Tag Archives: dessert

Lemon Sponge Cake with Candied Citrus

Passover brings the same challenge each year – especially for the baker. That is, how to make an array of delicious and unique desserts – without the use of flour (or any other leavening ingredients, for that matter). This task is additionally complicated by the fact that dairy is often off-limits too.

citrus sponge cake 3So when I find a recipe that works – and that my family agrees is a “keeper” – I tend to bring it back year after year. And this sponge cake is no exception. Moist and deeply flavorful, I am a big fan of this classic Passover dessert. It comes out consistently delicious and keeps for days, too.

citrus sponge cake 1But – aside from the same-old dusting of powdered sugar (the kosher-for-Passover kind, of course!), it lacked that “wow” factor. So a few years ago I candied some orange and lemon slices and placed them on top – for a pretty presentation that looked lovely on our table.

Making candied citrus slices is super easy – and can provide a quick garnish for any dessert!

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Note: The recipe for the sponge cake is inspired by this recipe from Epicurious

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Lemon Sponge Cake with Candied Citrus

Posted on March 24, 2015

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

Raspberry Swirl Chocolate Torte with Pecan Crust

Yield:
8-10 servings

Passover desserts can really be the worst. Canned macaroons. Dry cake. And while I know many people who love it, super rich flourless chocolate cake is just not my thing. I don’t enjoy how dense it is, even if i love chocolate. And I do love chocolate.

chocolate raspberry torte for Passover

Instead of the traditional, flourless chocolate cake, I wanted to create a chocolate dessert that was a bit lighter, while still remaining rich and chocolaty. The raspberry jam adds a slight tang to the torte, and pecan crust lends a nice crunch. I literally could not stop eating this, and so I gave it to my neighbors to eat instead. Suckers.

Note: After you bake the pecan crust it might look a little funny, like it didn’t work – almost a little too bubbly. I was also worried when I made it, but it is totally fine. I would also recommend topping your torte with fresh raspberries and even a few sprigs of mint for an extra beautiful presentation.

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Raspberry Swirl Chocolate Torte with Pecan Crust

Posted on March 19, 2015

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

Oatmeal Lace Cookies

I am over the snow and so is the rest of Boston where I live. Each morning I wake up hoping that just a little bit of the snow melted and maybe, just maybe there would be one strand of grass in sight. Each morning I wake up and I am disappointed that not only has the snow remained taller than I am, but it is so cold that besides work there is very little to get me out of the house.

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At the start of this crazy Boston winter I vowed not to fall into a string of baking days. In fact, I started by focusing on cleaning out closets, organizing my computer, and catching up on laundry. I met up with friends to go on walks, took the dog to the park, and shoveled more snow than I knew could even fall from the sky – and I’m Canadian.

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As the days got colder and the snow continued to grace us with its presence baking seemed like the only logical thing to do. Beyond the fact that standing near the oven would help me stay warm in my freezing apartment, I wanted to bake something for my co-workers. Smiles in Boston are hard to find right now and these cookies, these cookies certainly helped.

They are so crunchy yet delicate, sweet with a hint of saltiness. Did I mentioned they are non-dairy and gluten-free too!?

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Oatmeal Lace Cookies

Posted on March 9, 2015

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

Triple Chocolate Hamantaschen

Yield:
2 dozen

Just when you thought you were sick of hamantaschen recipes I have one more. But it’s worth it, I promise.

triple chocolate hamantaschen

When people talk about hamantaschen it’s always about the filling: classics like poppy and apricot or more updated fillings like fluff or peanut butter and jelly. I love getting creative with the fillings (speculoos hamantaschen anyone?) but this year I also wanted to give a little love and attention to the dough. And what better ingredient to include than chocolate.

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Once you have made your chocolate dough you can still get creative with the fillings, although my favorite was the delicious and easy nutella filling which perfectly complimented the dark cocoa powder in the dough and the sweeter white chocolate drizzle on top.  But you could also try filling the chocolate dough with raspberry jam, peanut butter or even halva.

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Triple Chocolate Hamantaschen

Posted on February 24, 2015

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

Rosewater and Pistachio Hamantaschen

Yield:
Around 1 1/2 dozen cookies

Each year as Purim approaches food bloggers like me scramble to find the most unique, creative and sometimes bizarre ways to make “hamantaschen.” I would be lying if I said I was immune to this pressure. But I have taken this annual challenge as an opportunity to focus on delicious flavor combinations for hamantaschen, not just crazy ideas, hence my most recent recipe: Speculoos hamantaschen which pretty much blew my chocolate ganache and salted caramel hamantaschen out of the water.

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I was also thinking about color this year, and the Persian-inspired combination of rosewater and pistachio. Since picking up rosewater in Israel this past summer, I have tried using it in a number of dishes. I really love the subtle, fragrant flavor, although I have also learned that a little goes a long way: it can pack quite an overwhelming floral punch if you use too much.

Since the Purim story of Esther, Mordechai and Haman takes place in ancient Persia, what better flavors to use than rosewater and pistachio? You will love the rich yet subtle flavor of these treats, plus the color is just so pretty you can’t help but be thrilled to see these lined up on a platter at a Purim party.

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Rosewater and Pistachio Hamantaschen

Posted on February 18, 2015

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

Tagalong Hamantaschen

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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.

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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!

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Tagalong Hamantaschen

Posted on February 17, 2015

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

Rice Krispies Treats Hamantaschen

Yield:
2 dozen treats

As a former chef and pastry chef I had many delicious sweet and savory treats in mind to turn into hamantaschen for this year. But I wanted to keep it simple enough to recreate in a home kitchen, yet something different to also get people excited about Purim and hamantaschen of course too.

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Rice Krispies treats on a stick are always one of the most popular items I sell from my dessert company, and so it felt only natural to turn these into a Purim delight for the whole family to enjoy.

The best part about this recipe is that there is no oozing of filling, no seams of the dough breaking, and NO BAKING. This recipe may be different than your average Rice Krispies Treat since there is no fluff involved. The authentic way to make Rice Krispies Treats uses real marshmallows melted with a little butter to insure a crunchy, not too sweet and absolutely delicious dessert.

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To use these in your mishloach manot I recommend heading to Amazing Savings or Michael’s to get some cute treat bags to store them. Include a packet of hot chocolate mix and you have yourself an easy and delicious s’mores-themed mishloach manot.

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Rice Krispie Treat Hamantaschen

Posted on February 10, 2015

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

Speculoos Hamantaschen

speculoos hamantaschen1 text

Speculoos, or European cookie butter, seems to be all the rage these days. Trader Joe’s makes their own brand and also has several speculoos related products including a chocolate bar and even flavored cookies. Food52 has a recipe for making your own cookie butter and Kitchen-Tested has a vegan recipe as well. I bought mine at Target, but I wager most major supermarkets will have it in stock.

I don’t always fall into trends, but I will admit: speculoos cookie butter is delicious and addictive. It is sweet, it tastes like a cookie but has the smooth, creamy consistency of peanut butter. I am not one to eat peanut butter right out of the jar, but dear god help me if I see a spoon near a jar of speculoos.

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And so, it seemed perfectly obvious when my husband suggested a speculoos filled hamantaschen. I went to work right away, filling each triangle and then drizzling the finished product in dark chocolate and topped with pearl sugar. After all, a European cookie butter hamantaschen needs an extra sophisticated topping. I also added a pinch of thick sea salt to take the sweet flavors up a notch.

Note: the speculoos will spread a lot when it is baked, so make sure to pop your assembled cookies into the freezer for 5-10 minutes before baking. This will help ensure the cookies remain intact.

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Posted on February 9, 2015

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

Love and Pudding Pie

Yield:
6-8 servings

chocolate pudding pie1

My mom was always baking when I was growing up. Nothing complicated, in fact, quite the opposite: leftover slices of white bread became bread pudding, banana bread was a frequent way to use up mushy bananas and we even got scratch-made chocolate chip cookies on rainy days. But perhaps the dessert I remember most fondly is my mom’s pudding pie. Also uncomplicated, she would make it from a box of pudding mix and pour it into a graham cracker crust, with several bowls filled with the leftover pudding for us to enjoy. I even loved the thick skin that would form on top.

Fast forward, and chocolate pudding pie is now my husband’s favorite dessert that I make. I don’t know quite how long ago, but probably shortly after we were married his cousin gifted me the Williams Sonoma Baking Book which has become a go-to for lots of my own rainy day baking projects. I found this chocolate pudding pie recipe and have been making a slightly altered version ever since. In fact, it’s probably the dessert I make most frequently because I know how much my husband covets the dessert.

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Unlike my mom’s version, I do make the pudding from scratch using whole milk, egg yolks, corn starch and a few special spices. But true to my mom’s version, I prefer using a store-bought graham cracker, or sometimes when I am feeling like we need a little extra chocolate, a chocolate cookie crust, which makes this recipe pretty simple to whip up even at the last minute. The taste is a little more sophisticated than your average chocolate pudding, a little bit decadent and absolutely easy as pie.

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Spiced Chocolate Pudding Pie with Bourbon Whipped Cream

Posted on February 2, 2015

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Peppermint Hot Cocoa Challah

Yield:
1 large loaf or 2 smaller loaves

hot cocoa challah w text

The holiday season is sort of a strange time for me. Like many American Jews, I grew up celebrating both Christmas and Hanukkah. When I decided to firmly embrace my Jewish side, I felt like I had to give up Christmas and some of the secular joys of the holiday season. To complicate matters, Christmas reminds me terribly of my mother who passed away when I was sixteen, and so while it is a connection to her, it is a bittersweet memory.

My mom really got into holidays – all holidays – whether it was Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas, she was ready with some tacky earrings, decorative salt shakers and surely an ugly sweater or two as well. She loved Christmas music, and from early December through New Year’s we would be subjected to a rotation of possibly the two worst Christmas albums ever made: Johnny Matthis and Amy Grant. I cringe just thinking about those CDs of hers.

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Nevertheless, the season is bittersweet as I balance my desire to connect to these memories of my mother, participate in some kind of festive activities while maintaining the strong Jewish identity of my family. I admittedly tread a fine line: baking holiday cookies every year for my husband’s office, (though not in red or green or Santa shapes) listening to The Nutcracker with my daughter and combining the flavors of chocolate and peppermint in various forms to pay homage to the season. After all, should Christians really get to drink all the skinny peppermint mochas at Starbucks!?

Two years ago I started making a chocolate peppermint bundt cake that my husband and I absolutely adored. And while I have been whipping up lots of batches of peppermint hot cocoa for my little one, I wanted to take these flavors to the next level by adding them to, what else: challah.

What makes this challah so special is not only the deep dark chocolate dough, or the melty,chocolate chips inside, but also the super gooey marshmallows dotting the top. When my daughter spotted the finished product her eyes lit up and she wanted to break into the chocolaty masterpiece right away. Who am I to say no, especially when it makes for such an adorable picture. And yes, she is wearing her ballet costume because she had been practicing her Nutcracker dance moves.

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It may not be overtly Christmas-y, nor is it exactly what I did with my mother. But somehow creating something new, that touches upon the joy and spirit of the holiday season, brings me comfort, connects me to my past and allows me to create new memories for my family.

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Peppermint Hot Cocoa Challah

Posted on December 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