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Friday, November 30, 2012

Hannukah classic

Happy Friday everyone! What a looooooong week! Today we're talking Hannukah (or Hanukkah, Channukah, get the idea) recipes. I want to start you off with a yummy recipe for rugelach, a holiday fav. Rugelach seems like an overly ambitious recipe, but if you work slowly, follow the directions, and measure accurately, it'll be worth the effort!

Noah and Rae Bernamoff
The Mile End Cookbook


For the dough:
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-size pats
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • 1 pound cream cheese, chilled
  • 1/4 cup sour cream

For the cherry-almond filling:

  • 2 cups dried tart cherries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Pinch of Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 1/2 cups blanched and lightly toasted almonds

For the chocolate-hazelnut filling:

  • 2 cups coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose f lour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt

For the apricot filling:
  • 2 cups dried apricots
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water

For finishing:
  • Decorative coarse sugar, for sprinkling
  • 1 large egg, beaten, for the egg wash

Make the dough: 
  1. Combine the butter and flour in the bowl of a food processor and process until the chunks of butter are broken up and the mixture has taken on the consistency of wet sand, about 30 seconds.
  2. Transfer the butter-flour mixture to a large mixing bowl and add the salt, cream cheese, and sour cream. Mix the ingredients together vigorously with your hands, breaking up the cream cheese and working it into the f lour with your fingers until the mixture is crumbly and only pea-size chunks of the cream cheese remain.
  3. Turn out the dough onto a sheet of aluminum foil, press it down slightly into a thick disk, and wrap it very tightly in the foil. Refrigerate it for at least 20 minutes or overnight. Meanwhile, make the filling.

Make the cherry-almond filling: 
  1. Combine the cherries, sugar, water, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce the heat and simmer until syrupy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and add the almond extract. Let the mixture rest until it's cool enough to handle. Place the almonds in the bowl of a food processor and process until crushed, about 10 seconds. Transfer the almonds to a bowl and add the reserved cherry mixture to the food processor; process until the mixture has a jam-like consistency, scraping down the sides of the machine as necessary. Add the almonds back in and process for a few seconds, until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined. The filling can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Make the chocolate-hazelnut filling: 
  1. Combine all the filling ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until crumbly. The filling can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Make the apricot filling: 
  1. Combine all the filling ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring them to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Set the mixture aside until it is just cool enough to handle, then transfer it to the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Refrigerate the filling until it's completely cooled before using. The filling can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Shape, fill, and bake the rugelach: 
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 10-by-15-inch baking sheet with parchment paper, grease it with oil or cooking spray, and sprinkle it with a small handful of decorative sugar.
  2. Unwrap the dough and divide it into 2 equal-size portions. On a well-floured surface, press and work one of the dough portions into a ball, then press the ball into a disk that's about 3/4 inch thick. The dough will be very firm at first and may crack around the edges, so keep working it and bringing the cracks together until you have a smooth-sided disk, adding more flour as needed to keep your hands from sticking to the dough.
  3. Roll out the dough into a 10- to 12-inch circle of even thickness. Fold the circle into a half moon and use a knife or dough cutter to trim away any uneven or protruding edges, then unfold the dough so it's a circle again.
  4. If you're using the chocolate-hazelnut filling, brush a little of the egg wash over the dough. Use a spatula to spread a heaping cup of the filling of your choice evenly over the dough. Then use a dough cutter or pizza cutter to cut the circle into 16 equal-size wedges, just as you would a pizza.
  5. Then, working with one wedge at a time, roll a wedge up to make the rugelach, starting with the wide end and rolling toward the pointy end. Transfer the rugelach to the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
  6. Brush the tops of the rugelach with the egg wash, sprinkle lightly with more decorative sugar, and bake, rotating the tray 180 degrees halfway through cooking, until the pastries are light golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

Happy baking!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Pictures are here!

Hello all! Sorry for the delay...lots of catching up to do after the holiday! I've got new pictures from Thanksgiving to share with you. On our menu, we had:

Burnt Sugar Ice Cream - Not pictured, but quite delicious. Unfortunately as I was traveling late Wednesday, my ice cream freezer didn't freeze long enough before the final process. We had ice cream soup, but it was still yummy! It was a rich caramel base made with fat free milk.

Pumpkin Tiramisu - my own recipe, revised from a few years of successful tiramisu-ing. It's custardy, puddingy, rich, and delicious!

Pumpkin Tiramisu

Lemon Gingerbread Cake - Guinness and molasses make the flavor in this dense cake burst in your mouth. The fresh lemon drizzle elevates the dish to both sweet and tart.

Lemon Gingerbread

Chocolate Coconut Pecan Tart - I think I gave you this recipe from the New York Times this year. It was worth the effort. The tart shell tastes like a chocolate cookie while the filling is sophisticated with the slight hint of bourbon. It was demolished by day 2!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Recover from your turkey coma!

It's Friday! Who's out shopping the sales today? Good luck to you (I'm impressed by your fearlessness!)!!!! Here's a recipe to give you an energy boost, or perhaps just to help you detox from the massive food coma induced by last night's festivities.

Post-Run Pumpkin Spice Protein Smoothie
lululemon blog


  • ½ cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • ½ a banana
  • 1 tbsp of raisins
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • sprinkle nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger
  1. Blend it all together and top with flax seeds for an extra health kick!

Happy baking!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Love, love, love Thanksgiving!

Hello my faithful, wonderful readers! Today I want to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving! I am grateful for your receptiveness and your loyalty...thank you for reading and be sure to stay tuned Monday/Wednesday/Friday for more posts! Love to you all!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Update your Thanksgiving dessert menu

Hello everyone! This post is for anyone looking to update the old menu and try something new. Here are a few new recipes for your Thanksgiving dessert menu! Enjoy!

Cranberry-Glazed Pumpkin Pie
Deborah Callia, Pie Lab

  • 8 ounces gingersnaps, crushed (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (8 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a food processor, pulse the gingersnaps with the walnuts until finely ground. Add the melted butter and pulse until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs evenly into a 9-inch glass or ceramic pie plate.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the pumpkin with the brown sugar, honey, ground ginger, cinnamon, salt, ground cloves, eggs and heavy cream. Pour the pie filling into the crust. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the crust is deep brown and the filling is just set around the edges but still slightly jiggly in the center; cover the edge of the crust with strips of foil halfway through baking to prevent burning. Transfer the pie to a wire rack to cool.
  3. In a medium saucepan, combine the orange juice with the water, granulated sugar and flour and whisk until smooth. Add the cranberries and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the liquid is thickened and glossy and the cranberries just begin to burst, about 5 minutes. Carefully pour the hot cranberry glaze over the pie and refrigerate until well chilled. Sprinkle the walnuts on top of the pie just before serving.
MAKE AHEAD The pie can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Salted Caramel Pie
Carrie Cusack, Simplethings Sandwich & Pie Shop

  • 1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 5 ounces)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • Two 14-ounce cans sweetened condensed milk
  • Fleur de sel
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. In a food processor, pulse the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and light brown sugar until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs evenly into a 9-inch glass or metal pie plate. Bake for about 10 minutes, just until lightly browned. Let cool. Increase the oven temperature to 425°.
  2. Scrape the condensed milk into a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish and sprinkle with a scant 1/2 teaspoon of fleur de sel. Cover the dish with foil and place it in a roasting pan. Add enough hot water to the pan to reach one-third of the way up the side of the baking dish. Bake, lifting the foil to stir 2 or 3 times, until the condensed milk is golden and thickened, about 2 hours; add more water to the roasting pan as necessary. The consistency of the caramel should be like dulce de leche. Don't worry if it is lumpy; it will smooth out as it chills.
  3. Scrape the caramel filling into the pie crust, smoothing the top. Spray a sheet of plastic wrap with vegetable oil spray and cover the pie. Refrigerate until the filling is chilled and set, at least 4 hours.
  4. In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream with the confectioners' sugar until firm. Remove the plastic. Mound the whipped cream on top of the pie and sprinkle with fleur de sel. Cut into wedges and serve.
MAKE AHEAD The recipe can be prepared through Step 2 up to 5 days ahead. Refrigerate the crust and filling separately.

Happy baking!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Twisting up our favorite holiday

Joy of joys, we have reached hump day and this time next week we will be preparing for Thanksgiving! Who's excited? I know I am! I've looked into some of my favorite newspapers to see what if they've started talking about Thanksgiving. Each paper is taking a different twist on holiday desserts: The New York Times is talking chocolate; The Washington Post is talking White House traditions; and the San Francisco Chronicle is talking apples. Here are a few to try at home:

White House Sticky Toffee Pudding
The Washington Post, November, 14,2012

For the pudding
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature, plus more for the ramekins
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 9 ounces dates, preferably Medjool
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs, beaten, at room temperature
For the sauce
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup corn syrup
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
For the pudding: 
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter eight 8-ounce (1-cup) ramekins.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl.
  3. Coarsely chop the dates, discarding the pits. Combine the dates and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, adjusting the heat so the water is boiling slowly. Transfer the dates and water to a food processor and process to form a smooth puree.
  4. Beat the butter and sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Slowly add the eggs, beating until well incorporated. Stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl, then reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture and beat until well incorporated. Add the date puree a little at a time, beating to combine.
  5. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared ramekins. Bake just until a cake tester comes out clean, 25 to 35 minutes; do not overbake. Transfer the puddings to a rack to cool to room temperature.

For the sauce: 
  1. Combine the cream, sugar and corn syrup in a deep medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a rapid boil, then reduce the heat to medium and boil for 10 minutes; if you want a thick sauce, boil for 15 to 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the butter until it has melted.
  2. Remove the saucepan from the heat, but keep it in a warm place while the puddings are cooling.
  3. Serve the puddings at room temperature and pass the warm sauce on the side.

Chocolate Souffle Cake with Candied Squash Compote
Melissa Clark, The New York Times

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Ground clove, as needed
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 1 pound), peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting
  • 280 grams bittersweet chocolate, chopped (about 10 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 extra-large eggs, separated
  • 65 grams granulated sugar (about 6 tablespoons)
  • 1 cup crème fraîche
  1. In a very large skillet, combine the syrup, honey, cinnamon and a pinch of clove. Scrape the vanilla seeds into the skillet and drop in the pod. Bring mixture to a simmer. Add the squash in a single layer. Cover and cook over medium heat until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Uncover and simmer until juices thicken to a syrupy consistency, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
  2. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch springform pan and dust with cocoa powder.
  3. In a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, combine the chocolate, butter and salt and cook until melted and smooth. Stir in the vanilla and remove from heat.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the egg yolks with 1/4 cup sugar until creamy, about 1 minute. In a clean, dry bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the egg whites until they just hold their shape. Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar on high speed until they hold soft peaks
  5. Fold the yolks into the melted chocolate. Fold in half the whites to lighten the mixture; once combined, fold in the remaining whites. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until barely set in the center, about 25 minutes. Cool completely.
  6. Slice a knife or offset spatula around the edges of the pan to release it. Transfer cake to a platter. Slather top of cake with crème fraîche. Spoon squash and syrup over cake. Slice into thin slivers (it is very rich) and serve.

Apple Cardamom Pound Cake
Craig Lee for SF Chronicle

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom or 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 ounces (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 cups Roasted Apples (see recipe below)
  • Apple Syrup
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple juice
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter or grease a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan. Place a piece of parchment paper, cut to fit, on the bottom.
  2. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and cardamom into a bowl. Stir in the salt and set aside.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar until smooth, about 1 minute in an electric mixer on medium speed. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  4. In three additions, alternately add the dry ingredients and the milk to the butter mixture, making sure the batter is combined before the next addition. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the apple pieces.
  5. Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of apples over the top of the batter.
  6. Bake until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 65-75 minutes.
  7. During the last 10 minutes the cake is in the oven, stir together the sugar and apple juice in a small pot. Bring to a boil and cook just until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside until the cake has finished baking.
  8. Remove the cake from the oven. Without delay, run a knife around the inside edge of the cake then invert the cake and pan onto a cutting board or rack. Remove the pan and the parchment paper.
  9. Make about 12 holes in the bottom of the cake with a skewer or toothpick while the cake is still warm. With a pastry brush, brush half of the syrup onto the cake. Carefully turn the cake over and make more holes and brush on the remaining syrup. Let cool to room temperature before slicing.

The pound cake should be stored at room temperature, wrapped well in plastic wrap or aluminum foil. It can be made a day or two ahead.
Serve with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or caramel sauce.

Happy baking!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Make it look pretty!

It's Monday again! I hope you all survived. I believe I was unable to post on Friday, so I'm sorry about that...I've got a tip today to make up for it! With Thanksgiving coming up, you may be asked/offering to bake the pies. Don't let the little things slip by...don't use a foil pie tin from the supermarket and call it a day. You spend so long creating a delicious dish (hopefully from crust to filling, as I'll post some recipes soon), you want it to look magnificent! Be sure to buy a beautiful pie dish to show off your hard work. Williams-Sonoma makes a more expensive Emile Henry artisan ruffled dishes, while you can find glass or stoneware ruffles at Crate and Barrel for less money. (Yes there are a lot of ruffles...if you saw my wedding dress, you would understand my obsession!)

To decorate the top of your pie, be sure to get some fall cookie cutters so you can cut a little of the extra pie crust dough and bake it on top!

Happy baking! Check back for pie recipes soon...

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The sweet side of cranberries

It's Wednesday! How's your week? Have you taken the time to donate to one of the links I posted on Monday? If not, please do. I promise it only takes 5 minutes max, and you're helping people who not only lost their homes, but are now dealing with a horrible snow storm (trust me, it's not pretty out right now!). Thanks for keeping them in your hearts!

Onto today's post...the beloved Thanksgiving/fall treat - the CRANBERRY! I love these little ruby jewels, deliciously tart yet a sweet addition to any dessert! Today I'm giving you two recipes that include cranberries, balancing both sweet and tart elegantly and adding a sophisticated touch to the end of your meal. Bonus: they're not that difficult. Give 'em a try...enjoy!

Cranberry and Apple Cake
Ina Garten, 2010

  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries, rinsed and picked over for stems
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and diced
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange zest (2 oranges)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 1/8 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Combine the cranberries, apple, brown sugar, orange zest, orange juice, and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs on medium-high speed for 2 minutes. With the mixer on medium, add 1 cup of the granulated sugar, the butter, vanilla, and sour cream and beat just until combined. On low speed, slowly add the flour and salt.
  4. Pour the fruit mixture evenly into a 10-inch glass pie plate. Pour the batter over the fruit, covering it completely. Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar and 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon and sprinkle it over the batter. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean and the fruit is bubbling around the edges. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cranberry-Apple Crumble Pie
Florence Fabricant, November 19, 1989

  • Pastry for one crust, nine-inch pie
  • 4 tart apples, such as Granny Smith or Cortland, peeled, cored and cut in 1-inch chunks
  • 2 cups cranberries
  • 3/4 cup oat bran
  • 1 1/3 cups dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons soft unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a nine-inch pie pan with the pastry, line the pastry with a sheet of foil and weight it with pastry weights or dry beans. Bake for about eight minutes. Remove the foil and the weights and bake another five minutes or so, until the pastry begins to color.
  2. Combine the apple pieces and the cranberries in a bowl. Add one-fourth cup of the oat bran, two-thirds cup of the sugar and one-half teaspoon of the cinnamon and toss. Dot with two tablespoons of the butter and toss again. Spread in the prepared pie pan.
  3. Combine the remaining oat bran, sugar, pecans and cinnamon and mash in remaining four tablespoons of butter with a fork until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle over the fruit.
  4. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the top has browned and the filling is bubbling. Allow to cool until just warm, then serve with whipped cream or ice cream on the side.
Happy baking!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Help victims of Sandy

Hi everyone! I just want to use this blog to post some links to help people who lost their homes or family due to the tremendous hurricane that hit the tri-state area last week. I was fortunate enough to only lose power for a week, but there are people who lost more. If you can donate anything - food, blankets, cleaning supplies, a monetary donation big or small - it would help people who truly need the help. Here are a few links that I've been told about that you can use to help:

There's also a Tasting Table event (part of Williams Sonoma) on November 14th, where the proceeds go to Food Bank for NYC:

Thank you for your help! Keep on baking!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Hold on tight...

Stuck in darkness (i.e. we're part of the power outages in NJ) until further notice...praying to be back before the 9th!