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.