Kosher Baking A-Z

 

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.


 

Comforting Chocolate Chai Custards

 

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The transition of summer into fall is my absolute favorite time of year. Because of back to school, you’re thinking. Well, in part, perhaps, but there’s much more: this is when the oppressive mid-Atlantic cloak of humidity vanishes, the air crisps up at night, the leaves turn all the gorgeous colors of the rainbow and the October sky is the brightest blue of anytime else during the year. Don’t even get me started on
the anticipation of Thanksgiving, my favorite meal. But I digress…

Autumn flavors are sentimental, powerful, infinitely memorable. Pumpkins , hearty soups and stews, and desserts with deep, warm fall spices leave delicious lasting impressions. Some time ago I discovered an easy shortcut to infusing warm, spicy flavor into autumn desserts: concentrated chai tea. Left undiluted, this product packs a sweet, spicy punch and instantly adds depth of flavor to desserts such as cakes, muffins, quickbreads and custards – just substitute it for some or all of the other liquids in the recipe.


 

Cake In A Jar

 

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Cakes in jars are the perfect dessert to bring outdoors for Sukkot or to bring over other people’s homes.  They are very sturdy, they can be sealed and they are easy to transport. Make your favorite cake recipes and assemble it in a jar.  Pint sized jars should serve 2 people and half pints would be better for individual servings.

To Assemble Jars:


 

The Finale – 4 Pareve Desserts

 

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These perfectly-portioned desserts cap off any meal in grand style—and they’re easy and quick to prepare!


 

5 Honey Cake Recipes For Rosh Hashanah

 

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Rosh Hashanah is the time when we ring in the Jewish New Year, and we want to do it in as sweet a way as possible. As a symbol of the sweet new year we hope is to come our way, we dip an apple in honey, and make a bracha loud and clear. We also have the custom to drizzle honey over the challah, and eat honey cake for dessert. One helpful tip I discovered while making honey cake is to briefly microwave your honey (for about 10 seconds) before measuring it for your recipe. This makes the honey come out of the container much more quickly. To save yourself a sticky mess, spray your measuring cup with some non-stick cooking spray before measuring your honey.  Now try one of these new honey cake recipes.

Mom’s Honey Cake


 

Apple Pie Versus Apple Cake

 

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During the High Holidays everyone in our family eats sliced apples and honey, the traditional New Year snack, just like all the other Jewish people we know. But we also have another tradition that goes way beyond that.

I’ll call it the Hoffman Family Annual Apple pie/Apple cake Event. My Mom and her sister, my Aunt Beck, were very close and loved each other lots, but sisters will be sisters and they had this baking rivalry thing. So, before the holidays each of them would bake her special holiday dessert and announce to all who cared to listen that the pie – or cake, as the case might be – was better.


 

Dear Jamie, You Can Make It Anywhere

 

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Dear Jamie,

Welcome to Israel, and Mazal Tov on your aliyah!!  If your community is anything like ours, it will be a while before you have to cook – between the food deliveries and the overwhelming hospitality, you will hardly have to turn on the oven.  But sooner or later, you will want to cook again. That’s when the reality of what you have just done will come crashing down on you.  Recipes just won’t work the same.  Ingredients, oven, climate – it’s all different.  Nowhere is this realization as stark as in the baking arena.  Even veteran bakers have been reduced to quivering, teary blobs of jello (or jelly, as they call it here!) after disastrous initial attempts to make familiar recipes.  So with your sanity in mind, I am here to offer a few tips to make your transition a little easier.


 

How To Fix Baking Disasters

 

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I get a lot of phone calls about baking emergencies. Sometimes the caller needs advice on a substitution or shopping source for a missing ingredient or piece of equipment. But often, it has to do with a disaster and the desperate search for a solution. We’ve all been there – the bundt cake that breaks on its way out of the pan, the cookies that spread into one giant slab on the baking sheet, the undercooked brownies discovered too late – and we all know the awful feeling of “What am I going to serve for dessert?!”

The truth is, there is rarely a way to “fix” a baking disaster back into what you had initially envisioned (gluing a cake back together with frosting is fun, but not necessarily beautiful). You can, however, turn the mishap into something even more fun, creative, and delicious.


 

Baking Substitutions For Dairy Free Desserts ...

 

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I love baking non-dairy desserts.  Most recipes I come across are dairy, though.  So I challenge myself to develop perfect non-dairy versions. Sometimes turning a recipe from dairy to dairy-free is as simple as replacing the butter with margarine.  But unfortunately, that doesn’t always work.  When developing a recipe, I never start from scratch.  I always take an existing, tried and true, recipe and tweak it.  I try to look for recipes that don’t need too much changing.  I prefer to try and change two ingredients or less.  For example, if a recipe calls for butter, milk, and sour cream, I usually stay away from it.

General Substitutions


 

Mean, Green (Vegan) Pistachio Ice Cream

 

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I like colorful food as much as the next person, but far too many pistachio ice creams out there take on an enticing shade of green through chemical means, leading to a terribly disappointing taste and a belly full of chemicals. A good version of this classic flavor doesn’t necessarily need to be an emerald or forest green to be delicious, but you can still achieve such a luscious hue simply by using the nuts themselves, plus a healthy dose of vibrant green avocado for creaminess. After you taste how incredibly flavorful this easy nutty treat can be, you will find it close to impossible to justify the purchase of those fakers again.

Vegan, Parve Pistachio Ice Cream.


 

The Perfect Scoop – 4 Ice Cream Sundae...

 

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Is there a better time for Ice cream?

Ice cream gets everyone excited, no matter the age.  So…imagine your guests delight, when after a dairy meal this Shavuot, out comes…an ice cream dessert bar! Try some of these flavors, and allow your guests to mix and match delicious sauces and crunchy toppings. The delicious flavor combinations below are worthy of a holiday celebration.


 

Tiramisu Recipe Remake – Two Ways

 

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Tiramisu is a popular Italian layered dessert cake. The name tiramisu literally means “pick-me-up” in Italian, referring to the two caffeine-containing ingredients; coffee and cocoa. Today we introduce the traditional more indulgent recipe and then a lighter version using Angel Food Cake.  Try one and let us know what you think.



 

Raspberry Rhubarb Slab Pie

 

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I am always looking for new and interesting dessert ideas.  While browsing Pinterest (my newest internet obsession) I recently came across a new dessert trend called the “slab pie”.  It’s basically a pie baked in a large square or rectangle pan and cut into squares.  I found a recipe for a crumb topped raspberry rhubarb slab pie and had to try the recipe immediately.  I made a few changes, adapting the recipe to keep it pareve, and tweaking the flavorings here and there, but I was really excited about the combination of raspberries and rhubarb.  I’ve made a strawberry rhubarb pie in the past and thought it was okay, but the strawberries were too sweet and pretty much hid the rhubarb flavor.  I thought the raspberries would be the perfect balance of sweet and tangy to balance out the bitterness of the rhubarb.  I was right, this combination is a stroke of genius!  I wish I had come up with it myself!


 

Blue and White Cheesecake for Yom Ha’Atzmaut

 

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The weather’s warming up and Yom Ha’Atzmaut is just about here — I’d say this calls for some cheesecake squares, Israeli style.

Israel is often praised for its dairy products, even the basic ones. My Canadian mother-in-law says the milk is better here, and the cheeses are wonderful, too.