On Purim we are supposed to drink until we can no longer tell the difference between good and evil, right? Why drink till you can no longer tell the difference between good and evil when you can eat till you can’t tell the difference between good and evil, up and down, sweet and savory, you name it.
It seems each year bakers and bloggers are coming up with the most unique flavor combinations (myself included) that they can think of: pumpkin pie hamantaschen, peanut butter and jelly hamantaschen (a favorite in my house) and even rainbow hamantaschen.
Last year I created these Hamantaschen with Chocolate Ganache and Salted Caramel (which were featured in Buzzfeed’s 32 Crazy Hamantachen). And let me just say: they are delicious, throwing the days of poppy seed and apricot filled hamantaschen into last year’s pile of outdated trends.
Everyone has their favorite flavor, and sometimes you just need a good traditional, jam-filled hamantaschen. But it’s always fun to think outside the box and get a little crazy when Purim comes around.
Try one of these crazy sweet, savory and booze-inspired treats. Have a crazy flavor combo? Comment below!
Crazy Sweet Hamantaschen
Crazy Savory Hamantaschen
Crazy Booze-Inspired Purim Treats
Linzer torte cookies were one of my mom’s go-to recipes that I have fond memories of making with her as a child. We didn’t make them for Valentine’s Day per se, but made them for any special occasion that came up – parties, piano recitals and even rainy Saturdays.
This recipe isn’t quite the same as hers, which unfortunately was lost when she passed away. But it is the closest thing I have found to the buttery cookies we made together during my childhood. I find this version to be particularly versatile because the cookies are excellent made in both dairy and pareve varieties, which cannot be said for every dessert recipe!
I actually don’t make these for Valentine’s Day either, but really love to make these cookies for Sheva Berakhot celebrations for friends! But they are also great as a sweet treat for your loved ones on Valentine’s Day, Shabbat or any day you just want to show a little extra lovin’.
I love making these fun square-shaped cookies with just a smidge of sweet jam peeking out from the heart shaped cut-out. But you can have fun and make any shape that suits your fancy.
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
½ cup sugar
½ tsp vanilla
1 tsp fresh orange zest
2 cups all-purpose flour
Extra flour for rolling
Cream butter and sugar together until smooth. Add egg, vanilla and orange zest and combine.
Add flour one cup at a time until full incorporated.
Place dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface and cut into desired shapes. You may need to add extra flour during this step as this dough tends to be sticky, but try not to add too much.
Place on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
When cookies have cooled completely, spread with jam and sprinkle powdered sugar on top.
Bagels, rugelach, and babka, oh my!
The most delicious giveaway of the winter is officially on until Thursday, December 19, and four of you are about to win a selection of incredible kosher goodies from our friends at Kosher Gift Box, our favorite online purveyor of Jewish nosh. For FREE.
The grand prize—get ready for it—is the NYC Brunch Basket, full of fresh bagels, rugelach, lox, and cream cheese ($119.99 value) sent overnight straight to your front door.
And the lucky runners-up?
One will get this Collector’s Tin of Rugelach ($44.99 value).
Another: this Fresh Challah Variety Pack with four delicious flavors ($34.99 value).
And the third: this amazing Babka Two-Pack with cinnamon and chocolate loaves. (Because why choose?) ($27.99 value).
Scroll back up to enter today!
Update! The winners are in! Congratulations to Jeff of Nashville, Tennessee; Natali of Hollywood, Florida; Erin of Niagara Falls, New York; and Alicia of West Bloomfield, Michigan. Happy noshing!
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.
The chagim are over, it’s back to school, back to work and officially Autumn. It’s also the perfect time to enjoy some classic cookies now that holiday cooking and baking can be put aside.
A good cookie recipe is hard to come by, but when I found this recipe for Oatmeal cookies I truly fell in love. You can keep them plain, add classic raisins, or like in my version below, add a twist with some chocolate chips and dried cherries! I have also used golden raisins and dried cranberries, but you can really do a little cookie improv based on your own tastes.
Another great part of this recipe – they can be made pareve or dairy! I almost always prefer to bake with butter, but I have made this recipe countless times with pareve margarine and the cookies come out great!
Pro tip: to bring out the sweetness of cookies don’t forget the salt! Combine 1/2 Tbsp thick sea salt with 1/2 Tbsp sanding sugar and sprinkle just a pinch on each cookie. The sanding sugar with make the cookies look beautiful and the salt will really add a depth of flavor and bring out the cookie’s sweetness.
1 3/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter or margarine, softened
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 Tbsp thick sea salt (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine oats, flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Beat butter or margarine with sugars with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients until just combine. Fold in the chocolate chips and cherries (or other add-ins). Don't overmix. In a small bowl combine sanding sugar and sea salt.
Using a cookie scoop, drop cookies on a baking sheet 2 inches apart. Lightly flatten cookies with moistened fingers. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt and sugar on top of each cookie.
Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Let cool for 2-3 minutes on baking sheet and then transfer to cooling racks.
Did you know that it is traditional to eat stuffed foods on Sukkot?
Originally, I thought it was just because they tasted good. Not quite content, I did a little bit of research and came up with a few answers.
Some say that we eat stuffed cabbage on Simchat Torah because if you put two of these bundles together they look the two tablets of the Ten Commandments.
This answer didn’t thrill me because two store-bought dinner rolls have the same effect, except they don’t require, blood, sweat, and tears to serve them.
A bit more digging and I uncovered another answer: we eat stuffed foods because they symbolize an overwhelming bounty. Fall is when farmers harvest wheat in Israel. A simple vegetable overflowing with delicious filling reminds us of our desire for a year of overflowing harvest.
In biblical times, farmers would put collecting their crops on hold to sit in a sukkah with their family and celebrate Sukkot. Sitting out on the field studying Torah with their children, these farmers were surrounded by two great desires; one, that this year’s harvest would be plentiful and two that like those vegetables, their year would be bursting with moments like that one, doing what they loved most, studying Torah with who they loved most.
In the year 2013, when most of us do not run out to cut wheat, and the closest thing we’ve done to harvesting is scope out sales at the mall, I think it’s time to give this ancient tradition a modern twist – and what better than with dessert!
This is a healthy autumn dessert that helps you stick to your new year resolutions. Or you can serve it with a side of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. My favorite part about this recipe is that if I somehow end up with leftovers, I can have dessert for breakfast without even the slightest bit of guilt!
5 large apples (whichever variety you prefer)
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup of crushed walnuts
1/2 cup of almond milk
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup of instant oatmeal
1/4 cup of craisins
1 1/2 Tbsp unsalted margarine cut into five small cubes
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and boil 1 1/2 cups of water.
Place a small pan over a medium heat and toast your spices and nuts. Toast until they become fragrant, around 3-5 minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on them to prevent burning.
This shouldn’t take more than five minutes. Keep an eye on them while you continue with the recipe to prevent them from burning.
While you wait for you ingredients to toast, cut off the top of your apple.
You should cut off about 1/4 inch off the top, enough that it isn’t a wobbly thin slice of apple but a sturdy "hat" you can easily place back on top of your apple later.
Remove the center of your apples creating a hollow circle in the middle of your apple with an inch or so diameter. You can use an apple corer to help you remove the center of your apple. If you don't have an apple corer you can also using a paring knife or any small sharp knife.
Remember the hollowed core of you apple doesn’t have to be a perfect circle as long as you remove all the pits your apple is perfect.
Once your spices and nuts are fragrant, add the almond milk and honey and continue to heat.
Once your almond milk mixture is hot but not bubbling, stir in the oatmeal and craisins.
Cook the oatmeal stuffing for a few more minutes, until most of your almond milk has been absorbed, stirring every few minutes.
Fill your apples with approximately 1 1/2 Tbsp of filling so that they are entirely filled.
Place your apples into a small baking dish.
Put a single piece of margarine on top of each apple's filling and then the top of each apple in order to "seal" the apple closed.
Pour the 1 1/2 cups of boiling water into the baking dish along with the apples.
Cover your baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Bake your apples for 30-40 minutes while basting their stuffing with the cooking water every 10-15 minutes.
They are ready when the apples' stuffing is hot and the apples are soft but not mushy.
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.
What’s that saying – no rest for the weary!?
I got back from three weeks in Israel this past Sunday morning (during which time I was mostly working). Unpacked. Attempted to get back on New York time. And almost immediately was back to work in my kitchen baking batch after batch of macaroons and challah rolls for New York City’s first ever pop up Shabbat – “Shabubbe.”
I am so excited (and nervous) to be included in this first Shabbat pop-up restaurant and honored to be among so many culinary creatives. In fact, some of the same talented people, including the folks at Gefilteria, who brought you The Kubbeh Project earlier this year, will also be participating in tonight’s first pop-up Shabbat restaurant. Personally, I love the idea of finding new ways for Jews to meet one another, celebrate Shabbat and enjoy amazing Jewish food.
So what am I making? It may not seem like the season for macaroons. But I really love the traditional Passover treat. In fact, I first fell in love with chewy, coconut macaroons….at the movies! When I was in high school I used to frequent a small movie theatre nearby in Connecticut. It was the only movie theatre featuring a multitude of foreign films and documentaries (yes, I am a HUGE nerd). The movie theatre also featured – you guessed it – huge, moist coconut macaroons that were half dipped in chocolate. I was used to the canned variety my grandmother would buy at Passover, and could only wonder why all macaroons didn’t taste as good as the ones sold at my favorite movie theatre,
Well, fast forward, and I would like to think I have perfected recreating this childhood favorite, and even added my own spin.
So for ShaBubbe tonight I made two different kinds – macaroons with mini chocolate chips dipped in dark chocolate, and plain macaroons with dark chocolate and salted caramel sauce dirzzled on top.
How to make your own?
I like using this recipe from Martha Stewart! Try drizzling some melted chocolate on top along with this recipe for salted caramel sauce. The best part about the caramel sauce? It makes a big batch, so you can use the leftovers for an ice cream topping. Or to dip fruit. Or heck, just dip a spoon in it and enjoy.
Maybe next week will be quieter. But for now I have to get back to baking challah!
Wishing everyone a Shabbat Shalom, however you will be enjoying it.
Despite growing up in the Midwest, mine was a margarine house growing up. The only time we had butter in the house was during Passover, when we bought whipped butter to spread on matzah. The butter was kept in the fridge, and as a result was incredibly hard. Trying to spread it on matzah was like trying to spread a piece of cement. Mostly you ended up with many tiny pieces of matzah with butter crumbs on them.
My parents bought margarine for two reasons: it was pareve, so it could be used to make desserts for nights we were eating meat, and the conventional wisdom of the time said that it was healthier than butter.
For desserts, margarine worked just fine. I can remember my mother and her friends wondering why the local kosher bakeries couldn’t make good pareve cakes, when they were so easy to make at home using margarine. We made sugar cookies with margarine, and all manner of cakes and pies.
But sometime around grad school, I was making a recipe that called for butter. And I realized that since I was a vegetarian, and didn’t ever need to worry about dairy after a meat meal, there was no reason for me to buy margarine. So I bought butter, and I was completely blown away by how much better it was—as an ingredient it performed better, and the taste. Oh, the taste.
That’s the key argument in the butter v. margarine debate: butter has a taste, a flavor. If you use margarine instead, you’re losing that flavor. Margarine is tasteless. It may function the way you need butter to function in a recipe, but ultimately you end up with something weaker. That’s part of the reason so many kosher cooks now look for recipes that use other fats instead of butter, so that they don’t need to substitute margarine.
As for margarine being healthier than butter…it depends on the margarine. And it depends how worried you are about transfats. (Butter, like everything else, should be consumed in moderation, particularly if you are worried about your heart health.) But I’ve been converted to butter, and I’m never going back.
I am so happy to be back blogging today. I am officially back from baby hibernation and it’s glorious!
Today is a very special day. Not only is it the first day of July, and hence the start of National Ice Cream Month, but it is also my first blog post since The Husband and I welcomed Baby Sugar into our lives!
When thinking about what ice cream flavor to make for 365scoops’ grand “re-opening” I felt it fitting to write about the marriage of my two favorite desserts: strawberry rhubarb anything (err, pie or crumble) and ice cream.
I have always had a love affair with strawberry rhubarb pie. I literally cannot get enough of it. One of my more embarrassing restaurant experiences happens to involve strawberry rhubarb pie. The Husband took me out to a yummy dinner for my birthday. My only request was warm strawberry rhubarb pie for dessert. The pie came and lo and behold, it was cold. I sent it back. It came again, and alas, still cold. The Hubby, who is normally a very reserved, I’m-not-going-to-return-my-food-and-bother-the-waiter-I’ll-eat-it-no-matter-what kind of guy said, “just eat it, who cares” to which I responded ever so kindly, “oh hell no”. I gently reminded him that it was my birthday and would he be so kind as to ask the server again to bring a warm slice of pie. Consider it my birthday gift, I told him. The Husband begrudgingly motioned for the server to come over, for a third time, and provide us with a warm slice of pie. Picture little beads of sweat pooling on The Husband’s forehead and upper lip. Picture me sinking in my chair out of shear embarrassment and fear. And now picture a piping hot slice of strawberry rhubarb pie landing at our table. That, my friends, was splendid.
This recipe is a perfect fusion of pie and ice cream. Picture rich vanilla bean ice cream with chunks of strawberry rhubarb crumble. Talk about delicious! For this recipe you’ll make a simple strawberry rhubarb crumble and throw chunks of it into freshly churned vanilla bean ice cream. It’s like deconstructed pie a-la-mode. Need I say more?
For the vanilla bean ice cream:
3 cups half-and-half
4 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the strawberry rhubarb crumble:
3/4 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup plus ¼ – ½ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 Tbsp vanilla paste
1 pound strawberries, hulled, and sliced (approximately 1 container)
12 ounces rhubarb ends trimmed, stalks cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick pieces (if you can’t find fresh rhubarb feel free to use frozen)
To make the vanilla bean ice cream:
In a medium saucepan, heat two cups of half-and-half until small bubbles begin to form around the edges. Add the vanilla bean paste and vanilla extract and whisk thoroughly. Set aside.
In the meantime, in a heat-proof bowl, whisk together the four egg yolks, slowly adding in the sugar until the mixture thickens and turns a pale yellow.
Temper the eggs by slowly pouring the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture, stirring vigorously until well-incorporated. Pour back into the medium sauce pan and heat until a candy thermometer reads 165 degrees F, or the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spatula. Remove from the heat.
Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, removing any small clumps that may have formed. Pour in the last cup of half-and-half, and set aside. Let the mixture cool completely before refrigerating for at least 2 hours or overnight. While the mixture is being chilled, make the strawberry rhubarb crumble.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Butter a 9 inch round glass baking dish.
Combine flour, 2/3 cup sugar, and salt in medium bowl; whisk to blend.
Add butter. Rub in with fingertips until mixture sticks together in clumps. Mix in oats.
Place ¼ cup sugar in large bowl and add vanilla paste, and mix to blend well.
Add strawberries and rhubarb to sugar in bowl; toss to coat well.
Pour the fruit filling into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle oat topping evenly over filling.
Place on a baking sheet in case the crumble erupts and bake until filling bubbles and topping is crisp, about 45 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes.
At this point, the ice cream base should be cold enough for you to churn. Pour the vanilla bean mixture into the base of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions (approximately 20 minutes).
When the ice cream is done, scoop a heaping spoonful of ice cream into a storage container, and break pieces of the crumble into the ice cream. Stir gently and repeat until you have a container full of ice cream and crumble. Return this heavenly treat to the freezer for a few hours to harden, or if you can’t wait, enjoy immediately.
If you’re serving it straight from the freezer, let it sit out for approximately 10 minutes to soften before scooping.