adds just a subtle flavor and balances out the sweetness of the honey and ketchup well.

This chicken is perfect for Shabbat and also for a summer BBQ. I promise, your guests will not stop talking about it.

Note: if you don’t have an upright chicken roaster I recommend investing in one like this. They are really cheap (less than $10) and make such a difference making a super moist chicken with crispy skin.

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Roast Chicken with Spicy Honey BBQ Sauce

Ingredients

For the chicken:

1 whole chicken

¼ cup orange juice

2 Tbsp olive oil

2 garlic cloves, smashed

Salt and pepper

For the BBQ sauce:

2 Tbsp olive oil

½ medium onion, finely diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup ketchup

½ cup apple cider vinegar

½ cup plus 2 Tbsp honey

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cup strong brewed coffee or espresso

Generous pinch red pepper flakes or 1-2 small dried chilies

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a medium bowl mix together orange juice, olive oil, garlic cloves, salt and pepper. Place chicken in a large, ziploc bag and pour marinade over chicken. Allow to marinate for at least one hour in the fridge or up to 3 hours.

In a medium saucepan, saute onions until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Stir in ketchup, vinegar, honey, soy sauce and coffee. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low-medium. Simmer for 35-45 minutes stirring occasionally.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Roast chicken upright using an upright roaster for 50-60 minutes or until meat thermometer reads 160 degrees when inserted. About halfway through roasting, brush some of the BBQ sauce all over the chicken and place back into the oven until cooking time is complete.

Allow the chicken to rest long enough to cut into quarters. Drizzle additional BBQ sauce on top and serve.

Posted on May 21, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Black & White Cookie Cheesecake

Yield:
1 9-inch cheesecake

There are two foods that are just quintessential New York City to me. Cheesecake, and black and white cookies. Well, and bagels. And pizza. Is coffee a food? But if we’re talking desserts, it’s cheesecake and black and whites all the way.

Black-and-White-Cheescake-1

I have been known to whip up some brownies on a whim or throw together a dozen cupcakes like it’s nobody’s business. But cheesecake is an all day affair. The long baking time and cooling does not match my impatient manner. Waiting until the next day to dive in? Fuhgettaboutit! So I usually only bake one for special occasions. Like Shavuot, a holiday where you are basically commanded to eat cheesecake. But this creation is a game changer. I’m going to need cheesecake a lot more often. Just in time for boat season.

Black-and-White-Cookie-5

I thought about simply decorating a cheesecake in black and white cookies, but I wanted more. I wanted the cheesecake to literally become a black and white cookie. So I started with a cakey crust in place of a traditional graham cracker one. Over that are layers of vanilla and chocolate cheesecake laced with lemon. On top? Oh icing, but of course. Instead of the classic one black and one white side, I made a crazy pattern. Because this is a crazy kind of cake. But you do what you like!

Black-and-White-Cookie-3

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Black and White Cookie Cheesecake

Ingredients

For the crust:

¼ cup granulated sugar

3 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened

1 large egg

½ cup whole milk

½ tsp vanilla extract

½ lemon, zested

½ cup cake flour

¼ tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

 

For the cheesecake:

4 (8-ounce) packages of full-fat cream cheese

½ cup granulated sugar

1 cup sour cream

¾ cup milk

4 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

Zest from one lemon

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 4-ounce chocolate bar melted and cooled

 

For the icings:

1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

1 ½ Tbsp corn syrup

2 tsp lemon juice

¼ tsp vanilla

1 Tbsp water

1/4 cup cocoa powder

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and position lower rack in the oven.

Prepare a 9-inch springform pan by greasing well with butter.  Wrap foil tightly around the outside of the pan to block water from the water bath from getting in. Make sure there are no holes.

To make the crust, mix sugar and butter together with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. About 2-3 minutes. Then add in the egg, whole milk, vanilla extract and lemon zest.

In a separate bowl, combine cake flour, baking powder and salt. Stir into wet ingredients until combined.

Spoon batter into the pan and bake for 15 minutes until just brown along the edges. Let cool in the pan while you make the cheesecake.

In a large bowl, use a hand mixer to whip cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. Then mix in sour cream and then milk. Then mix in eggs one at a time just until combined.

Stir in vanilla and lemon zest and then stir in flour until combined.

Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan over cooled crust, and then add cooled melted chocolate to the other half and incorporate. Pour remaining batter over the vanilla layer making sure batter should not reach the top of the pan.

Place the foil-wrapped pan in a large roasting pan with high sides. Pour boiling water until it reaches halfway up the cheesecake pan to make a water bath. Place on the lower rack and bake for 1 hour. You can also pour the boiling water in the pan after the cheesecake is set up in the oven in the roasting pan. Either way, don’t burn yourself!

Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Turn the oven off, and let cake cool in oven with the door closed for 5 hours to prevent cracking. Then chill in the refrigerator overnight, or at least 4 hours.

To make the icing, mix together confectioner’s sugar, corn syrup, lemon juice, vanilla and water.

Transfer half of the icing to another bowl and add cocoa powder. Add more water if needed to get desired consistency. Frost as desired and chill cheesecake in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

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Posted on May 19, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Jewish, Japanese, and Delicious

I am all too familiar with a story like Francesca Biller’s, who shares this week what it’s like to be Japanese and Jewish, especially where the kitchen is concerned. As an Italian-Jewish hybrid myself, I love exploring how to create mash-up combinations of classic Jewish food with Mediterranean flavors. Balsamic Apple Date Challah anyone?

Francesca-(Udon)

Franseca grew up with charoset and mandelbrodt served alongside chicken gyoza and udon noodles. What a lucky lady!

And we are lucky too, because she shared two of her family’s Japanese-Jewish mash-ups on the Jewish& diversity blog this week, including Chicken Udon Noodle Soup. Just when you thought chicken soup couldn’t get any better.

Posted on May 14, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

S’mores Rugelach

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.

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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.

Smores-stamp-2

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S'mores Rugelach

Ingredients

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

Directions

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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Posted on May 13, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Spring Zucchini Kugel

Yield:
12 servings

I didn’t grow up eating kugel. Ok, maybe let me rephrase that.

My grandmother made noodle kugel, but it was almost always dried out and as a kid I was usually too scared to actually eat it. Thankfully I married into a family with an arsenal of great kugel recipes including my husband’s grandmother’s Salt and Pepper Noodle Kugel and his mother’s Cakey Crunch Sweet Potato Kugel. And now I really love kugel, and have been trying my hand at making kugel more and more.

spring-kugel-2For the last few weeks, green has been everywhere, especially in the abundance of springtime vegetables at the farmer’s markets and grocery store. And as I have been watching the spring veggies arrive, I was trying to imagine how to incorporate the flavors of Spring into kugel.

Zucchini kugel is delicious by itself, but add some fresh, bright herbs like basil and mint, and you have an updated dish perfect for Spring. If basil and mint doesn’t quite appeal to your taste buds, you could also use fresh parsley for a more subtle flavor.

spring-kugel-3

Note: after sauteing the zucchini, make sure to drain as much liquid out as possible. If there is too much liquid in the zucchini, the kugel will turn out a mushy mess.

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Spring Zucchini Kugel

Ingredients

5 medium zucchini

olive oil

salt and pepper

4 eggs

2 tsp fresh lemon zest

1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil

1 Tbsp chopped fresh mint

1/2 cup matzo meal

1/2 Tbsp salt

2 tsp black pepper

Directions

Using a spiralizer or vegetable peeler, make long noodles out of zucchini.

Heat 1-2 Tbsp olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Saute zucchini in batches for 3-4 minutes each until soft and slightly translucent. Add a pinch of salt and pepper with each batch.

Place the cooked zucchini in a colander and drain excess liquid. Make sure to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a 9x13 baking dish, add another 2 Tbsp olive oil to the dish and place in the oven to heat up while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

In a large bowl whisk the eggs with mint, basil, salt, pepper and matzo meal. Add zucchini and stir gently until completely mixed.

After oil has heated in pan around 5-10 minutes, add zucchini mixture to pan. Using a spatula or the back of a spoon smooth out top.

Bake for 45-55 minutes or until edges are crispy and the kugel is set in the middle. You may need to drain off excess oil and liquid and place back into the oven for additional 5-10 minutes.

Once kugel has cooked through, remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting. Serve at room temperature or warm.

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Posted on May 12, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

When Mother’s Day Sucks

This week someone asked me what kind of goodies I would be posting for Mother’s Day. And I really wanted to satisfy them and share something decadent, springtime-appropriate, and delicious. Like these banana chocolate chip muffins I posted last year.

But the truth is, I hate Mother’s Day. My mother passed away when I was 16 during the month of April, so springtime has always been the most difficult time of year for me.

Mom and shan on 1st bday

I dread Mother’s Day each year, even now that I have a daughter. Maybe even more so.  I see cute cards, mugs, menu ideas and emails from my favorite restaurants all telling me how exciting it is that Mother’s Day is soon arriving. But I would prefer to crawl into bed, put the covers over my head and wake up the following day. Because not only do I not have my own mother to share the day with, but Mother’s Day is now also a reminder that my daughter doesn’t have my mother as a grandmother.

We are used to hearing about the extreme commercialization of Valentine’s Day, but Mother’s Day shares many similarities: it’s an American, consumer-driven holiday which encourages people to spend money on gifts, flowers, and other items which ultimately can cause those not celebrating to feel extremely disconnected, or even depressed. And it’s not that people shouldn’t express gratitude and love towards their mothers, grandmothers, aunts and other special women; absolutely they should. I think this can happen on lots of occasions throughout the year, not only when the TV, radio, magazine ads and society around us is yelling at us that we MUST do it.

Because what if you are like me, and you don’t have a mother or a special woman in your life you want to celebrate? What if you don’t get along with your mother? What if your mother was abusive, neglectful, or otherwise inadequate?

What if you are experiencing fertility problems and desperately want to become a mother, but can’t? What if you’re single, or divorced, and feel alone in raising your children? What if you’ve lost a child? There are any number of reasons why Mother’s Day can just leave people feeling isolated and sad that they can’t or don’t want to participate in the merriment.

Last year my husband planned a special picnic for just me, my daughter and my younger sister, who I’ve had the joy and struggles of raising like a daughter. And while the day was still tinged with sadness, it was simple and low key enough that it felt just right. Or, at the very least, not contrived.

mothers day w Ella 2013

See, I am even smiling.

This year, weather permitting, we are hoping to make a trip to Alstede Farm in Chester, New Jersey, a favorite new spot for me and my family where we enjoy picking fruit and vegetables and hanging with farm animals all Summer and Fall. So while the day may still be tinged with sadness, at least I can feel close to nature and enjoy some fresh springtime vegetables.

And who knows, maybe I will have a new Mother’s Day recipe to share after all.

Posted on May 7, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Nutella Babka

Yield:
three loaves

I didn’t grow up baking or even eating babka. Coffee cake, definitely. Banana bread was a staple. But babka just wasn’t something around. When I did finally taste babka as a teenager, I thought: “Where have you been all my life?” Chocolatey, chewy and slightly gooey—it was a perfect Shabbat morning breakfast treat with a cup of tea or coffee.

nutella-babka-2

Recently I’ve been itching to recreate babka at home. I mean, I bake challah every week. Why shouldn’t I tackle babka? But it was harder than I thought. I tried the recipe from Jerusalem. And it was great. But not quite what I was hoping to create.

And then I came across two other recipes: one from Orly Ziv’s Cook in Israel and one from a blog I came across on Instagram: Ba-Li cravings.

nutella-babka-1

My recipe is really a combination of Orly’s genius idea to stuff a babka with nutella, Ba-li’s tried-and-true dough which I have updated only slightly and a technique from Jerusalem that ensures that ooey gooey babka taste and texture we all crave.

This recipe is easily pareve-erized. (Yes, you can make this nondairy.) You can either buy a nondairy hazelnut spread or you can also make your own using a recipe like this one.

It’s perfect to enjoy with a cup of tea of coffee. Or, if you’re like my daughter, you’ll just dig right in.

nutella-babka-5

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Nutella Babka

Ingredients

4 ½ cups flour

1/3 cup sugar

1 Tbsp yeast

1 tsp sugar

½ cup lukewarm water

¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp butter or margarine, melted

½ cup milk or almond milk

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

Chocolate hazelnut spread such as Nutella

2/3 cup water

1 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Directions

Place yeast and sugar in a small bowl. Add lukewarm water and set aside until foamy, around 5-10 minutes.

In a stand mixer fitted with dough hook, mix together flour, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon.  In a separate bowl, mix together melted butter (or margarine) and milk (or almond milk).

Put mixer on low and begin adding the water yeast mixture, then the butter-milk mixture. Add the eggs one at a time.

When the dough begins to come together, after about 3-5 minutes, raise the speed to high and mix for another 5-10 minutes until the dough is shiny and elastic.

Place dough in a greased bowl with a damp towel on top. Allow to rise until it has doubled, about 1-2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut dough into three equal parts. Roll out dough until it is a rectangular-like shape. Spread with chocolate-hazelnut spread. Working from the longest side, roll up dough using quick fingers, like you would in order to make cinnamon rolls.

Once the dough is a long log, cut it straight down the middle so the filling is exposed. Secure the ends on one side, and twist both the pieces . Pinch and secure at the other end.

Place in a greased loaf pan.

Bake for 35 minutes.

While the babka is baking, combine 2/3 cup water, 1 cup sugar and 1 tsp vanilla in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Once it comes to a boil, remove from heat and swirl around to ensure all the sugar is dissolved.

About 20-25 minutes into baking, spoon about half the syrup onto the baking babkas.

When you take the babkas out of the oven after they have baked completely, immediately drizzle or brush the remaining syrup on top of all three babkas. It may seem like a lot of syrup, but this ensures a moist and gooey babka.

Posted on May 5, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

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