Saturday, December 31, 2011


This is a For the Love of Bread first--- ready for it? A savory recipe! Usually I leave the savory cooking to my sister, caterer and author of the terrific blog The Gush Gourmet but this recipe does require a yeasted dough, which is right up my alley. And so these Sambusek, the Israeli version of samosas filled with onions and chickpeas, are both the first savory post on this blog and the last for 2011. Needing something to bring to a vegetarian dinner, I gave this recipe a try last week and really liked them, although they were baked. This weekend, I made them again for Shabbat lunch and in the spirit of Chanuka, decided to fry them. Needless to say, they were much better :) This recipe comes from an Israeli cookbook on baked goods. The recipe calls for raw chickpeas to be soaked and then chopped in the food processor to be added to fried onions. I think next time I make them, I'd use canned chickpeas so that the chickpea flavor really comes through. I made the dough the night before and stashed it away to rise in the fridge. It's a simple dough and really kneads and rolls beautifully. These also reheat and freeze well. Try making them with an accompanying sauce for Shabbat dinner or as finger foods for a party. Here's to another year of blogging! This post is off to Yeastspotting!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Buttermilk Pound Cake

I bought buttermilk with the intention of making cola cake. I had some left over and decided to put it to use in another dessert for Shabbat lunch (yay for dairy meals!). I wound up baking the pound cake recipe from Alton Brown's baking book. It called for one cup of buttermilk, which made a significant dent in the container, which in turn, made me quite happy. It turned out that the cola cake was quite underwhelming (you know it's not great when the frosting is the only redeeming factor- unless you eat cake just for the frosting) but this simple cake served with homemade chunky plum sauce was delicious. Fine crumbed and dense but moist, just like a good pound cake should be. There was quite a bit of it leftover so I froze it for use in later applications. Trifle, pound cake croutons or pound cake toast all sound promising. Topping toasted pound cake with some ice cream and chocolate sauce makes for a humble but delicious dessert any day of the week.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

S'mores Granola Bars

I know this is the second Smores themed recipe this month and that it looks exactly the same, but it is a different recipe, I promise! and better than the first, I think! I've wanted to make this for ages but never had all of the ingredients under one roof. I made it for dessert when I hosted lunch a while back and they were really well received. This recipe from the KAF Baker's Companion uses both oats and graham cracker crumbs and both of those flavors really come through in this chewy (from the syrup) yet slightly crunchy cookie. You also can't beat these for ease of preparation. If you're looking for (another!) nostalgic treat, try this one this holiday season. They would be totally welcome with a mug of hot cocoa, under a blanket, in front of a fire....

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Marcy Goldman's Honey Whole Wheat Challah

My challah trials continue! And with the purchase of Marcy Goldman's Jewish holiday baking book, there are many new recipes to try. The last two weeks I made her whole wheat recipe. It is sweeter than the one from ITJB and in my opinion has better texture. The dough kneads and braids beautifully. My sweet tooth would definitely choose this over the ITJB and as long as I have whole wheat flour around don't see why it wouldn't enter my rotation. If you're serving challot shabbat day don't forget to underbake them slightly so they don't dry out by the next day!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Caramel Cinnamon Cake

After two underwhelming cakes from Piece of Cake!, I finally made a cake that was a success! This past Shabbat, I hosted lunch and whipped up the very easy Caramel Cinnamon Roll Bundt Cake. Except that I omitted the raisins and nuts to make it simply, Caramel Cinnamon Cake. Like all of the cakes in this book, this one comes together in one bowl. The cake calls for 4 tsp of cinnamon which may seem like a lot but actually gets muted in the baking. The caramel frosting really puts it over the top, though. I kept swiping at all the drippings that collected under the cake plate, and I wasn't the only one. It definitely deserves to be made over and over and poured over everything, or eaten by the spoonful. ;) My guests left over a nice bit of cake (there was other dessert, too!) so I brought the leftovers to base where it was happily gobbled. The white spots you see are powdered sugar clumps which while not as gross as flour pellets, are still unappealing to look at. I should have strained the glaze, but that was just too much work for such an easy cake. Next time, I suppose. I baked the cake in a tube pan as opposed to a bundt pan to insure release. I also halved the frosting recipe- even half the recipe is plenty.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Two New Challot

A couple of weeks ago, I tried out two new challah recipes from Inside the Jewish Bakery. First up, the Honey Whole Wheat Challah. I made these for a hostess who specifically requested whole wheat and little sugar. These challot fit the bill as they are half whole wheat and barely sweetened. You wouldn't even know the recipe contained sugar. Still they were very good. I took care to underbake the breads alittle bit so they wouldnt be all dried out by Shabbat morning. The exact recipe can be found here.
My breads came out nice and high due to the balance of flours.
I used sesame seeds, though, instead of poppy.
I also tried the Rich Egg Challah which was also very well received. It's not as high a riser because it is heavy in egg and sugar. All in all, more winners from this great book!

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Show Must Go On Concord Cake

Last Friday night, my dear friend Abby hosted a Thanksgiving dinner and she asked me to make dessert. I researched and researched and had settled on the All in One Holiday Bundt cake when she called me. I asked her if she had any last minute requests and she shyly copped to be craving chocolate mousse. Being that she's pregnant, I of course wanted to accommodate this craving but with mousse, raw eggs tends to be a problem. Back to the books I went! I found a recipe for this classic Concord Cake in one of my newer books by Israeli baker and patissier Ben Ami. The cake is made of two discs of chocolate meringue layered with chocolate mousse and then decorated with pieces of meringue. I bought all the ingredients Thursday night and quickly put together the mousse component that had to chill overnight. The next day I got to making the meringue. And there's where things started going awry. Some parts of the baked meringue tasted fine and some, oddly, tasted off. I refused to use them. So why do I call this The Show Must Go On Concord Cake? Because instead of chucking the entire cake, I used the good meringue to make a meringue crust and then I poured all of the mousse on top. I then topped it with the meringue pieces. Dessert saved! It got rave reviews and no one was the wiser. Obviously, next time I'd like to make this cake the way it was meant to be made. Additionally, I would top the cake with the meringue pieces just before serving because they got a bit soggy. Make sure that this is thoroughly chilled before serving, my mousse was a bit soft because it sat through shul. Still delicious, just soft. Below is the the recipe for the original. Should something go wrong though, improvise!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

S'mores Squares

This is going to sound strange, but whenever I take a trip back home, I always feel the need to reacquaint myself with the baking books and recipe collections that I left behind (they'll make it here, eventually!). Searching for inspiration for my sister's Shabbat kallah was even more incentive to lovingly (alright, a bit exaggerated) go through it all. While I was looking, I came upon a pad of paper that had a bunch of recipes from I don't know where written down on it. Among them was a simple and fast recipe for Smores squares. I don't know where it came from, but I decided to make it for that weekend. I sent my mom out for the ingredients and whipped up a double batch. I thought they were delicious! I brought back the leftover ingredients to Israel (obviously! graham crackers and marshmallows are precious!) and made them for dessert last weekend. In America they were more bar cookie like and in Israel they were more shortbread-like but still delicious. It could be because I used a larger pan here and baked it a tad longer but still, these were yummy. I would prefer the softer option but any way you bake 'em these are a winning treat.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Challah Rolls

These rolls were baked in America (last catch-up post!) for the Seuda Shlishit of my sister's Shabbat Sheva Brachot. Hosting seuda shlishit was a bit last minute and we had no bread in the freezer for which to wash on. I immediately jumped on the opportunity to bake rolls and wasted no time choosing a recipe from Inside the Jewish Bakery (it was a real heimishe Shabbat- I made potatonik, too!). The picture below the formula for Sweet Egg Dough was quite enticing and reminded me of the bilkelach that we used to have growing up. I whipped out the scale and got to baking. I doubled the recipe to yield about twenty four rolls. It turns out that we didnt need nearly that many and I sent the rest of the rolls home with the newlyweds- finally gifted them with bread for their new apartment! I loved these rolls, they were soft and fluffy but not too sweet and the sesame seeds were a great counter-balance. Definitely going to make these again should a similar situation arise. These rolls are off to Yeastspotting!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Sugar Kichel

Lichvod Shabbat kodesh, I am finally posting this shul classic, sugar kichel. Upon receiving my copy of Inside the Jewish Bakery, I immediately wanted to put it to work. I chose the sugar kichel because I knew one of my sisters adores it and I thought it would be a nice throwback to the the times we actually went to the bakery and brought them home to enjoy (instead of me baking). This recipe hit the nail on the head, an exact replica of the cookies we used to munch on- eggy, crunchy and sweet. My father was extremely impressed. The cookies aren't hard to make, but between rolling, shaping and baking, it is a bit of a long process-I was up very late putting them together and baking them off, but just for that bit of nostalgia, the result was well worth it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Golden Vanilla Wacky Cake

Every time I take a trip to America, I treat myself to a couple of new cookbooks. Making the decision of which ones to buy always takes me a while and a lot of research. One of the new cookbooks I got was Piece of Cake! by Camilla V. Saulsbury, a book about one bowl, easy cakes. I discovered Miss Saulsbury when I was looking for recipes for homemade energy bars and stumbled on her blog Enlightened Cooking. Her name sounded familiar to me and so I searched on Amazon and sure enough, I saw she wrote a muffin cookbook, for which I had read a review on a blog I often read. I discovered that she had just published this cake cookbook and eagerly read all the reviews. In short, they were all glowing. So I pushed this book to the top of my wish list and when the time came, happily ordered it. It came with just enough time to read through it and put it to use for Rachael's Shabbat Sheva Brachot. It took a while to decide what to make first, because the cakes all sound delicious, but also because many, most I should say, are made with buttermilk or sour cream for which there is no parve substitution. (The other issue I have with this book is that her weight measurements are totally off an unreliable. There's no reason for them to be there.) Anyway, I decided to go with one of the original wacky cakes that were the inspiration for this book. A wacky cake is a cake that is usually mixed up in the pan that is baked in and is said to be a creation from the era of rationed foods. I have previously made Chocolate Wacky Cake, so I thought the vanilla version to be appropriate. The cake came together very fast and I popped it in the oven. I was quite nervous about how it would come out, but I really needn't have worried. I cut off a tiny corner and found it to be really moist, if a bit dense, full of vanilla flavor and redolent of a certain box mix, but homemade and better! (I will admit, I find this to be complimentary!) I frosted it with her recipe for cocoa icing, which was also delicious but top it as you wish.Vanilla cake is a blank canvas. I finished it with chocolate sprinkles, just for the sake of being festive. The cake was a big hit with the sister in whose honor I made it, and I even sent off all the leftovers with her and her new husband. Here's too many more cakes being baked from this wonderful cookbook!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I have fond memories of meringues. I remember my mother whipping (ha) them up around Pesach time as a kid, biting, for the very first time, into a crispy cloud and discovering centers of chewy, melt-in-your-mouth sugariness. Fast forward to now-I owe the making of these cookies to my sister, Leiat. I had a surplus of egg whites after making sugar kichel (for another post!) and she asked me to make them. Now, I've made these simple cookies before and never felt the need to blog about them, but I used a technique for them that I've never used before so I decided to share it. This basic recipe comes from Al HaShulchan's first Chocolate book (which has finally returned with me to Israel!). The egg whites and sugar are first heated and then beaten. This step is no stranger to people who make buttercreams all the time, but I am not one of those people. This makes THE glossiest and most luscious meringue I have ever worked with. Pain in the neck or not, I will be making them this way from now on! Now, if you think there's too much sugar and the mixture will never form stiff peaks, fear not and beat on. It works! The original calls for grated milk chocolate, but keeping things parve, I decided to fold in some mini dark chocolate chips instead. Be sure to leave these in the oven to dry out fully. I took them out after 45 minutes but they were still wet inside. I returned them to the oven and let them cook a bit more and then turned the oven off to allow them to dry. And just so you know: the oven makes a great hiding spot for these if you need. No one ever thinks to look there!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Potato Bread

I know this has been a pathetically slow month for blogging, but now that the wedding is over (it was beautiful!) and I'm safely home in Israel, I have a bit of time to pick it back up again. The wedding I flew in for was that of my lovely sister Rachael. I thought it would be nice to bake her some loaves of fresh bread for her new apartment (although these loaves were devoured by the people in my house before they made it to hers!). I had been wanting to try out a recipe for potato bread for a really long time, having heard that mashed potatoes give bread a wonderful, moist, texture. So I pulled out my copy of Bernard Clayton's Complete Book of Breads (one of the only bread books I had left in America!) and decided to make his Potato Bread. I'm happy to have one thing checked off my list! This bread was more time consuming than others in its preparation due to the cooking of the potatoes. I also found that because of the moisture, the dough took a LOT more flour than called for before becoming a firm-ish dough. Once the dough was kneaded, it rose fast and baked beautifully. I brushed one of the loaves with some margarine after it came out and I like the gloss it gave it. Everyone loved this bread (even without knowing the secret ingredient!). My father (the toughest to please declared it spot on and my siblings enjoyed it in sandwiches. I'm just sorry it never made it over to the new apartment. These loaves are off to Yeastspotting which is being hosted this week by Tartine Bread Experiment!

Friday, October 21, 2011

ANZAC Biscuits

ANZAC biscuits. The name is totally off-putting but to call them oatmeal cookies wouldn't be accurate either. These cookies are thusly named because house wives would mail these egg-less (and therefore good keeping) cookies to their spouses serving in the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps during World War I. (Being someone who loooves to bake for soldiers, I love this back story!) These cookies contain coconut which most people arent really a fan of. That might explain why these weren't successful both times I made them and brought them to hosts. So why am I posting it anyway? Because I LOVED these cookies. I thought the coconut was subtle and that these cookies tasted like oatmeal cookies I remember as a kid only better! So what if no one else is on the coconut bandwagon? These are easy cookies to whip up and are delicious. The little bit of golden syrup adds a subtle but present caramelly, buttery goodness. It took me two times to get the cookie right. The first time I made them using rolled oats, my batter was too wet and my cookies spread like crazy. I suspected that it was because my rolled oats weren't absorbing moisture properly so I made them again using quick oats and just as I thought, perfect batter and cookies. I used Martha's recipe but added a bit more than a pinch of salt to the recipe. If you feel like it, add some chocolate chips to the dough. It won't be traditional, but it will still be delicious. Shabbat shalom!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Many Seed Bread

Moadim lisimcha! Sukkot is upon us! I spent the first day by my sister and because it was just going to be us, I decided to forgo making challah and try a new bread recipe. Of course you can imagine how long it took to settle on the recipe.... After flipping through many cookbooks, I landed on the Many Seed Bread from Peter Reinhart's Artisan Breads Every Day and it seemed to be the perfect choice as I had everything on hand. The name of the bread comes from the addition of flax, pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds. Easy to make, this dough came together in my mixer in ten minutes before settling in for its overnight chill.I opted to make two pans of pull away loaves, topping one of them with garlic powder and any dried herbs I had around. The texture was soft and chewy, a good all around sandwich loaf. The garlic-herbed topping turned out to be quite successful-- I'm going to have to try it again on my next batch of white bread. To keep the breads parve, I used soy milk, but any milk can be used. Feel free to switch up the combination of seeds. Reinhart mentions that because the seeds absorb moisture during the overnight rise, it's important that the dough be soft and a bit sticky. These rolls are off to Yeastspotting!

Monday, October 10, 2011

World Peace Cookies

So obviously I'm the last person in the world to get around to making these now famous World Peace Cookies aka Korova Cookies from Pierre Herme, via Dorie Greenspan. Since you all already know how good they are, I don't think I need to tell you. These cookies may look humble, but they are anything but. They literally disappeared when I brought them to my sister for Rosh HaShana.
I didn't use the fleur de sel because I was afraid of scaring everyone away with it and I used a good quality dark chocolate that I chunked up myself. So nice and melty gooey when they came out of the oven with a crispy, shortbready, melt in your mouth texture... Seriously, if there's anyone else left in the universe that hasn't made these cookies yet, go on and make them. You'll be sorry you waited this long!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Pumpkin Swirl Bread

Sweet Challot weren't the only thing I baked for Rosh HaShana last week. With the chill of fall definitely upon us, I decided to put a can of valuable pumpkin to use and make a pumpkin bread with a cinnamon swirl inside. Instead of making them into buns or loaves, I'd shape them into round, coiled loaves as is traditional for this time of the year. That's exactly what I did. I adapted a recipe from Marcy's A Passion for Baking and I love the way it turned out! The breads turned out to be perfect with a healthy slather of apple butter.
I cut back the yeast in the recipe and used oil instead of margarine. I think I would make a few changes so that the loaf itself would be slightly moister and improve it's keeping quality when frozen. As for the swirl, I pretty much just used the amounts of brown sugar and cinnamon called for in her recipe. I allowed the dough to rise overnight (obviously!) and shaped them the next morning. The dough handles beautifully and bakes up to a beautiful orangey-brown. Next time, I just might decide to flavor the dough with some classic fall spices. Definitely goes on the Rosh HaShana bread rotation. These are headed off to Yeastspotting!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Black Chocolate Cake

Last Sunday, I decided to bake a cake for my class in the course that I'm observing in the army. One of the guys had a birthday and a bunch of them are finishing their service as soon as the course is over, so I figured a cake was in order. But really- who needs a reason to celebrate with cake? I decided a simple chocolate cake with frosting was in order, so I turned to one of my Israeli cookbooks to help me out. Deep and dark, this cake is thick (not quite ooey gooey like my mom's recipe but still good) and the frosting is nice to work with also. I tossed on some sprinkles to make it more festive and I like how it came out- kind of youthful and childish. The cake was really appreciated-- everyone was surprised that I actually showed up with it and it was eaten down to the last crumb and dab of frosting on the wrapper!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sweet Challot

It's been a really long time since I've posted a new challah recipe, because I've been making the same one every week, but I figured that Rosh HaShana was the perfect time to try the Sweet Challot recipe in my favorite Israeli challah book. What makes this recipe unique is the addition of grape juice in place of some of the water. I thought this would be sugar overload (Israeli grape juice is on the very sweet side) in addition to the two cups of sugar but they turned out to be not in your face sweet at all. The texture was great and these froze beautifully. My sister froze them and took them out as needed- the texture barely suffered at all. I shaped these into rounds, as is customary for this season, as the rounds symbolize the continuing circle of life, etc. I made different types of rounds: one using a four stranded weave, a couple of coils, some twists that were coiled or knotted. I just had fun. Challah was amazing served with my sister's one of a kind homemade apple butter. Delicious! Shana tova, everyone! As usual, check out this week's Yeastspotting!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Chocolate and Roses Cake

Being in the army actually makes me crave baking. I think about it all week and when I get home, I can't wait to get my hands into some flour. (I think they call it withdrawal...) All this past week, I was thinking about what to bake to bring to my hosts for Shabbat. I knew chocolate would be a must, so I browsed through my copy of the Israeli cookbook, More Chocolate (expect to see more recipes from there, soon!) and settled on the recipe for Chocolate and Roses Cake, which is, get this, chocolate buns baked into a chocolate cake batter. (It sounds more difficult than it actually is but I split up the work, making the dough and filling Thursday night and finishing the cake on Friday.) I actually think it's quite impressive and the look of it when cut is kind of cool, with the swirls from the chocolate filling and all. (No picture, it was Shabbat!) For me, the highlight of this recipe was the chocolate filling. Liquid when hot, when cooled, it turns into a mixture identical to the chocolate butter my mother makes every Pesach, which is very nostalgic for me. It's also just insanely good and rich, so I think it'll be my go to filling for buns or babka or kokosh now. (There was leftover dough and filling so I made a cake of just chocolate buns. That was a hit. One of the kids said next time I should just make that. Then again, another one loved the chocolate covered chocolate challah. Can't win 'em all!) I did find the cake needing to be a bit more chocolatey, so next time I would up the cocoa powder. Anyway, hope you give this recipe a try. Happy and healthy new year! This cake is off to Yeastspotting!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Adventures with Rye Part 10: Rye Pumpkinseed Breadsticks

As a little gift to myself for successfully completing basic training (I only cried four times!), I bought myself a few of the latest Israeli baking books (they were all on sale!). One of them is the second book by Micky Shemo, devoted to the baked goods of Shabbat and the holidays of the year. I was psyched to come across it (being a big fan of his first book, and all) and picked it up right away. I've been thumbing through it at least once a day and decided to break it in this erev Shabbat by making some breadsticks from the Tu Bishvat (the new year for the trees) chapter. I made some changes, making these decidedly un-Tu Bishvat like, but totally delicious. These breadsticks are made with rye flour and were supposed to contain raisins, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. I omitted the raisins and idiotically bought two packages of pumpkin seeds instead of pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds. I sprinkled sesame seeds on the shaped sticks. Even with these changes, they came out delicious, with a delicate sweetness from the rye and seeds. I was expecting these to be crunchier instead of bready, but still I liked them and happily munched them until they were gone. Reheat them as necessary to get rid of any staleness and freeze for longer storage. These are heading off to Yeastspotting!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Adventures with Rye Part 9: Date-Rye-Cinnamon Cookies

These cookies may be the homeliest cookies you'll ever see, but their looks are deceiving. (Don't be put off by the name either!) In fact, these cookies to me are the homiest cookies (in the best way possible) in the sense that they remind of the cinnamon cookies that my mother used to make when I was growing up. When I first made them about a month ago, the dough (made entirely of rye flour) looked gnarly and the cookies themselves weren't too attractive. But one bite of them took me way back and totally won me over. I photographed them then but having no faith in how they'd taste, got rid of the photos. (Guess you can never judge anything by the way it looks!) Home for Shabbat this week, I decided to try these again, this time adding some white flour to give the cookies a bit better texture, and omitted all the spices except for the cinnamon to give them that childhood feel. I would even up the cinnamon next time. These cookies are made with silan, date honey that is found everywhere, and that's what makes these special. If you can't find it, well.... come to Israel and buy a jar. These are also made with oil, so require just a bowl and a wooden spoon, even your hand if desired. Be aware, the cookies come out crunchier with all rye flour and softer with white flour. They are both delicious either way. Choose your texture. Use leftover cookie crumbs as a pie crust. Assuming there are any leftovers...

Monday, September 12, 2011

Caramel Glazed Chocolate Cake Doughnuts

I know I haven't blogged in ages and that these donuts are wayy late in coming. But I have good reason. I joined the Israeli army and I've been in training the last few weeks. I finally finished today and am at home and ready to sleep, sleep, sleep before I start my job. I promised myself that I would post this, even if it meant not being a great post. I made these for dessert ages ago and remember someone commenting that these are a good parve alternative to Entenmann's, a compliment I'll happily accept since I love their doughnuts. I'm a bit too exhausted right now to post the recipe, but one of these days, I'll back track and post it. The recipe comes from Lara Ferroni's cute little book. Oh, and if you think I'm done with doughnuts, I'm not.

Friday, August 19, 2011

All in the Pan Chocolate Cake

For lunch last weekend, I had it in my head that I wanted to make chocolate cake. I fondly remember my mother's Ooey Gooey Chocolate Cake from my childhood and I wanted to make it but then I recalled a fast and unique recipe for chocolate cake from In the Sweet Kitchen. This cake is one of those old timers where all of the ingredients are dumped into a pan and stirred directly in it. Easy peasy cleanup. And, this recipe has no egg in it, making it perfect for vegans. The frosting does involve some sort of mixer but takes no time at all. This was a really successful dessert-- nothing left but a few crumbs. I think I should make a point of making homey cakes like these more often. They're down home, delicious, and non-threatening (nothing wacky in them!) to the average person. I'll just have to remember that the next time I plan a dessert. If you're rushed or just want to try something easy and fun, give it a shot. The recipe calls for regular vinegar but I used red wine as that's what I had and it turned out perfectly.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cinnamon/Chocolate Glazed Vegan Doughnuts

For last Shabbat's dessert, I wanted to make something... different. One of the reasons I was excited to move to a real apartment was to finally be able to have a stove top. You know, real fire instead of the electric burners that don't heat very well. All I wanted to be able to do was fry. (And make pastry cream, but I havent gotten there yet.) Naturally, I decided it was time to make doughnuts. The authentic-deep-fried way. And that's exactly what I did. I opened Lara Ferroni's book and settled on the recipe for the Vegan Doughnuts as I was having a vegan for dinner. (It wasn't that much different than a recipe I would adapt for my parve needs, anyway, so it really was not a big deal.) I made some chocolate glazed (and some with sprinkles, just like when I was a kid!) and some.... Well, I really wanted to make a silan glaze, a la maple. But the silan just tasted off with the powdered sugar, so I kept adding cinnamon to make it a cinnamon glaze and it worked beautifully. I must say.... frying was really fun! So much so that I think I'm gonna try doughnuts again this weekend, this time of the chocolate persuasion. My guests were really shocked and impressed by the doughnuts and thought they were delicious. I snuck in a couple of munchkins and thought they were, too. I realized that they came out on the small and thin side because I might have rolled them a bit too thin. I'm pretty sure people felt more virtuous with the smaller size though. I also reduced the yeast in this recipe from a whopping 3 tbsp to 1 and I think it was still plenty. I also gave this dough an overnight rise, as per my usual. Here's to many more successful frying experiments! These doughnuts are being Yeastspotted!

Friday, August 12, 2011

James Beard's Basic White Bread

Besides for the foods that are totally off-limits to me, I'm not that big of a picky eater so I knew exactly what I wanted to eat before the fast that was observed earlier this week. Bread. With cream cheese and lox. (I think that's me saying I miss my Brooklyn roots.) I wanted an easy, simple white bread so I looked to James Beard's book on bread and made his Basic White Bread. This is a pretty basic loaf, consisting just of flour, water, yeast and salt. I thought his amount of salt, 1 tbsp was way too much for four cups of flour so I cut it down to 2 which was bordering on salty. So feel free to use anywhere between 1 1/2 and 2. The bread rose fast and because of the lack of white sugar and sugar developed during fermentation, this bread had little color. That was fine because the loaf was delicious warm. It was still good the next day, but best fresh and a bit warm, perfect with my favorite sandwich staples. I made the dough in my mixer but feel free to do it by hand, if you're not feeling lazy. The original recipe says that this should be baked in a 9x5 inch pan but I'm glad I used the 8x4 inch because the dough yield wasn't huge and it didn't fill the bigger pan. I tried. This loaf is off to Yeastspotting

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Frozen Ganache Shortbread Bars

I'm sorry the pictures for this dessert aren't better, but this was Shabbat dessert and I couldn't photograph on Shabbat. I was asked to bring dessert for Friday night dinner and thankfully, it didn't take much research to decide on these cookies. This recipe is another one I'm keeping under wraps but use any shortbread base and your favorite ganache to simulate your own version of these fudgy and deliciously cold bars. They were a hit for me and they will be for you, any way you choose to make them. I might try my hand at flavoring the ganache with extract or liqueur and sprucing up the shortbread base to match. The possibilities are endless but all I know is that a cold, chocolate dessert on a hot August day is just the ticket.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Neo-Neopolitan Pizza

During the nine days, there really isn't much to eat besides lots of dairy and carbs. (This week is a vegetarian's dream!) I still stay away from pasta so that wasn't an option. So, I decided to make pizza. Normally, I stay away from that to, but as my food choices are limited and I haven't had a slice of it in ages, I decided to go ahead and make some dough. I've made pizza plenty of times before and posted about it, too but this time I decided to go with a different recipe. I made Peter Reinhart's Neo-Neopolitan Pizza from his latest, Artisan Breads Every Day. What I loved about this recipe is that it makes enough dough for five pizzas and that you can freeze what you don't use right after mixing! I divided the dough into five portions, froze four in individual baggies and threw them in the freezer, leaving the fifth portion to ferment overnight. The next day, I made the sauce recipe that he provided and froze what I didn't use into individual portions. I felt so mommy-like with all this planning ahead! The dough comes together so easily in the mixer, and besides for a stretch and fold, doesn't require much. After it had risen overnight, (and when I was ready for dinner) I stretched the dough out onto a baking sheet and topped with sauce and cheese. I needed to bake the pizza for much longer than I did because I got no color on the sides and bottom, even though it was perfectly cooked. I think I'll bake directly on the stone next time. All in all, it was a delicious pizza and I'm really glad to have more pizza nights in the near future. This pizza is headed to Yeastspotting! Hope everyone has a meaningful fast!
UPDATE: I just made another pizza, baked directly on the baking stone. It made all of the difference. The flavor really comes out of the crust and it is just so delicious. Homemade pizza has never tasted this good. Lesson learned- always use the baking stone. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

Plum Hazelnut Frangipane Tart

This is the dessert that I made for Shabbat last weekend- a hazelnut frangipane tart topped with fresh plums. I love the way it turned out. The filling so clearly tasted of hazelnuts while not being too sweet. This is one recipe I'm keeping secret, but here are the pictures anyway. Til next time....

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Irish Dairy Bread

Sunday and Monday were days mostly spent at the base. I've been pretty good at packing food to take with me so that I don't starve in the blistering heat. I finished up the last of the rye rolls on Sunday and was wondering what I could make for the next day that would be fast and easy. Turns out, they didn't let me go until six thirty so making a yeasted bread was out of the question. But then, inspiration hit! Why not make soda bread? All I'd have to do was pick up buttermilk from the supermarket (there's one right next to the CBS!) and voila, in very little time, I'd have bread. Seeing as it's the nine days and all, I might as well take advantage of making dairy bread, right? Right. Anyway, as soon as I walked through the door, I turned on the oven and proceeded to look for a recipe. Almost every recipe for soda bread calls for whole wheat flour which I didn't have around. I did find a recipe for Irish Dairy Bread in the Baker's Companion and that's what I made, but I couldn't help throwing in a tablespoon of caraway seeds. :) Making this bread is much like making scones, but with a much shorter ingredient list. Eating this bread reminded me how much I love buttermilk in things. The slight tang of it is really, really good. The craggy exterior of this bread belies its smooth interior crumb, speckled with caraway seeds. Feel free to leave them out, if you want. This bread is good plain, or eaten with savory goods, such as egg or tuna salad. I'm really glad I tried this type of bread; it's another thing to cross off my baking bucket list.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Brown Sugar Squares

This past Shabbat, I tagged along with a friend for dinner in Nachlaot, the quaint and charming neighborhood right behind the shuk area. I made these plans Thursday night and so when I was asked to make dessert, I felt extremely pressured- no time to research! Thankfully, I found a good choice (more on that later) and went to sleep secure. Come Friday, with dessert already I made, I wondered if people would be allergic to nuts or dislike fruit. So I decided to make something else. Literally on a whim, I pulled out Paula Deen's dessert cookbook and flipped through it. In the cookies and bars sections, I stumbled on what looked like the world's  EASIEST recipe and get this, had no oil or butter in it. Now, I was skeptical. A Paula Deen recipe with no fat in it?! Impossible! I looked for the recipe and found that people had successfully made this recipe. So I did, too. The recipe comes together with no more than whisk and a bowl and yields a very thin, chewy, almost candly-like brown sugar square. I don't even think they qualify as a cookie. I added some chocolate chips instead of the nuts to jazz them up a little. They aren't gonna win you any beauty contests, but for flavor (and ease of preparation) these can't be beat.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Adventures with Rye Part 8: Rye Rolls

Before I say anything about these freshly baked rye rolls, I must first wish myself a Happy Blogoversary! Three years ago, on a blazing hot summer day in Bar Ilan, this blog was born. It's been so much fun baking and keeping it up. I hope to even with the army ahead of me. Here's to three more! Once more in Jerusalem for Shabbat, I knew for certain that I wanted a caraway flavored bread. At once a total stranger to the flavor of caraway, I now love its hard-to-pinpoint flavor. I searched all of my books for a simple caraway bread but didn't come up with much. It looked to me like if I wanted caraway, I was going to have to take rye with it. Which was fine by me. Having bought a kilo of rye flour, it was time to start putting it to use, anyway. Greenstein's Secrets of a Jewish Baker had the perfect recipe for Rye Rolls. Simple, easy and full of caraway. Bingo! I made the dough last night, allowed it to ferment overnight in the fridge and baked them this morning. I couldn't resist having a couple for lunch today and my were they divine. Perfect sandwich bread texture, soft but with a good chew and great flavor. I made 9 large rolls instead of 18 small ones because I like to be able to use them in a sandwich. These rolls are off to Yeastspotting. Check it out!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Water Rolls

 After my draft on Thursday, they sent me home to wait for news on what my job will be. It was nice because I was home for Shabbat, but now it's Tuesday and after going back and forth for a couple of days, I'm still waiting. I took the opportunity erev Shabbat to throw together a batch of rolls (even though I was going out for all meals) and it was really good I did because they have been serving as my source of sustenance on my long trips back and forth to the base. Thank God for egg salad sandwiches otherwise I'd have starved over there while waiting in the blistering heat. The recipe for this is actually a great one from Beth Henspberger's Bread Bible. A simple water roll that's perfect for sandwiches, it's a recipe I've been looking for for awhile. I omitted the rice flour topping and instead used an egg yolk glaze and topped with sesame seeds. I made the dough in the mixer and because it has a nice amount of yeast coupled with the insane heat, the dough rose fast. I would, however, reduce the yeast next time to get some better flavor. But I'm not complicating. I also want to try these with fruit juice, so I'll post about those when I do. Until then, happy sandwiching and beat the heat! These are off to Yeastspotting!

Friday, July 22, 2011


I made these cookies last weekend to pair with the plum and mango sorbets. I know I'm a bit late in posting them but that's because life has been busy. In fact, just yesterday, I went into the army and as I type this I'm sitting in uniform. I don't know how often I'll be able to post, let alone bake, but I'm not letting this blog go! Anyway, everyone loved these cookies on their own, forgoing eating them with the sorbet. Oh, well. The recipe comes from Bakewise, although I followed someone's tip to use turbinado sugar, and that's what I used. I tasted a tiny bit of them and they were robustly flavored, with an almost hind of deep caramel. I guess the overnight chill in the fridge really benefited them. If you want really snappy gingersnaps, bake the full amount of time. If you prefer some softer, pull them out a bit earlier.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mango Sorbet

Here's the mango sorbet that I promised you. Originally I intended to make an apricot sorbet but the supermarket that I went into Thursday night was out, indicating that apricot season was effectively over. Disheartened, I looked around and saw mangoes. Now, I personally am really not a fan of mango at all, but I walked over to them anyway and they were perfectly ripe. Mango sorbet it would be. I picked up three of them and took em on home. Like the plum sorbet, this was super easy to make. Well, almost super easy. I don't have much experience cutting mango so I thought I would cut myself a couple of times. The other challenging part for me was straining the puree. The recipe doesnt call for it straining but I wanted super smooth sorbet so I took the time to do it. A bit messy and time consuming, but definitely worth it. More so than the plum sorbet, the mango sorbet really was really true to the fruit's flavor. I omitted the rum from the recipe and substituted lemon juice for the lime juice and the result was still great; clean and fresh. If you're looking for something easy to make, freeze your ice cream maker work bowl today so you can have refreshing sorbet tomorrow! In this summer heat, how can you resist??

Monday, July 18, 2011

Maryetta's Oat Bread

As I'm generally do when I'm home for Shabbat, this weekend I made bread for Friday night dinner in addition to the challot for Shabbat day. (Those came out beautifully but unfortunately, way too dry.) Browsing through some of my books, I came upon Maryetta's Oat Bread in Beard on Bread and did some research on it. The blogs that I found featuring this recipe raved about it. Having everything on hand, I decided to make a half batch. I am so glad I did, because all those blogs turned out to be sooooo on the mark. This bread was one of the best loaves of bread I have ever made. The crumb was soft but still sturdy, with slight but present creaminess from the flecks of oats, and a subtle sweetness from the oats and date honey. This bread never made it past Friday night, at all, in fact I think I had most of it, but I imagine it would be awesome toasted. I did adapt it slightly. To supplement my lack of whole oats I used some quick cooking as well, and I used date honey instead of molasses. I made a half batch, yielding one 9 inch loaf and two rolls. You could scale the dough differently, making an 8 inch loaf and more rolls. As soon as I get my hands on some more oats, I'm making this again. Until then, this loaf is off to Yeastspotting!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Plum Sorbet

Shavua tov! The whole of last week led up to a big Shabbat meal I hosted as a sort of pre-draft get together with all my friends. Thank G-d, it was a success, but this week now leads up to the draft itself, on Thursday. Ahh!! In any case, planning the meal was super fun and this time, with my new (used) ice cream maker in hand, Shabbat dessert was a no-brainer: fresh, homemade fruit sorbet. As you can see, I made a plum sorbet. When I was in the shuk last week, I saw Santa Rosa plums and figured that in one form another, the latest additions to the market would make it into dessert. I opened up my copy of The Perfect Scoop and found a recipe for Plum Raspberry Sorbet. Since raspberries are hard to find here, fresh or frozen, and are quite expensive even if you do manage to find them, I decided to adapt the recipe into a plum only recipe. The sorbet couldn't have been easier to make. Cook together plums, sugar, water. Cool, blend and churn. Done. The cooking turned the final product a beautiful color I don't even know the name of! And the flavor was so fresh and clean and summery. I served these with gingersnaps (more on those later) which I thought was a great pairing and David Lebovitz agrees; I only saw afterwards his recommendation to serve these in gingersnap ice cream cones. Anyway, if you want to take advantage of the fruits of the season, make some sorbet. I have leftover cherries that a guest brought... can you guess what I'm going to make with them once they're all pitted??

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cowboy Cookies

I was asked to bring dessert for lunch this past weekend and figured the best thing to make would be cookies, small, dry (travelling with frozen dessert- not the wisest thing to do in this weather) and no fork necessary. The decision to make cookies really came as I was browsing through Baked Explorations for inspiration. In the cookie chapter, I came across this recipe for Cowboy Cookies, which is essentially a chocolate chip oatmeal cookie with the addition of salty pretzels, playing off the sweet and salty flavor contrast. Interestingly enough, I found out when I served them that they brought to mind Chubby Hubby, the Ben and Jerry's ice cream flavor that contains pretzels. This was new to me. When I got home I found out that  Ben and Jerry's renamed their ice cream Hubby Hubby in support of gay marriage. So maybe I should rename them Brokeback Mountain Cookies. Anyway, these cookies were really easy to make but do require quite a chill in the fridge. The Baked guys recommend four hours, but I didn't wait that long. Something else I learned- I'm not a fan of convection baking for cookies. I've realized that they are indeed responsible for making my cookies crisp instead of chewy because they bake them faster than I can realize that they are done. So when it comes to cookies from here on out, it's regular bake! These cookies were really well received (after people got over the shock of the pretzels) and if you really feel inclined to take these over the top, you can sandwich them around some ice cream for a really fun summertime treat.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Herb Rolls

Shavua tov! Things are heating up here in Jerusalem in an unbearable way. Shabbat was particularly brutal, especially when walking to and from shul and meals in the blazing heat. I find myself staying home and hanging around in my apartment all day just to avoid the heat! In any case, seeing as I was home again for Shabbat, I decided, along with the challah, to bake some rolls. I've been wanting to make herb rolls again ever since I made them for a Purim Seuda years ago in Bar Ilan, adapted from one from KAF. A thorough search in my recipe box for the index card with the recipe neatly written on it turned up nothing. So it was back to the drawing board. A cursory glance through my bread books yielded nothing. Then I thought to look through Bernard Clayton's thorough bread book. My copy is still in the states, but I did a search through Amazon's look inside the book feature. My search turned up a recipe called Six Herb bread. Perfect! Well, almost, considering I didn't have all those herbs. But I decided to use it as a jumping off point and adapt it. That's exactly what I did. I omitted the sugar from the recipe, used regular oil, and used some dried rosemary, dried thyme and a touch of caraway. I made the dough and let it rise overnight in the fridge. The next day, I took the opportunity to try my hand at shaping different types of rolls. The rolls turned out really well! The flavor of rosemary dominated, but it was mellowed out by the baking and at some points I got a lovely hit of caraway. (I gotta start using it more!) I enjoyed it mostly with Matbucha, a mild to spicy tomato spread, and stashed the leftovers in the freezer. These rolls are headed off to Yeastspotting!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Sugar Puffs

I made these vanilla cookies this past weekend as a counterpoint to the deeply chocolately Chocolate Sorbet, thinking that the lightness of the cookie itself and its gentle vanilla flavor would nicely balance it out. Or, as one noted, for those who don't like chocolate. Or, if you know me, to complete my favorite color combination- black and white. ;) The addition of cornstarch to this shortbread like batter makes these ethereally light. This batch yielded about 21 cookies for me, so double the recipe if you need more. The tops won't color terribly, but keep an eye on the bottoms and sides, they should turn a nice golden color.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Chocolate Sorbet

This weekend, I hosted my very first Shabbat meal in my apartment! And, be proud, for the first time in a long time, my dessert choice came easily to me! As the summer progresses and the days get hotter, I find the need for something cool and refreshing increases. So I whipped out my copy of The Perfect Scoop and looked around for information. In this definitive volume devoted to all things ice cream, David Lebovitz provides no shortage of inspiration. Seeing as I have no ice cream maker, I didn't want to use a million egg yolks, and dairy was off limits, I headed to the chapter on sorbets. The fruit sorbets sounded delicious, (the cherry sorbet stood out as it's prime cherry season here!) but I passed them over in favor of the rich and decadent Chocolate Sorbet. Made with only the best cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate, this sorbet packs a powerful punch. Add the chill factor and you have a wonderful, refreshing, and refreshingly different Shabbat dessert. If you have an ice cream maker, this is a breeze to prepare. If you don't, and I don't (I asked around electronic shops here, apparently they dont carry them anymore in this country- shame!), you can still make this by chilling the base and then beating it every half hour to break up the ice crystals. The texture isn't as smooth as if machine churned, but this version doesn't suffer too much. Out of sheer laziness, and the late hour, I didn't blend before starting the freezing process, but I don't think it mattered. Also, for easier mixing, I poured the base into a nine inch pan.  I would suggest though, pouring the base into a tall container when you're finished the "churning" process as the increased surface area of the pan allows the sorbet to melt faster. No one complained about the fudgy, melty texture, in fact this was a big hit, but I would have preferred nice, clean, unmelted scoops of sorbet. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

KAF 100% Whole Wheat Bread

Happy July everyone and more importantly, happy summer! (I can't believe it's summer already. I keep asking people what they're doing for summer before realizing, oh wait, it is summer!) This loaf of bread was the last thing I baked in SFW before moving to the new apartment, which really does end a two year "era" of baking there. It seems fitting that the last thing I baked was a loaf of bread, my favorite thing to make. Normally, I don't eat bread during the week, so I have to hold myself back from baking it, but because the move was coming up and there really was no food in the fridge, I made an exception. Especially since it was going to have to be whole wheat, as I had a bag of it still in the fridge. The recipe I used was the 100% Whole Wheat Bread Baker's Companion. I made this bread once before when I was in Bar Ilan and my notes accompanying it say, "Really great bread-nice subtle flavor. Not squishy but not at all dense. Perfect w.w. loaf- go to recipe, keeper! Omitted walnuts and seeds. Made by hand, used scale." This bread really is a great whole wheat loaf but this time I made it in the mixer and the rise and texture were even better than I remembered. I did leave out the nuts and seeds again and of course as I always do these days, use the scale. I can't really remember a time when I didn't pull out the scale to bake... This recipe remains a quick, easy and most importantly, great whole wheat bread recipe. Give it a try. This bread is off to Yeastspotting!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Beer Bread

After the disaster that was A's original birthday cake, I had almost an entire bottle of beer leftover. My first instinct? Beer bread. But not the quick bread kind. I wanted an honest to goodness loaf of yeasted bread made with beer. A quick scan through my shelf of bread books yielded a perfect and perfectly simple recipe for Beer Bread in the Bread Bible. I made this dough in the mixer, using sugar instead of malt powder or syrup. The dough after kneading was so silky and a pleasure to work with. I let it rise at room temperature and then shaped and allowed it to proof overnight in the fridge, although Rose says this is not necessary because of the deep flavor the beer gives. Anyway, the next day, I took the well risen loaf out of the fridge, scored and baked. Later that night, I ripped into it and the first bite was sweet, with an unidentifiable flavor contributed by the beer. It was, frankly, delicious with a soft and moist crumb. My roommate, a friend and I finished the whole loaf within minutes. Should it last longer than that, it would actually make great sandwiches. Even if you don't happen to have leftover beer on hand, I would strongly recommend you buy a bottle strictly for this purpose. This Beer Bread is headed for this week's Yeastspotting!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Nectarine Lattice Pie

I realize it's been a while since I last posted.. but there are good reasons for that, I assure you. One is I finally moved to my new apartment!!!!! Yes, I am sitting on my new bed, enjoying GOOD wireless internet (poo poo poo) in my new neighborhood. :) And secondly, my dad's here for the week, so between unpacking and spending time with him, (and sorting out ANNOYING army stuff) this Nectarine Lattice Pie, which I made a couple of weeks back when I went to visit L and J, got pushed to the back burner. This recipe was adapted from The Art and Soul of Baking. The original recipe is for a Nectarine Blackberry Pie but since blackberries cost an arm and a leg and it is peak season for nectarines, that's exactly what they got. (For those of you who think the concept of nectarine pie is bizarre, just think about peach pie, minus the fuzz.) I really enjoy making pies and this was no exception, especially since this one gave me a chance to improve my lattice making skills.  A scoop of ice cream on a hot Shabbat afternoon wouldn't be amiss here whether you choose to serve the pie hot or cold.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Double Fudge Mint Brownies

I'm not sure how I neglected to take a final photograph of these brownies, but it seems I did. Oh well. This past weekend I went to my friends (crazy!) in Alon Shvut and I baked dessert. L told me that she likes chocolate and mint while her husband likes fruit and pies. So for her, I made these Double Fudge Mint Brownies and for him, a nectarine pie (more on that later). For the brownies I used the brownies from KAF Whole Grain Baking and added in chopped Mint Thins to give them a mint profile. The mint thins melted nicely into the final brownie so you would never know they were there just by looking. They turned out nice and fudgy and delicious, with no indication that they are whole grain. Be sure to let them set overnight for the bran in the whole wheat to sufficiently soften. Following is a half recipe, as I made it. Double for a full 9x13 inch pan.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Gingerbread Cake with White Chocolate Lemon Mousse Frosting

My dear roommate A turned 23 last week and in honor, I wanted to make her a birthday cake. Not wanting there to be any surprises, I asked her what kind of cake she wanted and while she didn't have any definitive requests she was opposed to having a chocolate cake. The entire year A had been begging me to bake spice cookies so in tribute to that love of hers, I decided to bake a gingerbread cake. A quick browse through Sky High Cakes and I had found the cake I was going to bake. A Gingerbread Beer Cake. I went out to buy all the ingredients and set out to making it. I don't know what went wrong, but the cake turned out soft and sticky with no structure and it sunk. Big time. Into the trash it went. Plan B. I opened up my copy of Country Living's Great Cakes and landed on Grandma Stonifer's Spice Cake. Bingo. The recipe is one for a two layer birthday cake but of course as my oven has room for only one pan at a time, one layer baked up perfectly while the other sank. It was going to have to be a one layer birthday cake. I wrapped it up and set it aside for the next day. As I was on my way to catch a bus, an idea for frosting hit me like a ton of bricks. Lemon infused white chocolate ganache frosting! Excitedly, I went out to get the white chocolate and lemon and got to work right when I got back. Now, I'm not going to lie, I prepared the white chocolate ganache in Sherry Yard's book but I don't remember how much cream I added to it to get it to a spreadable consistency when I whipped it. I peeled off strips of zest from the lemon and steeped it in the cream, for a subtle but present flavor. When the frosting became spreadable, I covered the cake with it. I used my leftover gingerbread crumbs to coat the sides and some of the top, which was a big hit, pulling the lemon and ginger flavors together. A LOVED the frosting (she got so mad when she saw I got rid of the unused frosting) but thought the cake could use a bit more moisture, so next time I would add some oil in place of some of the shortening. All in all, this cake was a winner and I was very proud of it.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Carrot Bread

The final Shabbat that we had with the girls was spent in the dorms and as I was baking for it minimally, I decided to bake some rolls for myself. I'd long been wanting to make carrot bread and on one of my trips to the shuk, I remembered to pick up a couple to make the recipe from Secrets of a Jewish Baker, fast becoming one of my favorite bread books. (Yes, there is a bit of competition for that spot. I have more bread books than anything else!!) The bread calls for a sponge and some grated or ground carrots. The carrots lent a lovely orange color to the bread, but I wonder if the ground carrots would have made the color more intense and lent more of a sweetness to the bread itself. I opted to make half a recipe, which resulted in six large, perfect sandwich rolls. They turned out crusty on the outside but nice and soft in the middle. The flavor is much like a water roll and the texture is quite sturdy, so these would be perfect for burgers or sandwiches. I enjoyed mine with lots of eggplant salads on Shabbat. I omitted the milk powder from the recipe to keep them parve, but I imagine the addition of milk would make the texture a bit softer. I also made a note to increase the salt for next time, something I seem to be doing in all of Greenstein's breads. These rolls are being Yeastspotted! Check out Susan's weekly round up on Friday.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Rustic Apricot Galette

It's apricot season here in Israel and every time I walk through the shuk, I stare longingly at the containers of them lining each fruit stand. Sadly, they are still too expensive to justify buying. And so, I continue walking through, apricot-less. To my total surprise and excitement, our terrific cook B ordered PLENTY of apricots for our final Shabbat at SFW! Going through them and washing them to serve, there were of course some fruits that were blemished and too soft to be deemed edible. I happily set those aside to bake with. I headed back to my room, apricots (mishmish, in Hebrew) in tow to begin the research process. After flipping through a number of books (all of my pie books came up empty!) I was hit with inspiration and ran to pick up Regan Daly's In the Sweet Kitchen. There in the section for Pies and Tarts was a recipe for a Rustic Apricot Galette.  Ahhh, perfection. Rustic, simple and beautiful (I can hardly look at the pictures, the fruit is stunningly bright!), just the thing to highlight this perfect fruit. A couple of summers ago I made the plum variation but my pie skills were seriously lacking then and well, it wasn't entirely successful. This was the chance to redeem myself and it was quite nice to see how well my pie making skills have developed. This open faced pie came together so quickly. I chilled it in the fridge the night before and baked it the next morning although I wouldnt repeat that because although the chilling step is IMPERATIVE a lot of liquid somehow seeped out of the galette making a bit of a mess. Lesson learned. Anyway, the heat of the oven did wonders for this and the apricots tasted tart  and sweet and delicious, like the best apricot preserves in a simple filling. If there are apricots to be found near you, make this in celebration of the season's bounty.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Regan Daly's Really REALLY Fudgy Brownies

The very last girl left a couple of hours ago and now the dorms are eerily quiet and empty. It's at once both peaceful and sad but I suppose life must go on and now I'm faced with the intimidation that is packing up an entire room! Instead, I'm blogging :) The girls' last hurrah was this past Sunday evening and I was asked to bake brownies to contribute to the dessert table. Seeing as this would be the last time they would enjoy my baked goods, I happily obliged. It was settled that I'd make three pans of brownies so I thought that I would flavor two of the three pans but in the end I just left them all plain and it was good I did. As for the recipe itself, I decided to give a new recipe a try that being the Really REALLY Fudgy Brownie from Regan Daly's In The Sweet Kitchen. A quick glance through the recipe told me that it was very, very similar to the Baked recipe and so I knew this was a guaranteed success. So I got to work. The pictures below indicate a triple batch and yes, I was actually covered with chocolate by the end but it was all worth it. These brownies turned out perfectly crackly, fudgy and well, heavenly. The perfect way to end a great year.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Buttermilk Cluster

I spent Shavuot in school with the girls and so wanted to bake some bread to enjoy for it. Because we traditionally eat dairy on Shavuot, I took the opportunity to make the bread dairy. (Dairy bread, by Jewish law is forbidden to make, lest one accidentally eat it at a meat meal. The only way it is permissible is if the shape is distinct enough to serve as a reminder that it is different than the norm.) For ages, I've seen the picture of the Buttermilk Cluster on the Fresh Loaf website and so I wanted to make something along those lines. I opened up Secrets of a Jewish Baker and settled on the Buttermilk Bread. I made half a recipe in my mixer and baked it as rolls in a cake pan. I used oil instead of margarine or shortening. This dough would make a great sandwich loaf because it is nice and soft. I was anticipating a sweeter roll with a stronger taste of buttermilk although I'm not sure why because there is barely any sweetener in it, this making it perfect for savory applications. Next time, I would definitely up the salt as I found myself sprinkling the rolls with salt before I took each bite. Because I love sesame seeds, I took the liberty of glazing the rolls with egg white and sprinkling half of them with sesame seeds. These rolls are being Yeastspotted!