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!