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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Passover mandel bread

Two years ago I made my friend L's kosher for Passover mandel bread for Passover and I was hooked.  It was, in my opinion, one of the best kosher for Passover treats I had even had.  Ever.  And with a cup of coffee?  Heaven!  I made it last year, too, and when it came time to make it this year, I thought I might mix it up a little and make a few varieties.


First up was the original.  Because how could I NOT make the amazing chocolate chip mandle bread?!  The recipe is here.  It's also the base for the other two varieties I made.


Second up was the espresso chip mandle bread.  And the third?  Mocha chip.


Frankly, I don't think this needs more of an introduction than I gave them already.  So here it goes:

Espresso Chip Passover Mandel Bread
Adapted from L&A's Kosher for Passover mandel bread

Ingredients:

2 3/4 c. matza cake meal
1/2 lb. butter
2 c. sugar
6 eggs
3/4 c. potato starch
1/2 tsp. salt
6 oz. passover chocolate, or chips and/or nuts (I leave the nuts out and go with all chocolate)

1 1/2 Tbsp finely ground coffee or instant espresso powder

2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon


Directions:


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Cream the butter and sugar
Add the eggs one at a time, beat until smooth.
Sift the cake meal, potato starch, salt, and coffee.
Fold the dry mixture into the egg mixture.
Mix thoroughly.
Add the chocolate, and chopped nuts (if using)
Form into 3 or 4 loaves on a greased baking sheet (I used foil-lined sheets and they work just fine), about 3 inches wide.
Top with the mixture of 2 tsp sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon.
Bake 40-45 minutes
When mostly cooled but still a little warm, slice into 1-1.5" slices

Mocha Chip Passover Mandle Bread

Adapted from L&A's Kosher for Passover mandel bread

Ingredients:

2 3/4 c. matza cake meal
1/2 lb. butter
2 c. sugar
6 eggs
3/4 c. potato starch
1/2 tsp. salt
6 oz. passover chocolate, or chips and/or nuts (I leave the nuts out and go with all chocolate)

1 1/2 Tbsp finely ground coffee or instant espresso powder
4 Tbsp cocoa powder (I debated taking out a few Tbsp of cake meal to make up for the cocoa powder, but didn't end up doing that.  It turned out fine.)

2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon


Directions:


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Cream the butter and sugar
Add the eggs one at a time, beat until smooth.
Sift the cake meal, potato starch, salt, cocoa powder, and coffee.
Fold the dry mixture into the egg mixture.
Mix thoroughly.
Add the chocolate, and chopped nuts (if using)
Form into 3 or 4 loaves on a greased baking sheet (I used foil-lined sheets and they work just fine), about 3 inches wide.
Top with the mixture of 2 tsp sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon.
Bake 40-45 minutes
When mostly cooled but still a little warm, slice into 1-1.5" slices

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Lime macaroons

I wanted to make a Passover dessert for my sister.  My non-chocolate-loving sister (I know -- shocking that I, of all people, have one of those!).  I ended up deciding that macaroons would be the best in a fruity flavor, especially because coconut is fruity and tropical.


So these lime macaroons were born!  I have to say, they taste kinda like a tropical vacation :)  Now if only I could find out if rum was kosher for Passover... :-)

*In terms of "kosher for Passover," please see my disclaimer here.*

Lime Macaroons
Adapted from this recipe

Ingredients:

14 oz sweetened coconut
2 tsp vanilla
14 oz can condensed sweetened milk
Juice of 1-2 limes
Zest of 1-2 limes, finely grated

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.
Line cookie sheet with non-stick foil (I didn't have non-stick foil so I sprayed foil with non-stick spray)/

Mix coconut, vanilla, condensed milk, and chocolate chips together in a large mixing bowl.
Take a teaspoon-sized amount of the mixture and roll it into a ball with your hands (or cheat like me, and use a mini scooper).
Place them on a cookie sheet, spaced apart.
Bake about 15-20 minutes until golden brown (watch them carefully so they don't burn).  Mine took 14 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack.

Chocolate chip macaroons

These are macaroons.  Not macrons.  I've made those before (and probably will again soon, for Passover).  These are those good, old fashioned shredded coconut cookies that come in cans, which are ubiquitous with Passover.  Except they're not from a can.  These are homemade.  With just 4 ingredients.  And they're goooood.


OK, those of you that keep kosher for Passover will argue that this recipe is not really kosher for Passover.  For one, it uses condensed sweetened milk.  But I'm working on making them without the sweetened condensed milk....hopefully I can figure it out, and then I'll let you know.

Now one thing -- these call for being dipped in chocolate after they've been baked and cooled.  Although I used mini chocolate chips, and they seemed SO chocolatey, that I left out the dipping part.  Which is fine with me, especially because the dipping process can be long and annoying.  But if you wanted to dip them in chocolate, no one would hold it against you!

Chocolate Chip Macaroons
Adapted from this recipe

Ingredients:

14 oz sweetened coconut
2 tsp vanilla
14 oz can condensed sweetened milk
2 cups chocolate chips (I used mini chocolate chips)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.
Line cookie sheet with non-stick foil (I didn't have non-stick foil so I sprayed foil with non-stick spray)/

Mix coconut, vanilla, condensed milk, and chocolate chips together in a large mixing bowl.
Take a teaspoon-sized amount of the mixture and roll it into a ball with your hands (or cheat like me, and use a mini scooper).
Place them on a cookie sheet, spaced apart.
Bake about 15-20 minutes until golden brown (watch them carefully so they don't burn).  Mine took 14 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack.

Matzah candy

We call this matzah candy in my family.  I've heard this called a lot of different things: matzah toffee, chocolate toffee matzah, and even toffee buttercrunch matzah.  They're all slight variations on the same name, but one thing is for sure: it's AWESOME!  And frankly, the most buzzed about food at the Seder (except, of course, my mom's brisket, which is simply the BEST brisket ever.  EVER.).  My mom got the recipe from her friend, who got it from her daughter-in-law.


The other thing about this recipe, besides being delicious?  It's insanely easy to make!  Just be careful not to burn it.  Because burning all this deliciousness would just be a tragedy.  A tragedy, I tell you!


*I've seen some iterations of this with chopped nuts or toasted slivered almonds on top.  We make ours nut-free for two reasons: the recipe we got didn't call for nuts, and my cousin is horribly allergic to nuts.  But, in case you want to add nuts, I'd do it as the final step after you spread the chocolate.*

Matzah Candy
From my mom's friend B

Ingredients:

6 sheets of matzah
2 sticks butter (we used unsalted, but it didn't specify....I might use salted next time)
1 cup brown sugar
Semisweet chocolate chips
White chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Line a baking sheet with edges with parchment paper.
Place matzah on baking sheet in one layer without overlapping.
Break matzah sheets to fit on the baking sheet.

In a saucepan, combine butter and brown sugar over medium-high heat.
Boil for about 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly.

Pour the mixture over the matzah and spread evenly.

Bake for 10-15 minutes -- WATCH IT CAREFULLY, IT CAN BURN!

Remove the tray from the oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips and white chocolate chips.
Allow the chips to melt for a few minutes and then spread them over the matzah.  I personally like to stagger the white chocolate chips and then swirl them over, making it a marbled look -- unfortunately that didn't work that well this time.
*If you wanted to add nuts to yours, now would be the time to do it :-)*

Break into pieces and put in the fridge to allow to cool.
Once cool, transfer to an airtight container.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

New York-style coffee cake crumb muffins

The red velvet bundt cake I made in honor of B's visitor was a huge hit.  It made for a delicious breakfast along with some espressos today and amped us up for a walking culinary tour of the city.  I left the boys and -- since I was nearby -- stopped at my baking store.  I had had in mind that I wanted to make these amazing sounding New York-Style Coffee Crumb Cake Muffins for a while (I even bought the cake flour and rest of the ingredients the other day), so while I was at the baking store, I picked up some mini panettone baking cups, since I thought they'd make the muffins* cuter.


* What did I say muffins and not muffins?  Because frankly I'm pretty sure they're just mini coffee crumb cakes and not actually muffins.  But that's neither here nor there.



So this recipe?  EASY.  And taste-wise?  DELISH!  Because despite bringing them to B and his visitor for breakfast tomorrow, I had to make sure they were edible.  Clearly.  So I tasted one (just one, I was good, we were going out for dinner soon thereafter) to make sure I (a) wouldn't poison them, and (b) wouldn't ruin my new-found reputation as a great baker!

New York-Style Coffee Cake Crumb Muffins

Ingredients:

For the crumb topping:

1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 3/4 cups cake flour

For the muffin (or as I say, mini cakes):

1 1/4 cup cake flour
1/2 granulated sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbsp (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut into 6 1 Tbsp pieces
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup buttermilk (or 1/3 cup plain yogurt) -- I used the buttermilk, since I had leftovers in my fridge

Garnish:

Powdered sugar

Directions (adapted from the original recipe):

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
Line a cupcake tin with paper cups - or if using pannettone baking cups, spray them lightly with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the granulated and brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
Pour the melted butter over the mixture and use a wooden spoon to mix them.
Add the cake flour and mix until it resembles a thick pasty dough.
Set the topping aside.

Put the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a stand mixer.
Mix with the paddle attachment, on low speed.
While on low, add the butter, 1 piece at a time.
Continue beating the mixture until it resembles moist crumbs (no visible butter chunks seen), 1-2 minutes.

Measure the buttercream in a 1-cup liquid measuring cup.
Add the egg and egg yolk, and the vanilla.
Add the liquid mixture to the dry.
Mix until all of the liquid has been incorporated and the batter is light and fluffy.
(Mine was light but not fluffy, so I increased the speed for a few minutes to make it fluffy.)

Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, scoop 1/4 cup into each muffin tin or panettone cup.
Mine barely had enough for that, so maybe I didn't make it quite fluffy enough or maybe I didn't measure it quite perfectly.
Sprinkle the crumb topping generously onto each muffin top.
Don't press the topping down into the batter, just let is rest on top.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until crumbs are golden and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
(Mine were seriously underbaked at 20 minutes, plus an additional 30 seconds until the broiler.  This was despite having tested them with a toothpick to make sure they were done.  Of course by then they were already out of the oven, so once I realized that upon tasting a muffin, I stored them in the fridge overnight and then baked them again the following morning, for about another 20 minutes.  I have to say, they're super delicious warm out of the oven!!)

Let muffins cool in tins for 5 minutes.
Transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Muffins can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.....if they even last that long!!

When ready to serve, dust with some powdered sugar!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Red velvet bundt cake

When I saw a recipe for a red velvet bundt cake a while ago, I was really intrigued.  I'd never seen a red velvet bundt cake before, but more importantly, I couldn't figure out why it had never occurred to me to make one before!  And while everyone loves my red velvet cupcakes, I didn't know if that recipe would work in a bundt cake or not, so when it came to making the bundt cake, I ended up using the recipe I found.


So the recipe sat in my virtual recipe box on Pinterest for a long time.  Until today.  See, B has family visiting from out of the country, and his visitor was talking about these cool new cupcakes at home, red velvet.  B told him how I baked all the time and made me show him pictures of my baking (I showed him B's favorite, the Samoa Cupcakes, and while he was flipping through pictures, he saw the red velvet ones I had made at that same time, about a year ago, for a friend's 30th birthday).



Since we're getting together at the end of the week, I figured I'd bake something red velvet for B's visitor.  Enter the aforementioned red velvet bundt cake.  The only thing I doctored with this recipe was the icing.  I wanted to make a white chocolate-cream cheese icing, so I decreased the powdered sugar (the white chocolate has sweetness of it's own), added the white chocolate, and added just a little extra milk to thin it out and make it pourable.  (And by the way, this makes a TON of icing....I ended up using about half of it on the cake.  I'm debating what I can use the rest of it for, but I'm sure I'll come up with something else to use it for.)


Red Velvet Bundt Cake
From Bird on a Cake

Ingredients:

For the cake:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt (as I type this up, I am not 100% sure if I ended up adding the salt, but having tasted the cake already, I can say that if I left it out, it was still delicious!)
3 Tbsp cocoa powder (I used dark cocoa powder out of laziness, and I have to say, it made it absolutely delicious!!)
1 tsp white vinegar (I used cider vinegar because thats what I had at home, and thats what my other red velvet cake called for)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 oz red food coloring (thats 2 Tbsp.  I used 4 tsp (1 1/3 Tbsp) of gel coloring, which is richer and therefore I used a little less)

For the icing:

8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups confectioners' sugar (I used just over 3)
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 oz white chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
1/4 cup milk (I used closer to 1/3 cup)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. 
Grease a Bundt pan really well (I used Pam for baking, and I sprayed it liberally, and the cake popped right out of the pan).  
Place one cupcake liner in a cupcake tin (this will be used for the garnish). 
In a medium bowl, mix eggs with a wire whisk. 
Add oil, vinegar, vanilla, buttermilk and food coloring. 
Whisk together and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients. 
Add the wet ingredients and mix on medium high until combined.  
Fill cupcake liner half full with batter, then pour the rest of the batter into your Bundt pan. 
Bake the cupcake for 20-25 minutes, and bake the cake for 50-55 minutes.

Let the cake cool.

Make the icing.

Mix together the room temperature butter and cream cheese.
Add the sugar and vanilla.  I add the sugar in about 1/2 cup increments, for 2 reasons - (1) if you add it all at once, you will inevitably be wearing powdered sugar, and (2) that way you can adjust the level of sweetness.
Add the white chocolate.
Add the milk.

Pour over the cooled cake.

Crumble the cooled cupcake.
Sprinkle over the iced cake.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Bailey's coffee cheesecake

Ever since I saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it.  It was called Irish coffee cheesecake, but I read it as "Bailey's cheesecake," because besides coffee, my single most favorite ingredient in it was Bailey's.  I mean, honestly, how mouth-watering does that sound?!  It definitely helps that I think Bailey's is absolutely delicious.  And despite not being the ultimate cheesecake fan, I figured if anything could convert me to a cheesecake lover, Bailey's was definitely a great contender!  Put that on a chocolate graham cracker crust spiked with some espresso powder, coat it in a semisweet chocolate ganache (with or without some Irish whiskey....which I opted against)...well I was smitten before I even took my first bite!


Now a thing to note: while I do love Bailey's, I do not extend that love to all things alcoholic.  In fact, I'm not a huge drinker.  However, I strongly dislike whiskey.  In all actuality, I hate it, but since I like one specific type of flavored whiskey, I'm generally not a fan.  Plus, the leftover Irish whiskey I had from the car bomb cupcakes now has a new home at B's apartment, since all it would do in my apartment is gather dust.  So basically there was no way in hell I was buying more Irish whiskey for this recipe.  My strong dislike for the stuff coupled with the fact that I no longer had any in my apartment, was enough for me to decide that my version would be sans whiskey.



I wanted to top this with a little bit of homemade whipped cream and a few chocolate covered espresso beans, since I liked the way they would tie in the espresso from the crust and the semisweet chocolate in the gananche.  But since I wasn't actually serving the cheesecake at the time I was taking pictures, I left it without the whipped cream and the chocolate covered espresso beans.  However, I would recommend it for serving.

Please note: This recipe, like the hamentaschen I made earlier int he week, I set out to make as is, as in a regular sized cheesecake.  But apparently my springform pan was at my parent's house from back when I made that amazing Spiced Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake for Thanksgiving.  So I ended up making mini cheesecakes.  I got 5, plus I threw out a ton of crust mixture and a good amount of filling.  I ended up baking mine for 38 minutes.  I topped one with melted milk chocolate and the rest with the ganache.

Bailey's Coffee Cheesecake
Adapted from Buttercream Blondie's Irish Coffee Cheesecake

Ingredients:

For the chocolate cookie crust:

2 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs (I read this literally, searched high and low for chocolate graham crackers, and ended up using Teddy Grahams for it....I had thought to use chocolate wafer cookies like I did for the personal cheesecakes over a year ago, but wanting to follow the rules properly, I didn't....they might give a slightly more chocolate-y taste to the crust)
4 oz unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder

For the Irish cream cheesecake:

24 ounces cream cheese
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 Tbsp instant espresso powder
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup Bailey's Irish cream

For the chocolate ganache:

4 ounces semisweet or dark chocolate (I used semisweet)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp unsalted butter (I left this out, accidentally)
If you choose to make the original recipe, the Irish Coffee Cheesecake, add 2 tsp of Jameson Irish Whiskey

Toppings:

Extra cream, for whipping
Some powdered sugar (or granulated sugar, whichever you prefer), to sweeten whipped cream
Chocolate covered espresso beans, for garnish.

Directions:

Start by making the crust.

Preheat the oven to 350F.
Melt the butter in the microwave.
Mix butter, graham cracker crumbs, and espresso powder.
Press into a 9-inch springform pan.
Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Once the crust has cooled, wrap the pan in plastic wrap and then wrap in aluminum foil.
Mix the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until fully combined.
Add corn starch and espresso powder.
Continue to mix until fully incorporated.
Add eggs and vanilla extract.
Stir in the Bailey's.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Place pan in a roasting pan, and fill it 1/4 of the way with hot water.
Bake at 350F for 55-60 minutes.

When the cheesecake is done, remove it from the water bath.
Place on a cooling rack.
Once the cheesecake has cooled to room temperature, put it in the fridge.

Lastly, make the ganache.

Bring the cream and butter to a scant boil.
Pour over shopped chocolate.
Stir to combine.
If using whiskey, stir it in.
Set aside for about 5-10 minutes, so that the ganache is not piping hot.
Pour the ganache over the cheesecake.  I wanted the ganache to run over the sides and drip down, so I spread it to the very edge and let it drip down in some places.

Make homemade whipped cream.
Pipe whipped cream onto cheesecake.
Garnish with chocolate covered espresso beans.