Kosher Baking A-Z

 

Parve Passover Dessert Recipes

 

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With all of the packaged Passover cakes and cookies sitting in the grocery store aisles weeks before the holiday starts it is no surprise that many a store-bought Passover cake tastes more like the cardboard it is packaged in than like a delicious dessert.  Sure, they are convenient, but as someone who strongly believes that dessert is not worth eating unless it is truly delicious, to me they are just not an option. Instead I use Pesach as the perfect opportunity to make homemade desserts that would be welcome on the table anytime of year. It isn’t enough for them to be “good for Pesach”. They have to be good period. The key is using quality ingredients and finding appropriate substitutions for ingredients like flour that can’t be used on Pesach.


 

The Best Passover Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

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I used to be terrified of baking for Passover, it’s tough! A dessert that is “good enough for Passover” is just not good enough for me. I pride myself on serving up delicious desserts at all times, no exceptions, no excuses and baking without flour makes baking very difficult. I used to just take off from baking over Passover, but last year I decided to take the challenge on. I am currently on a mission to develop at least one delicious dessert every Passover. I am excited to share my recipe for chocolate chip cookies with you!

As I was browsing the Passover baking aisle in the grocery store I came across vanilla pudding mix. I have a recipe for regular chocolate chip cookies that calls for a package of vanilla pudding mix. It makes the cookies soft and chewy. I went home with the pudding mix and put this recipe together. I substituted matzah cake meal for the flour and mixed up a batch of dough. The cookie dough looked perfect, just like regular cookie dough, so I put the cookies in the oven and crossed my fingers. They came out of the oven looking great! Looks can be deceiving though, how did they taste? Delicious! If I hadn’t baked these with my own two hands, I would not have believed they are Kosher for Passover!


 

Homemade Muffins for Mishloach Manot

 

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Purim is the one time of year when we go to synagogue and do all the things we would never do any other time. And we encourage our children to do them too. By that I mean: we laugh and talk loud and generally misbehave. There we are, at services and we’re yelling, cavorting and making a racket! Our kids grog their groggers, make loud hissing sounds and stamp their feet whenever Haman’s name is mentioned, so they can wipe out the evil name. Don’t we all just love it too!

Really, it’s okay, all this acting out. According to the Megillah, we’re actually commanded to right? This is the way it’s supposed to be on a day when we celebrate a victory over an enemy who tried to destroy our people.


 

Non-Dairy Purim Treats with Candy Sushi

 

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With Purim right around the corner there is a lot of excitement in our house right now.  My son asks me every day “how much longer until purim”? One of the fun things about Purim is that it is an opportunity to get dressed up and act with a kind of irreverence that most of us don’t have in our everyday lives. On Purim things are not always quite what they seem, and that is a wonderful thing. In that vein this candy sushi is the perfect treat for a Purim party or to send in misloach manot. It looks like sushi but tastes like candy. While it is not an elegant treat by any stretch of the imagination it never fails to bring a smile to people’s faces. The kids absolutely love them! They would be adorable packed in bento boxes for mishloach manot, maybe with a small bottle of sake and some nice chopsticks.

 Candy Sushi


 

Peanut Butter and Jelly Hamentashen

 

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Purim is my absolute, hands down, favorite holiday!  I don’t only love it because it happens to be my birthday (I was born on Shushan Purim), but for other reasons as well.  Getting dressed up in costume is super fun; who doesn’t love to play pretend from time to time!  I also love coming up with fun themes for my shalach manot.  I don’t go overboard, I keep them simple- Pesach is approaching, after all, and who needs so much candy in the house.  Now for my favorite part which should be obvious since I am a pastry chef…I love baking hamentaschen.

Hamentaschen are probably the perfect cookies in my humble opinion.  What is better than a sweet cookie filled with delicious jam?  When I was younger, my mom and I had to make so many batches of hamentaschen because my family and friends would gobble them up so quickly.  My mom tried to hide them so we wouldn’t have to keep baking them every night, but that never worked-someone always found them.


 

Brown Butter Apple Galette With Your Kids

 

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The way I see it, there are two kinds of pie in this world: Perfect pie and imperfect pie.

To make a perfect pie, you have to get all the steps and proportions and assembly just so. But if you make a galette, you can relax. This free-form pie is supposed to be rustic and homey — not bake-shop perfect. And don’t worry, it tastes just as good (if not better).


 

Baking Bread

 

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I recently had the chance to spend a day in the Brooklyn kitchen of Alan Broner, one of the partners of Jacks Gourmet sausages. Not only does he make delicious sausages he is also a master bread maker. (He also smokes a phenomenal salmon). He invited me to come over so I could learn some tricks of the trade and taste the results of our hard work.

Beef Bacon n Eggs


 

Vegan Pie Pops From Hannah

 

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Hamentaschen are in-arguably the dessert du jour for Purim, but that doesn’t mean that there’s no room for creative interpretation.  Iron out the corners, add a lollipop stick handle for grab-and-go fun, and you’d get these stunningly simple Pie Pops.  Between the tender crust and fruity center, what are they but miniature, triangular pies, after all?

Familiar fillings with small twists liven up the standard pastry, sure to satisfy the traditional and adventurous palate alike. Not to mention, the downsized format is perfect for portion control.  Right at home in a basket of mishloach manot, recipients both young and old alike can find flavors to enjoy.


 

Two Delicious Rugelach Recipes

 

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Ever since I was young, I knew I wanted to be a baker. I always loved baking with my mother for Shabbos and Yom Tov. I remember helping my mom measure out the ingredients and mixing up the batter. The best part was always licking the bowl. I loved going with my mom to the local bakery to pick up fresh challah and desserts for Shabbos. I always got to pick a cookie from the case to eat right there in the store! When I got older, I got a job at a bakery and learned all the ins and outs of commercial baking and instantly fell deeper in love! In the bakery kitchen I feel like I am home. Well, home away from home, anyway. There is nothing more satisfying than perfectly measuring out ingredients, mixing up dough in just the right way, and baking up a perfect dessert every time. I love braiding hundreds of challahs, or piping out tray after tray of lace cookies. I know that this may sound crazy to some, but this is all truly relaxing to me.

When I worked at a bakery my main job was cake decorating. Whenever I finished my work early, I would help out my fellow bakers. My favorite thing to help out with was rolling up rugelach. I love the challenge of making each one look exactly like the last. When they are all rolled up, they look like cute little croissants.


 

Gingerbread Eggnog Bread Pudding Muffins

 

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Winter is officially here and with cold weather comes major cravings for my favorite seasonal comfort foods! Every year I look forward to creamy eggnog on the store shelves, fresh sufganiyot in the bakeries, gingerbread-house competitions on The Food Network, and sipping warm apple cider under a cozy blanket in my living room. In case you are like me and crave these seasonal traditions all year round, you can now have them whenever you like! Why wait for the cold weather blues to savor delicious eggnog and gingerbread when you can make it fresh and delicious all year round?! And even better than that, why not make it pareve so you can eat it after any meal!

Gingerbread Loaf


 

Sweet Potato Brioche

 

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I close my eyes and I can feel the warm sun kissing my face. Eyes open I can see the passersby strolling along in pairs or scurrying about pushing strollers and gathering up children to quickly reach a destination. Me I’m alone, sitting on the corner of a Parisian avenue; I can feel the bumpy cobblestones beneath my feet. The air sweeps by with the aroma of crusty bread and sweet butter. As I sip espresso the waiter presents a small dish with a bouncy piece of brioche à tête. I gladly take the offering and tear into it…heaven!  “Mommy”, my son says, “When is the challah ready?” I look around large windows, stacked bowls, and amass of toys scattered about.  I snap out of it I’m not in Paris at all but in my kitchen, the wafting scent coming from the oven has transported me into another one of my day dreams. Looking down into a pair of dark brown eyes I smile and reply “it’s not Challah, its Brioche”. “What’s Brioche?” He asks innocently.  Well…

Some consider Brioche a pastry instead of bread, its high fat content makes it much more desirable in texture and flavor. With a rich yellow color, it is sweet and slightly yeasty. In the mid 1600’s Nicolas de Bonnefons was selected by Louis XIV to write a cookbook for the more affluent populace who escaped the cities for a provincial life in the countryside. With their wealthier tastes for costly butter and eggs; an appetite for an alternative to the rustic loaves usually prepared by the local baker had arisen. Bonnefons offered up a recipe with fresh yeast cultivated from beer, fine white flour, and butter, eggs, milk and crème fraiche.


 

Non-Dairy Thanksgiving Desserts

 

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Since the main focal point of the Thanksgiving meal is almost always a beautifully cooked turkey it is imperative that the rest of the dishes are parve in a kosher Thanksgiving feast. One year I decided I was missing out by not having an opportunity to try all the side dishes I was reading about in the glossy cooking magazines that called for things like Mascarpone cheese and heavy cream. To solve this problem we decided to make a dairy meal for the Shabbat after Thanksgiving made up almost entirely of assorted side dishes. Besides the fact that two huge heavy meals in a row was perhaps not the best idea we enjoyed having a chance to try all those dishes but in the end decided that there were plenty of delicious parve options and it wasn’t worth the trouble.

The big surprise of that experience was the pumpkin pie. The parve pumpkin pie I made (based on the recipe on the back of the Libby’s Pumpkin Puree) for the real Thanksgiving meal tasted identical to the dairy version I made the following night.  This pie is sure to please anyone looking for the classic Thanksgiving standard, and it is super quick to throw together which is an added bonus.


 

Chocolate Almond Pana Cotta with Ginger Snap Tuile

 

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Hi.  My name is Harmony and I’m a dairy addict. I dream about mounds of real dairy ice cream topped with fresh whipped cream, oozing milk chocolate. I cannot resist crispy butter cookies or a velvety custard. Yet I have often turned up my nose to many Parve desserts. ‘No, thank you. I’m full.’  A pastry chef who turns down desserts?  Say it isn’t so!

Don’t get me wrong.  I love dessert and I enjoy sampling all different kinds of confections, amusing my palate. It is just rare to find a Parve dessert that can measure up.  But I love a challenge and finding substitutions that taste just as great and sometimes are actually healthier can be thrilling. So my mission as a frum Jew has been to search for the perfect non-dairy dessert to pair with our meat meals, something light and creamy for that scrumptiously sweet bite after a satiating feast.


 

A Non-Dairy Frangipane Tart Recipe With Pears and...

 

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As a pastry student and an avid baking blogger and blog reader, I’m constantly looking to enrich my knowledge on the basics.  At the root of all truly great desserts lie the basic techniques and recipes that, once truly understood and mastered, allow for application in the most creative ways possible.  The lovely recipe I’m thrilled to be sharing today is a rich and nutty Frangipane Tart with Amaretto & Honey Poached Pears.  And, while the assembled dessert may look extravagant, it’s actually relatively simple in that it is composed of three basic techniques or mini-recipes that can be used over and over again and adapted to fit into many of your existing favorite and future dessert recipes.

The rustic beauty of this special dish makes it a perfect option for a Sukkot dessert and the fact that it can be made ahead of time and served at room temperature makes it even more irresistible.  The parve shortcrust recipe, however, is the type of “go-to” basic that will easily become a household favorite.  Contrary to other pie or tart shell recipes, both with butter or dairy-free, this sucree (pastry) can be rolled and maneuvered with the greatest of ease and bakes up to a golden brown finish that is sweetly delicious.


 

Healthy Sweets for your Sukkah

 

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Sukkot, while known primarily as our Festival of Booths, is also the Jewish harvest festival celebrating nature and the ingathering of the fruits of the earth. As such, on Chag HaAsif, the “Feast of Ingathering,” vegetables and fruits are the theme of the meals eaten in the Sukkah as well as the décor of the Sukkah itself. What better way to honor this holiday of harvest than by utilizing a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and nuts in delicious treats to adorn our tables and share with our family and friends.

In our home during the holidays, sweet treats are not only limited to the desserts served after a festive meal. We enjoy bringing the sweet yom tov spirit into every meal by enjoying healthier home-baked goodies for breakfast, snacks and as dessert after meals as well. Muffins are usually our treat of choice as they are pre-portioned, are not too sweet, can be filled with healthy, nutrient and fiber boosting ingredients (don’t tell the kids), and most of all our kids love them. The Triple Apple Muffins and Pear Zucchini Muffins are two of our family’s favorites, and are also the perfect anytime treat to enjoy in your own Sukkah.