Caramel Sauce. Those two words are enough to conjure up childhood memories of Friday visits with my sister to the local candy store and then on to the nearest TCBY shop for some Cotton Candy flavored ice cream dripping with liquid amber deliciousness. Caramel. Sugar never tasted so good. But making it in my own kitchen? I've only ever heard horror stories about burning the sugar time after time and having to scrub the pan clean afterwards with nothing to show for it but an empty bag of sugar and some cracked fingernails. So it came as a surprise when a couple of months ago I made my first attempt at caramel sauce and succeeded. And then tried again this past Friday and was once again met with success and the the most addictively delicious topping to ever grace ice cream. The first time it was made for an engagement party as an accompaniment to chocolate peanut butter ice cream and this time for a "showerette" for a dear friend, as a topping for peanut butter ice cream and cookies and cream ice cream. You're right to think that I couldnt resist. I caved and had some. Yum. This recipe comes from David Lebovitz (only logical to make his sauce to go with his ice creams) and was pretty easy. I did find that the sauce came out pretty thin but when allowed to boil takes on a thicker consistency, and obviously when it cools, it thickens as well. The first time, quite a bit of sugar hardened, the second time less, perhaps because my ingredients were at room temperature. Heat on low while stirring to melt the sugar and smooth out the sauce. Your patience will be rewarded. I served this in a glass soda fountain-ey coca-cola glass to add to the ice cream-parlor look.
Thursday, April 25, 2013
I turned to a Taste of Home for inspiration for the engagement party and this is one of two recipes that I made. I'm pretty sure that the only reason I made these homey cookies was because I had everything on hand. Otherwise, I'm not sure that I would have made these for a party. I'll let you in on a little secret, though. These were delicious. First of all, how can anything with an oatmeal crumble be anything less? But, despite their sour cream filling (I kind of have an aversion to dairy and anything overtly dairy tasting. I know, I'm weird) they won me over. The filling is creamy and doesnt taste too strongly of sour cream and the raisins get perfectly softened during the baking and some cinnamon binds everything together. These arent what I would envision if you said oatmeal raisin bars, but try them, I'm sure they'll win you over, too.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
The last time I went all out in the kitchen was for an engagement party that I hosted for a friend of mine in the army who get engaged. I baked and baked and baked. And then made some more. It was actually really fun and the get together was really nice, even though there was a boatload of leftovers... Enough to feed an army (haha, not so funny!) and that's exactly where I sent them the next day. One of the things I made was these Cookie Dough Brownies from the Cookie Dough Lover's Cookbook and they were really, really well received. These don't require much effort but they are multi- layered so that may put some people off. If you really know how to manage your time, you can always get your other cakes made in between steps. The key is organization, people! I would say that this is a successful cross of two very comforting and homey foods, brownies and cookie dough. Who could say no?!
Monday, March 4, 2013
Purim is not my favorite holiday and thankfully it passed as quickly as it came. (Anyone else feel like this year is just flying by?!) Part of the Purim festivities is the obligation to give mishloach manot to at least one person. This is where people invest most of their energies, after their costumes are all settled, of course. People spend hours choosing a theme and then buying the goods and assembling these packages. I can remember my parents buying cases of junk food just for this purpose and forming an assembly line around our dining room table to assemble the mishloach manot for our many family members and friends. Me? I always choose to go the homemade route. Include one or two baked goods, and you're good to go. This year, it took a long time for anything to evolve in my head, and even at the last second, I changed the theme again. These cookies were the product of a possible "black and white" theme. (It fell through.. I ended up making homemade smores and just adding two of these cookies in so as not to waste them.) The recipe comes from the Israeli book simply called Chocolate. I purchased it in one of my very first years here in Israel and haven't used it that much but I gather that will be changing. These cookies are delicious by themselves, flavored with desiccated coconut and ethereally light in texture due to the addition of cornstarch. Add a simple ganache filling and you've elevated these cookies to gift-giving heights. I'm almost certain the only change I made to the recipe itself was to add a dash of salt to the cookie dough. Easy, delicious and holiday friendly.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
When the whole grain grain bug started acting up again, I knew immediately that a cinnamon raisin bread was in my future. I made a white flour version of this bread eons ago and I figured it was time to give this classic a healthier twist. It took me a while to get my act together and plan ahead but once I did, this recipe, also from Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads, was fairly simple to make. My bread wasn't a really high riser but I think I gave it less kneading time than I should have. This bread is yummy. I LOVE cinnamon with a passion so this was a no-brainer. Paired with homemade pumpkin butter, it is simply divine.
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Two weekends ago, I was hosted by my friend Nili in Jerusalem. She insisted that I bring nothing but as my father taught me, don't go anywhere empty handed. So I decided to make a cake. I settled on chocolate because it always pleases. I started leafing through my books and settled on this cake. It's an Israeli recipe and literally translated it means Chocolate Velvet. Turns out that's exactly what you get here. Nothing short of rich, chocolate fudge in every bite. The cake went over really well but because it is so rich, I went home with half. The solution? Bring it to my Ulpan students. I made them earn it though by making them first translate the recipe. It was quite amusing to listen to. They made short work of finishing the cake for me. I made this cake parve for Shabbat but you can make it dairy. I also used coffee liqueur instead of the chocolate called for. Feel free to use any flavor that you have on hand. To keep this cake fudgy and moist, the recipe instructs you to place a pan of boiling water in the oven along with the cake. This is a technique I'll adopt because you get the steam effect without risking seepage into the cake. Happy Purim!
Monday, February 18, 2013
Friday, February 15, 2013
Here it is! The delicious pie that I made last weekend that made use of the crackers I made and the fresh haul of rhubarb. I was told to avoid using fruit in my dessert but I pretended I didn't hear and decided to make this pie because who can resist this winning combination?! Well, everyone was won over by it and pretty much only crumbs remained. This recipe comes from Lauren Chattman's Icebox Pies and it is super easy, no need to turn on your oven at all. I served this with homemade vanilla ice cream (to appease the fruit haters) but you could do without it. If you can get your hands on rhubarb, take advantage and make this!
Monday, February 11, 2013
Saturday, February 9, 2013
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
baked them on the pizza stone cause why not? but it's not necessary. The breads came out fragrant and delicious and exactly how I'd imagined them to be. Now, if I could just get my hands on some more sundried tomatoes...