Kosher Baking A-Z

 

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.


 

3 Parve Sweet Dessert Recipes for Rosh Hashanah

 

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On Rosh Hashanah it is traditional to eat foods symbolic of our hopes for a good and prosperous new year. The most recognizable of these symbols is the apple dipped in honey, but there are many more symbolic foods associated with Rosh Hashanah, such as gourds, fenugreek, leeks, beets, dates, pomegranate, and the head of a fish.  These desserts are based around some of these traditional symbolic foods (don’t worry, not the fish head). While it is customary to serve the symbolic foods at the beginning of the meal, these desserts are a fun way to serve them at the end as well.

Pomegranates are a very common food to serve on Rosh Hashanah. When eating the pomegranate we state the hope “that our merits increase like (the seeds of) a pomegranate” in the coming year. These Individual Pomegranate Tarts are the perfect way to highlight the many seeds within each pomegranate. The sweet tart crust is filled with a soft pomegranate curd and topped with as many fresh pomegranate seeds as will fit on top. The seeds look like glistening jewels making this a very elegant dessert.


 

Some Interesting and Useful Challah Tidbits

 

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A very very frequent question I get goes something like this:

“I made a challah dough and it looked good. But after I’ve shaped it and it is on the baking tray, it seems to rise out instead of upwards and the end result is a flat, wide challah that, although it still tastes good, really doesn’t look that nice. What can I do to make them nicer, aside from using a loaf or oval shaped pan?”


 

2 Holiday Cake Recipes That Step Out of The Box

 

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When Joy of Kosher first asked me to develop new cake recipes for the magazine, I suggested six different cakes, for them to choose from.  (more…)


 

3 Kosher Quiche Recipes Inspired By Favorite Soups

 

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I love eating soup and experimenting with the many ways you can turn simple ingredients into delicious meals but when it comes to summertime, I stay away. Instead, I like to make things that taste like my favorite types of soups but in other forms so I get great flavor without the sweats and that’s what inspired me to make these quiches.  French Onion Quiche, Potato Leek Quiche and Tomato-Basil and Goat Cheese Quiche are all my takes on some of my favorite soups but with some twists.

Who doesn’t love French-Onion Soup? Onions caramelized with thyme in a cheesy filling and topped with nutty Gruyere cheese is just a deconstructed French onion soup which traditionally has caramelized onions in a beef broth and topped with a cheesy crouton and this quiche does it justice. I made it for a recent party and it was practically gone before I could come back with my plate to try a piece. Gruyere cheese used to be almost impossible to find kosher in America but a new kosher cheese company marketed as “It’s a Good Life” has come out with a kosher version that I found in my local ShopRite and I was thrilled.


 

Summer Cocktail Desserts

 

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Ahhhhh, summer…now that we’re in full swing, carpooling and homework seem like a distant memory and even full-time work feels easier when the days are longer and warmer.  I relish the fresh produce of this season, simply prepared meals and lots of ice cream, and whenever possible my ideal way to cool off is by the pool, particularly with a favorite cocktail in hand.  Yes, the kids can have their popsicles, and I’ll take the grown-up version of icy refreshment.

There are times, however, when mid-day cocktails may not be convenient or even appropriate (say, before 5 pm?).  But I can justify indulging in a treat based on the flavors of my favorite cocktails.  I personally love the intense, tangy flavor of fresh limes so I naturally gravitate towards two popular and refreshing cocktails made with lime: the Cosmopolitan and the Margarita.


 

Two Terrific Cupcake Recipes: Big Flavors In A...

 

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Amidst the trend of the ongoing “cupcake craze,” it seems that the tasty little treats are everywhere, justifiably so!  With frostings, fillings, and flavor combinations galore, the possibilities are endless for cupcakes.  As a proud passenger on the “Cupcake Bandwagon,” I’m not ashamed to admit my love for the dainty desserts, and can’t deny how much fun it is to bake up batch after batch of cupcake cuties.

Making cupcakes from scratch allows you to get creative in the kitchen and combine beloved flavors into a personalized batch of individually-sized sweets.  Adjust flavors to fit your family’s preferences and keep it as simple or as exciting as desired.  Frostings, toppings, and decorations leave much room for artistic originality.


 

The 411 on Whole Wheat Flour

 

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Q. What is the difference between whole wheat flour, white whole wheat flour and whole wheat pastry flour? – Miriam, Boca Raton, Florida

A. Different types of wheat are grown in the United States and each one has slightly different characteristics.


 

Coffee Flavored Father’s Day Gift Ideas

 

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I admit it – I created a monster.  It all started a few years back when I traveled to Israel and was treated to strong, fresh coffee every morning at my hotel.  So upon my return it was I who initially insisted on fresh brewed coffee every morning at home – the instant stuff just wouldn’t cut it anymore.  Prior to this time, my husband was a tea man, preferring his loose English Breakfast blend brewed in a tea ball to just about anything else.  Now, however, it is an entirely different story.

My husband has now become the bigger coffee snob in the family (since we are both coffee snobs now).   He gets up first every morning and brews our large pot of fresh coffee – we have settled on a mutual favorite after trying several brands and blends.  Though he dilutes his with milk more than I do, he insists on the “good stuff” every morning and even sets the timer to brew fresh coffee on yom tov.  And although we usually share fairly, sometimes we do fight  over the last half cup in the pot!


 

Three Delicious Ice Cream Recipes

 

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In my mind there is nothing that screams “summer” more than a big dish of homemade ice cream. One taste of freshly churned ice cream and I feel like I should be sitting outside on a big porch swing enjoying a warm summer day. Even if in reality it is the middle of winter and cold outside.

Homemade ice cream is not difficult to make and fresh ice cream is definitely worth the effort. To get the best ice cream it is necessary to have an ice cream maker, but they are available at a reasonable price and once you have one you will wonder how you lived without it. Especially when it comes to making non-dairy ice creams. Homemade is so much better than the store bought varieties widely available that there is no comparison.


 

Meringue Magic for Passover

 

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There are certain wonderful dishes that I reserve for individual holidays, only to be served once a year.  You know, the special dishes that the whole family looks forward to throughout the year, and enjoying them during their distinctive, respective holidays makes them taste even better.  For my family, these include my famous key lime cheesecake on Shavuot, herb roasted turkey and marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole on Thanksgiving, and meringues on Passover.  Meringues, the baked beaten-egg-white-and-sugar confection, are light and versatile and make the perfect dessert for Passover:  they require only a few, readily-found ingredients, they do not use matza meal which aids in their lightness and renders them non-gebrokts, and they can be flavored in a variety of ways so that they don’t get boring throughout the week-long holiday.

A beaten egg white can foam to eight times its original volume, which is key to making successful meringues.  When combined with sugar both for sweetness and structure, this egg white mixture creates the foundation not only for meringues, but also for such varied desserts as pavlovas, soufflés and angel food cakes.


 

Candy-Inspired Desserts

 

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I’ve been asked to define Purim, so I guess you could say that on a very superficial level Purim means candy, and costumes, and candy, and more candy.

I was flipping through Martha Stewart mag and I saw a piece on candy- inspired desserts. What a great idea – a sophisticated spin on a candy bar! Anytime I see something that makes my mouth water, I’m gonna remember it, but this time I also cut it out and saved it in my Purim folder. Pulled it up last week and created a “Snickers Cheesecake” just for you. Well, ok, it’s really for me, but I’m willing to share.


 

RECIPE: Warm Chocolate Pudding

 

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  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time:
  • Total Time: 20 min
  • Serves: 6 servings

Description

This warm pudding has a marvelous deep chocolaty flavor, but it’s low in fat and super-quick to make. Don’t skimp on the quality of cocoa with this one—treat yourself to the good stuff.

Contributed by: EatingWell.com


 

How to Make Homemade Kosher Candy

 

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My answer to the question: “what is your favorite Jewish holiday?” changes according to the season.  In the excitement and anticipation leading up to each holiday, I always decide that the approaching holiday is my favorite. So, currently Purim is my favorite holiday. I love the fun festive atmosphere and seeing all the kids dressed up in their costumes. But most of all I love making mishloach manot, gifts of food, to give to friends and family. Traditionally, mishloach manot are supposed contain an assortment of foods that require at least two different blessings. This requirement makes candy the perfect accompaniment to hamentashen. And that is the perfect excuse to turn a normal home kitchen into a delicious candy factory.  While the idea of making homemade candy may seem intimidating, it is not as hard as it sounds. Some sugar, maybe some chocolate, and a few other ingredients combine to make delicious treats that are sure to impress all who taste them.

Marshmallows are my favorite candy to make.  Homemade Raspberry Lemonade Marshmallows are deliciously soft and sweet and can be flavored in almost unlimited ways. They are completely different than store bought marshmallows. Even people who profess to hating marshmallows will be smitten. Plus, the alchemy of turning a simple sugar syrup and a bit of gelatin into these fluffy treats is just plain fun to watch. Until fairly recently homemade marshmallows were all but impossible for the kosher cook to make, but now that real kosher gelatin (Kolatin brand) is available retail marshmallows are a real possibility. And that is a very good thing.


 

Cake Mix Creations – You Can Win!

 

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I confess that I don’t always bake from scratch. Well, ok, I rarely bake from scratch. Make that almost never.

People who are dedicated to baking from scratch reach a sort of heavenly state when they are measuring, mixing, pouring. And I understand. I really do. What I especially understand is that sublime aroma wafting through the house when those delectable desserts come out of the oven.