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.