For some time now I had in my head that I wanted to make a brownie that involved halva, that delicious Middle Eastern sesame confection. I researched. I pondered.
And then when I got a jar of the brand-new Soomsoom Foods Tehina, I knew it was my sign to go for it. What I loved about using this particular sesame paste was the super smooth consistency, easy pour-ability and also the fantastic plastic container. Much less messy or tricky to open than the metal cans!
While I chose to sprinkle the halva pieces on top of the brownies, you could also mix them into the brownie batter itself, or make a double batch of the brownies and do a layer of brownie filled with the tahini-cream cheese filling. The possibilities are endless.
Want to make this “semi-homemade” or pareve? Use some tried-and-true store-bought brownie mix and mix as directed. Add 1/4 cup chocolate chips to batter, and sprinkle 1/2 cup crumbled halva on top for another variation.
For the halva-cream cheese layer:
5 oz cream cheese
2 Tbsp butter, softened
¼ cup sugar
1 Tbsp flour
½ cup tahini
For the brownie layer:
¾ cups flour
1/3 cup Hersheys Special Dark Cocoa
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
¼ cup butter, softened (1/2 stick)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
1/4 cup chocolate chips
For the top:
¼ cup – ½ cup crumbled halva pieces
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line an 8 x 8 baking pan with cooking spray.
For the brownie layer:
Sift flour, cocoa, cinnamon, salt and baking powder into a medium sized bowl.
In a small bowl cream the sugar and butter together until smooth, add eggs one at a time, beat well then add vanilla.
Fold egg, sugar, butter and vanilla mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients. Fold in chocolate chips.
Spread 3/4 of the brownie batter into the bottom of an 8 x 8 baking dish.
For the halvai-cream cheese layer:
Cream together butter, sugar and flour. Add cream cheese and mix/blend until smooth.
Scrape bowl and add the egg and beat until light and creamy.
Scrape down bowl again and add the tahini. Beat one minute or until the tahini is mixed into the cream cheese mixture completely.
Randomly dollop the tahini-cream cheese topping over the brownie batter. Dollop the remaining brownie batter on top.
Sprinkle halva pieces on top. Swirl the topping together into batter using a butter knife.
Bake at 350 for around 40-45 minutes.
Allow to cool and cut brownies into squares.
Mayim calls this recipe “ridiculously rich and decadent” and promises you won’t be able to tell that it’s kosher for Passover and vegan. And if you don’t trust Mayim, who do you trust?
1/4 cup almond meal - or just finely grind almonds in a processor to 1/4 cup worth!
1/4 cup matzo cake meal
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 lb plus 1 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (do NOT exceed 61% cacao which I know you all want to!?)
6 Tablespoon plus 1 Tablespoon unsalted pareve margarine
3 large eggs where 1 egg = 2 tbsp water + 1 tbsp oil + 2 tsp baking powder (best cheap egg replacer for pesach ever!)
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon finely grated orange peel
Sliced almonds, lightly toasted
Preheat oven to 350F. Coat 9" glass pie dish with margarine. Whisk almond meal, matzo cake meal and salt together in a bowl.
Combine 1 lb chocolate and 6 Tablespoon margarine in microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 20-30 sec intervals until smooth, stirring often. Set aside to cool.
Beat "eggs" with sugar and vanilla about 2 min. Beat in orange peel, then chocolate mixture. At low speed, beat in dry ingredients. Transfer to pie dish, place on rimmed baking sheet because it will drip a bit!
Place sheet with pie in oven and bake until cracked on top and tester comes out with most crumbs attached, 45-50 min. Cool to room temp; center will fall, this is NORMAL! Don't freak out.
Combine 1 ounce chopped chocolate and 1 Tablespoon margarine in microwave safe bowl in 15 second increments until glaze is smooth, stirring often. Drizzle over pie! Sprinkle with almonds. CAN BE MADE 1 DAY AHEAD, CHILL UNTIL COLD, TENT WITH FOIL AND CHILL!
I highly recommend with eat this with strawberries tossed with a little sugar (2 Tablespoons per 1 1/4 lbs hulled strawberries works nice). Add 1 teaspoons of orange zest if you're feeling frisky. And you will be after tasting this!!!
With St. Patricks Day this weekend, I know I should be posting about green foods, or traditional Irish fare. But somehow I’m in an ‘orange’ sort of mood and was drawn to recipes surely rich in beta-carotene.
This Shaved Carrot and Pear Salad with Curry Dressing is both fresh and beautiful looking – and a totally different kind of salad to serve at your Shabbat meal.
And for another potential ‘orange’ side dish, check out these simple Coconut Roasted Sweet Potatoes. My favorite part of this recipe is the lime zest – a flavor compliment I would never have thought of on my own, but that really packs a punch.
And for an entree with a little orange flare, try this Roast Chicken with Tangerines – a sweet twist on a classic Friday night roast chicken.
Last but not least of course is dessert. I am seeing s’mores everywhere these days, so this recipe for Shabbat S’mores really caught my eye.
Shabbat Shalom and happy cooking!
Let me be clear about one thing before I go any further. I almost feel like this is confessional: I have never fried anything, and so I had absolutely no idea what to expect. This is coming from a girl who, though she loves herself a good dessert, was never, ever allowed to eat anything fried. In fact, the only way we were ever able to convince my mom to let us eat a doughnut was to tell her that it was a cinnamon bun (nevermind that it was deep fried and glazed!). Talk about pulling a fast one on her. Scarfing down those “cinnamon buns” was a blast. It felt so good. So rebellious. So child-like.
Enter the sufganiya. Many of my ice cream recipes pay homage to my childhood, but this one, ah this golden, cinnamon sugar coated bundle of goodness, reminds me so much of Hanukkah that I get giddy like a little school girl just thinking about it. Maybe if I tap my heels together three times some presents will show up at my door! Wishful thinking.
Back to these sufganiyot. The Hebrew word for sufganiya derived from the word for sponge (sfog), is supposed to describe the texture of a sufganiya which is somewhat similar to a sponge. I like to tell myself that because the texture is like a sponge (which I think is airy, not fried and fatty!) a sufganiya is completely healthy. And when injected with raspberry preserves, even healthier!
This time of year, when all I do is eat sweets, I try to refrain from thinking about how unhealthy it is and instead think about the significance of these doughnuts. On Hanukkah we eat these golden delicious sufganiyot because they are fried in oil, which helps to remind us of one of the miracles of Hanukkah.
So, to toast that small miracle, let’s chow down on some delicious Sufganiyot Ice Cream. Enjoy!
For the Sufganiyot
2 Tablespoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (100 degrees to 110 degrees)
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar, plus more for rolling
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 large eggs
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons salt
3 cups vegetable oil, plus more for bowl
1 cup seedless raspberry jam
Additional cinnamon and sugar for dusting
For the Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
1 cup whole milk
2 cups half-and-half
3/4 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 Tablespoon vanilla bean paste
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Raspberry Sauce
12oz bag of frozen raspberries
1 Tablespoon raspberry vodka
3 Tablespoons sugar
For this recipe, patience is a must! This is a multi-step process but trust me, it's worth it. (Note: this recipe can be made over 2 days if you don't have an entire Sunday afternoon as I did!)
First, make the vanilla ice cream base. In a small saucepan heat together the milk, 1 cup half-and-half, sugar and the vanilla bean paste until small bubbles form around the edges.
While the mixture is warming, whisk together three egg yolks. Pour the milk mixture into the egg yolks very slowly, stirring between each pour. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure you get all the vanilla bean paste, and pour back into the saucepan. Heat until the mixture reaches 170 degrees F. If you don't have a thermometer heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spatula or a wooden spoon. Once ready, pour over a fine mesh strainer into a clean bowl (it's important to strain this ice cream because inevitably small little curdles will form from heating the egg and milk, and trust me, you don't want those in your ice cream!). Once strained, slowly stir in the remaining cup of half-and-half and the vanilla extract.
Let the mixture cool completely before refrigerating for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Next, it's time to make the sufganiyot! This, my friends, is a labor of love. In a small bowl, combine yeast, warm water, and 1 teaspoon sugar. Set aside until foamy, about 10 minutes.
Place flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the center; add eggs, yeast mixture, 1/4 cup sugar, butter, and salt. Using a wooden spoon, stir until a sticky dough forms. On a well-floured work surface, knead until dough is smooth, soft, and bounces back when poked with a finger, about 8 minutes (add more flour if necessary). Place in an oiled bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Set in a warm place to rise until doubled, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
While the ice cream mixture is cooling, and the sufganiyot are rising, make the raspberry sauce. Pour the bag of frozen raspberries into a small saucepan, and mix until heated. The raspberries will turn to mush (which is what you want). Stir in the sugar and vodka and let the mixture heat for 2-4 minutes. Remove from the heat, and strain through a fine mesh strainer. Discard the seeds, and keep the smooth raspberry sauce. Set aside.
Next, it's time to form and fry the donuts. On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 2 1/2-inch-round cutter or drinking glass , cut 20 rounds. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise 15 minutes.
In medium saucepan over medium heat, heat oil until a deep-frying thermometer registers 370 degrees. Using a slotted spoon, carefully slip 4 rounds into oil. Fry until golden, about 10-20 seconds on each side. Turn doughnuts over; fry until golden on other side, another 10-20 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet. Roll in cinnamon sugar while warm. Fry all dough, and roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture.
This part of the process takes a little getting used to. Inevitably your first few doughnuts will burn. Don't stress, you will have plenty more. I noticed that by the time I put 3-4 doughnuts into the hot oil, it was time to flip them, and once they were flipped, it was time to remove them! Hard to keep up with it! If the doughnuts look burnt, chances are, they're totally fine, just slightly darker than you may have wanted. Don't worry, they still taste delicious! Also, it's very important to douse the doughnuts in the cinnamon sugar immediately after frying, otherwise it won't stick.
Once you're done frying all the doughnuts you'll want to fill them with jam. Since I didn't have a pastry bag or a #4 tip I used a ziploc bag with a tiny whole cut out. I wouldn't recommend this, so if you can, head over to Michael's Craft Shop or a baking store and buy a pastry bag and a #4 tip. It's much easier!
Fill a pastry bag fitted with a #4 tip with jam. Using a wooden skewer or toothpick, make a hole in the side of each doughnut. Fit the pastry tip into a hole, pipe about 2 teaspoons jam into doughnut. Repeat with remaining doughnuts.
Now it's time for the great assembly! Pour the ice cream mixture into the base of your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions. While churning, chop up 6 doughnuts into small pieces. Approximately 5 minutes before the mixture is done churning add the sufganiyot pieces and let it mix thoroughly.
Drizzle a few tablespoons of raspberry sauce on the bottom of a freezer safe container. Add a few scoops of ice cream. Cover with more raspberry sauce and repeat process until you've layered the ice cream and raspberry sauce. Drizzle a bit more raspberry sauce on top and cover. Transfer to the freezer for at least 2 hours before serving. You will have leftover raspberry sauce, which I advise saving for garnish!
When you're ready to eat, scoop 1-2 heaps of ice cream into a bowl (you'll notice there is a beautiful raspberry marble!) and drizzle with raspberry sauce on top. Enjoy!
The Verdict: Taim me'od! (very tasty!) This is a perfect treat for the holiday season. In fact, so tasty that I recommend sharing it with friends (like I did) or else you may gobble the whole thing up! Enjoy this fun take on an old classic and Happy Hanukkah!