Archive for December, 2008

Chocolate Crinkles and Ginger Cookies

December 30, 2008

I made Ree’s Molasses Cookies and Kosher by Design Short on Time‘s Giant Zebra Fudge Cookies (note: the link is to the Passover version of the recipe. Just substitute flour for the matzoh meal).

Zebra Fudge Cookie and Molasses Cookie

Zebra Fudge Cookie and Molasses Cookie

My husband really loved the molasses cookies. I found that they took much longer to cook through than the time the recipe called for. Even when I took them out, they seemed a little underdone.

My mom preferred the Zebra Fudges cookies over the molasses cookies, but thinks the Zebra Fudge are nowhere as good as the espresso cookies. I also found these Zebra Fudge cookies a little one-dimensional tasting in comparison with the espresso cookies, but my son loved them.

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The texture of the chocolate cookies was excellent: fairly cakey, but moist, something like a brownie.  Plus the cookies are pretty.

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Super Duper Easy Sufganiyot

December 23, 2008

I tried to resist. I really did. Even though my sister, who is a fantastic cook, has the cookbook, I shied away from Jamie Geller’s Quick & Kosher: Recipes from the Bride Who Knew Nothing.

I figured that I was not the target audience. I guess I figured wrong.

It was my mother who drew my attention to Ms. Geller’s article in The Jewish Press. My mom loved her Chanukah menu of  spinach balls, crudites, hummus, pita chips, guacamole, charif, and macaroni salad (appetizers), and Caesar salad with herb croutons, ziti, spinach fettuccine, and sun-dried tomato crusted tilapia (main course), with sufganiyot as a dessert. So I gave my mom the recipes.

Flash forward: It is dinnertime and my husband and son keep asking when I am making the latkes and sufganiyot. I assume that either they are kidding or I can placate them with purchased donuts and frozen latkes.  No.

I find potatoes and onions on the counter and my husband kindly offers to get the ingredients for the jelly donuts so that they will be ready in time for dinner. My son pulls up his stool to the counter, all ready to help. Right now.

I bring the potatoes and onions back down to the basement and bring up a box of mix. My son and I make the mix latkes. They are not so good. My son pushes them away and asks about the jelly donuts. I suddenly remember Jamie Geller and her recipe in The Jewish Press (also here with a picture, too).

I cut the recipe down and changed it a bit. I was going to just cut the recipe in half and use 8 ounces of yogurt, but I found a 6 ounce container of vanilla yogurt in the fridge, necessitating cutting the recipe down slightly more. 

My son loved mixing together the ingredients. It was so easy: just dump and stir. They fried up nicely and I stuffed them with strawberry jelly. I let my son shake them up in a bag with powdered sugar. He and my husband were thrilled. They are not quite the same as yeast raised sufganiyot, but they were quite tasty.

Sufganiyot (Jelly Donuts)
6 ounces of vanilla yogurt (I bet lemon yogurt would be excellent)
1 Tbl. sugar
1 egg
3/4 – 1 cup of flour (my son spilled a little of the flour, but it should have been a scant cup of flour)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/8 tsp. salt

Mix together the ingredients and let them rest while you heat up oil in a pan. The instructions say to let the batter rest, covered, for 15-20 minutes. I really don’t know why this is necessary. I just let the batter rest until the oil got hot. Jamie calls for heating 6 cups of oil in a 6 quart stockpot, but I used about 2-3 inches of oil in a 3 quart saucepan because I was making so few donuts. I also did not cover my pot while heating the oil.

How do you know the oil is hot enough? If you a deep frying or candy thermometer, the temperature will be 360 to 375 degrees. I waited until I saw the oil start to move under the surface or shimmer and then dropped in a drop of batter to see if it fried up right away. If the oil smokes, then it is too hot. Safflower oil is a good oil to use.

I made my donuts about half the size that Jamie suggests. I used a heaping teaspoon instead of a tablespoon to drop batter into the oil. I also needed to use a second spoon to scrape the batter off the first spoon. Fry the donuts until they get brown on the bottom and then flip them over. Continue to fry until the donuts are golden brown all over.

Drain the donuts on a paper towel lined plate. When they have cooled, cut a slit in the side and stuff them with strawberry jelly. Piping the jelly in in is best, but I had success just using a butter knife to shove in blobs of jelly. Put the donuts  (just three at a time) in a bag with 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and shake until the donuts are dusted with the sugar.

Chocolate Espresso Cookies

December 22, 2008

espresso-cookies

I made these cookies, but I changed things around a bit. I used regular all purpose flour. decaf instant coffee powder instead of ground espresso, mini semisweet chips, and left out the chocolate covered espresso beans. I used the trans-fat free Earth Balance margarine instead of butter and left the salt out of the recipe to compensate for the saltiness of this brand of margarine. Also, I baked them at 350 degrees for 10 minutes instead of 375 degrees and then left them in a turned off oven for a few minutes. The under baked cookies collapsed and formed cracks. They were thin and chewy instead of thick and chunky. They were very good, but totally different from the original (highly caffeinated ) version.

I will try the recipe the right way next time. I was under a certain amount of stress and just doing the best I could under adverse circumstances.

Note: these cookies were a big success.

Another Note: I made these again, and topped each cookies with a chocolate covered espresso bean (see above photo). I also used coffee flavored chocolate chips.  Another change: half of the sugar was dark brown. Result: more coffee punch, less chocolately. Husband did not like the second batch so much, finding the coffee flavor too intense. But, the parents loved them.

Honey Whole Wheat Bran Bread

December 11, 2008

I made the whole wheat bread recipe from A Year in Bread. Good. I used water instead of milk, of course.

Almost instant pareve chocolate gelato

December 11, 2008

Another ice cream project with my son. We mixed a box of chocolate pudding mix with soy milk and froze it in a Donvier ice cream maker. Not bad. Looked like gelato. The texture was just slightly gummy. The flavor, unfortunately, was clearly instant pudding. But not bad. Pistachio would be interesting.

Next up, we will try making chocolate gelato from scratch with this recipe from Saveur, and strawberry gelato from this recipe from Mark Bittman (NYT).

Update: Chocolate gelato was good. Maybe less sugar next time. Mom thought it was perfect. I added a tsp. of coffee powder to the mix, and it deepened the chocolate flavor. Mom says it tastes better than Sharon’s chocolate sorbet. The texture was also better than the pudding mix version. It is a very dark, intense chocoate flavor.

Second update: We made strawberry gelato. I pureed 1 1/2 cups of frozen strawberries with the basic Bittman cornstarch ice cream mix (after cooking and chilling the ice cream mix overnight). The color was dark pink and the flavor was intensely strawberry. The texture was slightly icy, which made it taste more like sorbet than ice cream. But it was very good. It was our favorite. The gelato does not seem to keep all that well in the freezer. I think you need to eat it right away.

Ice Cream in a Bag

December 8, 2008

OK. Just one more easy food project. Put chocolate milk in a small bag and seal it shut. Put ice and salt in a large bag and drop in the milk bag. Shake it up. The chocolate milk will turn into slushy ice milk/ice cream.

Go here for slightly more detail.

Challah French Toast Waffles

December 8, 2008

 regular french toast waffle

Did you know that you can turn challah into waffles? Well, you can.

bite of french toast waffle

I got this terrific idea from Dorie Greenspan’s Waffles: From Morning to Midnight.

challah french toast slices, ready to waffle

Beat a couple of eggs, throw in some milk. Dip in challah slices. Put the slices on the preheated waffle iron and close the iron. Tip: remove the crust from the challah and try to piece together pieces of challah to fill out the shape of the waffle iron plate. When the waffle is done, it will look like a regular waffle, but taste like french toast! Really cool . . . .

And fun to do with the kids.

challah french toast with syrup

Soft Whole Wheat Pretzels

December 7, 2008

I had a great time making soft pretzels with my son. I made a recipe from Helen Witty’s book, The Good Stuff. Next I want to try the recipe for hard pretzels from that book. And I want to try making cheese crackers, my son’s absolute favorite. Giving him homemade would make me feel marginally less guilty.

Vegetarian Osso Bucco

December 7, 2008

I was intrigued by a recipe in the Vegetarian Times for Vegetarian Osso Buco. It won the 2008  readers recipe contest.

I changed it around a lot, though. I don’t think it should even be called Vegetarian Osso Buco. Maybe Veggie Chicken Stew. Whatever it should be called, it was a huge hit.

Veggie Chicken Stew
olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup carrot, chopped
2 zucchini, cubed
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small can tomato sauce
1 can petite diced tomatoes
2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 – 1 tsp. lemon pepper seasoning
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 package Morningstar Farms veggie chicken strips

Saute the onion and garlic until translucent. Add the carrot and zucchini and saute until tender. Ad the rest of the ingredients and simmer 15 minutes.

Faster Vegan Spinach Quiche

December 7, 2008

I have had my eye on a vegan spinach quiche at 101 Cookbooks for a while now. Heidi reported that it took her 3 hours to make. A bit discouraging. I took a few shortcuts and cut it down to 1 hour prep time, 1 hour bake time.

I sauteed 1 cup of onion and 4 cloves of garlic, minced, in olive oil until translucent, and then dumped in 1 1/2 pounds of frozen spinach.

While that was cooking, covered, I made the crust. I pulsed 1/2 cup of oatmeal with 1 cup of whole wheat flour in a food processor, and then pulsed in 1/3 cup each of olive oil and water until the mixture started to clump. I pressed the crust mixture out into a 12″ round on a square of non-stick heavy duty foil. I put the dough circle (still on the foil) on a baking sheet.

I mashed up the spinach and seasoned it. I then pureed it with 1 package of extra-firm tofu in the food processor. This made plenty of filling, which I poured into the center of my crust. Then I lifted up the foil all around the filling to create edges for the tart. I flipped some of the crust over the filling to make it more like a galette. Then into the oven to bake.

It was OK. Truthfully, I missed the eggy-ness and cheesiness of real quiche. Also, I really should have added in the mushrooms. But, not bad.

Much yummier was the vegan stew that I made last week.