Posts Tagged ‘chanukah’

Three Doughs, Endless Possibilities: Grandma Rose’s Filled Cookies

December 29, 2011

I realize that most people have baked all the holiday cookies they intend to bake. We have moved from decadent treat baking frenzy to after-holiday fatigue and dieter’s remorse. So, my posts now should all be healthy dishes and not rich pastries.

All the same, I am going to share three (not just one, but three) different pastry doughs.

The first recipe is from my Grandma Rose, A”H. She used to make these cookies that looked little miniature danishes. Imagine crisp, flaky pastry with the rich dairy taste of rugelach, filled with with jewel-like drops of jam.

People go nuts over these cookies. They seem so much plainer than rugelach, without the nuts, chocolate, raisins and cinnamon sugar. But the simple contrast of jam and pastry lets the flavor and texture of the crust shine through. The dough, which is like a pie dough, but with sour cream added instead of ice water, puffs up into light flaky layers like buttery puff pastry when it is baked.

I have no idea where this recipe came from, but I pretty sure it is “old world.” I haven’t seen any recipe that uses a pastry dough that is exactly like this, but I have seen other sour cream doughs, and they are all “from bubbe” recipes.

I won’t lie to you. These are not a snap to make. There is a lot of rolling and cutting and shaping and baking.

When you bake them, they have the frustrating habit of exploding open (the dough really rises). It helps to freeze them before baking and to accept that they might still come apart a little in the oven. Dust them with powdered sugar and it won’t really matter so much.

If you have access to oven-proof jam that will help, too, because regular jam boils over in the oven (like with hamentaschen). Apricot lekvar probably would work perfectly. But, Grandma Rose used regular jam/jelly. I tried a few different flavors of jam (the contrasting colors are pretty) and I think that the better quality jams worked out a little better than the cheaper jams/jelly I used.

One more observation: remember this dough for Purim, since it would be make delicious hamantaschen (although you would really have to pinch to prevent them from exploding open and you would need to use oven-proof filling, like lekvar–supermarket jam would for sure make them explode open).

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Chanukah Recipes

December 21, 2011

If you are still mulling over what to make for an upcoming party, I have some ideas for you. Below is a list of some of my favorite recipes and a round-up of what other kosher bloggers have posted this year.

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Chanukah Cake Pops (from homemade cake and frosting–with dairy-free options)

December 21, 2011

I made some cake pops for upcoming Chanukah parties. The standard recipe calls for cake mix and store bought frosting, but I just didn’t want to go that route.

Making the cake and frosting is actual trivial compared to the task of shaping, dipping and decorating.  An additional bonus of homemade cake and frosting is that you can control the ingredients and eliminate trans-fats or make it dairy-free (or even vegan).

For the cake, I went with a vegan chocolate cake that is intensely chocolate, but tends to crumbly dryness, which is an advantage in this case. For the frosting, I went with a super dairy mix of powdered sugar, butter and cream cheese. It would be very easy to make this vegan/dairy-free/pareve, though, with margarine and Tofutti cream cheese.

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Swiss Chard Chips

December 19, 2011

Note: this is a very healthy way to use olive oil to make something crispy to snack on on Chanukah!

My husband loves “chips” made by roasting kale. I got a little confused in the supermarket and bought Swiss chard instead of kale.

Hmm . . .  Could I make the recipe with Swiss chard instead of kale? Not wanting to reinvent the wheel, I googled and found out that, yes, I could.

Macheesmo’s approach was the one I went with.

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Sufganiyot: Traditional and Modernishe Baked

December 15, 2011

So are baked sufganiyot just as good as fried? Just for you, dear readers, I tried both side by side to see.

Baked Sufganiyot

The short answer is yes. The inside tastes pretty much the same. The crust is not at all the same, but, with enough powdered sugar it doesn’t really matter so much.

The appearance of baked and fried is different, too, but that becomes secondary when you put enough powdered sugar or glaze on top. My kids can’t tell the difference. My husband likes the baked version a little better because it has all the flavor and none of the grease.

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Spoon Cookies

December 13, 2011

Don’t these make you think a little of teeny sufganiyot, with the jelly oozing out and the powdered sugar on top?

No? They don’t?

Well, never mind, because you will want to make these anyway for Chanukah. They are great make-ahead dairy cookies–the amazing browned butter flavor and the melt-in-you-mouth texture only improve after a couple of days.

The recipe originally comes from Gourmet Magazine, and it has won devoted fans (see the many comments on it at Epicurious). There is a very similar recipe posted on Food Network, where it is also listed by its Finnish name of “Lusikkaleivat.” The main difference between the two recipes are that the Food Network recipe calls for the addition of an egg yolk and for baking powder instead of baking soda. The preparation instruction for the Food Network recipe are also a trifle less fussy and there is a better description (with a video!) for shaping the cookies, which is the hardest part.

I didn’t see the Food Network video until after my cookies were in the oven (sigh–too late. . . .). After getting a trifle frustrated, I resorted to shaping the dough into an even number of balls (you must have an even number because these get sandwiched together). I pressed the balls against the cookie sheet to flatten, and then squeezed them a bit to make them into oval shapes (I was able to shape one cookie with the spoon, and I used that shape as the guide). Other people who made these cookies (judging by the comments on Epicurious) found it easier to either  stick with flattened balls or to roll out the dough and cut out tiny circles.

If you go with shaping the dough into round balls, you should be able to get 64 balls that are the size of large marbles, which ultimately yields 32 sandwich cookies.

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Latke-Palooza: Oven Fried Sweet Potato Latkes

December 10, 2011

It was about an hour before Shabbos and I got the idea into my head that I would make vegetable latkes. Not such a practical idea at that point in the day, but there was a recipe on the bottle of safflower oil for sweet potato zucchini pancake that sounded really good.

I wasn’t delusional enough to think that I could fry up individual fritters. Instead, I quickly mixed up the batter, slapped eight large patties onto a well oiled pan and threw the whole thing into a 500 degree oven. After a few minutes, when the laktes seemed to gotten firm enough to flip, I pulled the pan out of the oven and turned each pancake over and threw the pan back in the oven until they looked golden.

The results surprised me. First of all, the latkes tasted as if they were fried (with no mess!). Second of all, they had a delicate, sweet flavor and texture. The zucchini and sweet potato complemented each other in a way I didn’t expect. My husband said they reminded him of Ratner’s vegetable cutlets, but I thought they were much lighter.

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Latke-Palooza: Potato Pancakes and Matzoh Ball Mix (with Oven Fried Option)

December 6, 2011

What do latkes have to do with matzoh ball mix? Well, once I wanted some latkes and matzoh ball mix was the only kind of matzoh meal I had in the house. It made fabulous latkes. Maybe it had something to do with the seasoning and the baking powder. You can use regular matzoh meal to make these and add your own seasonings.

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Happy Hanuka!

December 7, 2010

Time once again for my Hanuka Mac & Cheese! This was last year’s version. (more…)

Whipped Feta Dip for Hanukah

November 30, 2010

Here is a really great dip/spread adapted from The Greek Vegetarian, by Diane Kochilas (p.31): Kopanisti. The name is Greek for whipped or beaten, and it consists of feta cheese that is whipped with olive oil, lemon juice, and freshly ground black pepper.

There are many variations on this theme which incorporate other ingredients such as red pepper, herbs, garlic. You might see feta cheese dip recipes under these names, as well: Tirosalata, Htipiti, Htipi Tirosalata. The recipe can also include some Greek yogurt.

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