Kosher Baking A-Z

 

Easy Strawberry Shortcake Dairy or Parve

 

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The coconut whipped cream in the parve version of this Strawberry Shortcake tastes so incredibly good, you won’t believe that it’s pareve. Use this recipe to replace any whipped cream for your guests who are vegan, soy free, or those who just don’t want to eat the chemicals known as non-dairy whipped topping. If using frozen strawberries, make sure to only buy the Bodek PREMIUM frozen strawberries, which come in re-sealable black and peach bags in the frozen aisle of your kosher supermarket. These strawberries are pretty enough for garnishes, even though they are frozen. Other frozen strawberries won’t be as nice. Make sure to follow the directions for defrosting them, so that they retain their naturally pretty shapes.  All you have to do is arrange whole frozen strawberries in one single layer, over a double layer of paper towels. While still frozen, so as to retain the shape of the strawberries, slice half of the strawberries into thin slivers. Allow strawberries to defrost.

Enjoy the recipes for whichever one works for you:


 

The Best Dessert I Ever Ate

 

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Amid the many low rise office buildings on the busy street in West Los Angeles sat the small wooden house, the last remaining structure of its kind on this street, and the final evidence of a simpler time gone by.  The house had a few small tables situated outside its doors, and inside its living and dining rooms had been cleared to accommodate small and medium size tables, seating a total of about 30 people.  The house maintained the charm of its original wood floors and peeling pastel paint, but the door to its kitchen had been updated with a swinging one that had a window in its center, a nod I’m sure to the modernized kitchen within.

This was the setting of my long-ago favorite restaurant, Chez Helene, closed for a couple of decades now but still very alive in my memory.  I was introduced to this gem, specializing in French country cuisine, when I was in college and I frequented as often as my budget allowed.  I always ordered my same favorite dishes, which were presented efficiently and warmly by young servers in crisp white aprons, often boasting French accents themselves.


 

The Best Thing I Ever Ate- Crepe Cake

 

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Asking a chef what the best thing they ever ate is complicated. It is like asking a kid to pick only 1 piece of candy! Or a make-up artist which color lipstick they like best, or a designer which fabric they favor most etc…

You get the idea. There have been so many bests. That is why I chose this job. I am surrounded by my favorite things all day long. It is like hanging out with all your friends-how can I pick just one?


 

The Flavors of Limonana for Yom Haatzmaut

 

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When I think about celebrating Yom Haatzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, my thoughts naturally turn to Israeli food. Yom Haatzmaut is a day of celebration and barbecues across Israel, and just thinking about all the delicious spiced grilled meats and veggies stuffed into fresh pita with hummus and other salatim makes me hungry. I want the flavors of Israel to be front and center in any Yom Haatzmaut menu I create and I try to have an Israeli meal from beginning to end.

One of quintessential flavors of Israel that I like to include is the refreshing combination of lemon and spearmint, called limonana (a combination of the Hebrew words for lemon and mint).  The combination of lemon and mint is the perfect way to cool off on a hot Israeli day and limonana abounds in Israeli supermarkets both in the form of drinks and other frozen treats.


 

4 Pesach Desserts Better Than a Bakery

 

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Have a Sweet Week this Passover with amazing desserts brought to us from the folks at the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts, the kosher cooking school in Brooklyn, NY.  CKCA’s pastry chefs got in the kitchen to create these non-gebrokts Passover desserts special for Joy of Kosher readers. During the final tasting, CKCA director Jesse Blonder exclaimed, ‘These are the best Pesach desserts I’ve ever had—hands down.”

passover dessert - chocolate nut cake

Passover Chocolate Nut Spice Cake


 

Hot Chocolate vs Hot Cocoa

 

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A steaming mug of sweet, creamy, chocolatey deliciousness.  What could possibly be better in the dead of winter?  Come in from the cold, put on some warm socks and curl up in front of the fire with the mug warming your hands.  Hot chocolate oozes coziness and tradition, starting in childhood sometime after the second or third snowball fight.  But was it hot chocolate or hot cocoa that you sipped?  Do you remember?  Does it matter?  You might be surprised to learn that there is much debate on this exact subject.

Even though “hot chocolate” and “hot cocoa” are often used interchangeably, there is a big difference between the two.  Hot chocolate or “drinking chocolate,” is made from ground chocolate (which contains cocoa butter) mixed with hot milk.  It is made by taking solid chocolate and chopping it finely or grinding it into a powder, then melting it into hot milk which adds to its creaminess.  It is smooth, supple and satisfying.  Drinking chocolate is commonly enjoyed throughout the world, but particularly in Europe where, for example, the very thick cioccolata densa is a staple of northern Italy.


 

A Sweet Tu B’ Shevat Celebration

 

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Tu B’ Shevat, the Jewish holiday celebrating the New Year of the Trees, is something I fondly anticipate each year in the midst of winter. As a child growing up in Northern California we always held our Tu B’shevat seder outside on the grass and then planted new trees in the back yard. The first bulbs of spring would be beginning to bloom and it was the perfect time of year to plant new trees. While it is a bit harder to feel that kind of tangible connection when in much of the country it is still the heart of winter, it is still wonderful to celebrate planting and trees and a time when the earth will be blooming again.

 


 

Mask Cake Pop Tutorial and *Giveaway*

 

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I almost always stick with round cake pops, for some reason shaped pops intimidate me. A crazy cake? No problem… a shaped pop? Yikes! But when I was asked to do a guest blog post I thought what could I do that I haven’t done yet and haven’t seen yet? Purim is right around the corner and I feel like my thoughts go immediately to masks. I thought I’d go out of my comfort zone and try mask cake pops! Well I think I was pretty successful with it and I hope you will be too. Enjoy my tutorial and have a Happy Purim!

Materials:


 

Mixer Free, 1 Bowl Cakes & Cookies

 

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Many cooks and top chefs will agree that baking can be a huge hassle. Even many acclaimed chefs are intimidated when it comes to baking pastries and dessert. Becoming a pastry chef is a specialty area among chefs. It can be a time consuming and messy process that entails a lot of attention to detail and the use of many dishes. In addition, any parent that has baked with their kids can attest to the end result. Happy faces, sticky fingers and cake batter in unimaginable places. That is why many of us buy cakes and cookies from a local bake shop. However, there is nothing like home baked goods. Try the following recipes. These recipes are really easy to make and because you can use a fork, a whisk and a bowl, they are great to make with kids.

cookie cheese cake

Chocolate Cookie Cheesecake


 

Treasured Family Recipe for Pineapple Squares

 

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Growing up Jewish I never celebrated Christmas, but I did used to wonder about it. In the United States, no matter your persuasion, everyone is surrounded by the music, colors and characters of the holiday season for two solid months. However, it wasn’t Santa I wanted to know about, or the reindeer or the trees. I wondered about how families felt together when they brought out their once-a-year decorations or ate a special breakfast reserved for only for December 25. I imagined it felt as sentimental as seeing our seder plate only once a year on Passover or delighting in our special family tradition of churros, fried Mexican doughnuts, only on Chanukah.

I have always been fascinated by customs and family traditions and how they got started. Recently, my friend Erica from Pittsburgh shared her family’s Christmas tradition, which for me was a first to hear about: no presents. Erica explained that about ten years ago, her close-knit family realized that they were too stressed out about finding “perfect” gifts for everyone and in so doing, they were losing the meaning behind the holiday. So they decided to trade the hustle and bustle for the uncomplicated pleasure of enjoying each others’ company all season long in relaxed ways that everyone enjoys: cooking together, going out to eat and watching movies. Apparently once they made this switch they
never looked back, and for good reason – they have the ability to cherish what is really important to them in pleasurable and unhurried ways.


 

Baked Doughnuts for Chanukah

 

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Raise your hand if you ever really stick to your shopping list! Yeah, I didn’t think so. Neither do I. So while on a shopping trip at Bed Bath & Beyond, I happened upon a mini doughnut pan by Wilton and bought two! I mean, each pan only makes twelve mini doughnuts, and I knew I would want more that. Are you laughing now? I put the pans aside for the right moment and it came when my three-year-old randomly asked for chocolate doughnuts.

I made these Baked Doughnuts.  Then I lightly topped 24 of the doughnuts with colorful sprinkles for my 3-year-old, Zach, and another 12 with shimmery yellow sugar from Breezy’s in Long Island. I think I enjoyed them more than he did.  Thirty Six baked doughnuts later, Zach actually asked for red doughnuts. What a demanding child! Since I still had ¼ of the batter left, I added some red food coloring and Zach had red mini doughnuts!


 

Layered Desserts Really Dress Things Up

 

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Coffee Cream Cups pictured above.  I love desserts in cups.  No matter how you do it, they always look great.  Try these dairy coffee creams.  They are really unique.


 

Chanukah Treats

 

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Box ‘em, Bag’em, Eat’em!  Whatever you do with them, they are the perfect Chanukah treat.

Ycan find pastry boxes for your donuts at craft stores or online.  Fill mini boxes with donuts for your guests to take home.


 

Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes

 

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As a lover of food, I heart Thanksgiving.  To me, it is a holiday dedicated to the celebration of all the delicious Fall flavors. While pumpkin is the official mascot of Fall, I have noticed a new flavor popping up as well.  Masala chai is a beverage originating in India prepared by brewing tea with a mixture of aromatic Indian spices.  Chai spice mix doesn’t have an official recipe, different spice mixes are made in different areas.  The spice mix generally includes ginger and cardamom as the base.  Other spices that are added include cinnamon, star anise, peppercorn, clove, all-spice, and nutmeg.  There is something so warm and soothing about these spices that I just can’t get enough of.

Some of my close friends and I celebrate Thanksgiving together by enjoying a pot luck meal.  I am always assigned dessert and I usually bring pies.  I know pumpkin pie is generally served on Thanksgiving.  But I don’t like pumpkin pie, so I stick to lemon meringue pie and apple pie.  I do love pumpkin though, so I decided that this year I needed to come up with a delicious pumpkin dessert.  I also wanted to include my newest obsession, chai spice mix so I present you with Pumpkin Chai Cupcakes.  The pumpkin chai cupcakes are moist and delicious but not overly sweet.  The chai tea concentrate adds a hint of spice to the cupcakes, but if you can’t find it, you can always just use water.  These cupcakes are perfect on their own or they can be paired with chai spiced frosting for a sweeter, more decadent option.  If you wanted to serve the cupcakes as a side dish, add ½ cup of craisins to the batter before baking and call them pumpkin muffins!  These can also be made in a mini cupcake pan for a cuter presentation.


 

Nutella-Swirled Pumpkin Bread

 

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November is my birthday month (I was a Thanksgiving baby), so I love to treat myself to special fall desserts especially during November.    As a working mom, running both my business and my household, I generally don’t have time to devote to complicated treats.  This is where quick breads step in…

Really cakes at heart, quick breads are aptly named for their quick preparation and ease of baking.  The batter comes together quickly and generally bakes in a loaf pan;  sometimes the finished cakes are glazed, sometimes not.  They are homey and comforting, great with coffee for breakfast , with tea as an afternoon snack or anytime with a glass of cold milk.  And as with cake, quick breads can be made in any flavor imaginable.