Kosher Baking A-Z

 

Introducing Orly and Her Poppyseed Cake

 

Contributed by:

 

3 comments | Leave Comment

 

Before I start I would like to thank Jamie and Tamar for the opportunity to write a regular guest blog on Joy of Kosher. I have to confess that I’ve never written a blog before and I’m not sure what I’m supposed to write. If you’re reading me now please tell me what you would like to keep reading here.

I’ll start by telling you a little about me – I was born in Tel Aviv and lived my whole life in Israel. Food was and still is my passion. From a young age I used to bake and make all the dessert at home while my mother did the cooking. I started collecting recipes from friends, neighbors, magazines etc. I still have my first notebook where I used to keep all the recipes, which I marked so I would know whether to repeat them or not.


 

Chocolate Swirl Bread Like Babka

 

Contributed by:

 

2 comments | Leave Comment

 

When you move to Israel, you are constantly astounded at how different it is from the States. Everything, and I mean everything, is different from the size of paper, the fact that you pay for your medical insurance in the post office, and that chocolate is a type of sandwich not a bar.
I can’t tell you how or why, but I can most definitely tell you that chocolate sandwiches are not only an option but the option of choice when it comes to sandwiches. When I first arrived here, I found the concept of putting chocolate in between two pieces of bread bizarre and now that I am here for a number of years; I still find it to be incredibly weird.

For me chocolate spread was like coconut macaroons, it only existed on Passover. Seeing it sold here all year round and in great bulk is somewhat entertaining. So entertaining that my friend once called it chocolate fondue without a fire, which if you tried it, is no stretch of the imagination.


 

How To Make Homemade Halva

 

Contributed by:

 

5 comments | Leave Comment

 

One of my favorite things to do when I am in Jerusalem is to go to the shuk. I love the bustle and energy of shopping there. The fresh produce, the spice shops, the fresh baked pita, all the stalls draw me in inviting me to purchase just a bit of this and a bit of that. But no display grabs me quite like the halvah stand. Huge slabs of halvah in every imaginable flavor, with the shopkeeper handing out samples so good you just can’t help but buy some. I always end up buying way too much, but no one seems to complain when I bring it home.

Since I don’t live in Jerusalem and don’t have the good fortune of regularly shopping at the shuk I wanted to try to recreate some of that amazing halvah in my own kitchen. It turns out that the flaky yet creamy texture that makes halvah so alluring it somewhat dependent on making industrial sized batches, which makes it a bit tricky to translate to the home kitchen. That being said, I have come up with a method that yields delicious halvah that is so much fresher and more delicious than any packaged halvah available for purchase. It is slightly less flaky than the halvah I remember from the shuk but it comes very close in texture and matches it in flavor.


 

Strawberries + Dark Chocolate = Dairy Free Dessert...

 

Contributed by:

 

0 comments | Leave Comment

 

Summer berries are here in full swing!  It may be too early in the season to feast on homegrown fruit, but local farmers markets and supermarkets are fully stocked with an assortment of colorful berries, lush and bursting with flavor.

Sweet, versatile and nutritious, strawberries are one of the most well-liked fruits in the United States and perhaps the most popular of all the berries.  In addition to their distinct, juicy flavor and gorgeous crimson color, strawberries are packed with fiber and potassium and have the most Vitamin C of any berry, all at only 25 calories per half cup.  Nowadays the fruit is usually available year round, but peak season is from April to July when strawberries are welcomingly inexpensive.


 

Easy Strawberry Shortcake Dairy or Parve

 

Contributed by:

 

2 comments | Leave Comment

 

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

 

Contributed by:

 

0 comments | Leave Comment

 

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

 

Contributed by:

 

1 comment | Leave Comment

 

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

 

Contributed by:

 

3 comments | Leave Comment

 

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

 

Contributed by:

 

2 comments | Leave Comment

 

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

 

Contributed by:

 

1 comment | Leave Comment

 

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

 

Contributed by:

 

6 comments | Leave Comment

 

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*

 

Contributed by:

 

18 comments | Leave Comment

 

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

 

Contributed by:

 

5 comments | Leave Comment

 

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

 

Contributed by:

 

3 comments | Leave Comment

 

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

 

Contributed by:

 

0 comments | Leave Comment

 

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!