Babka, the Trendy “New” Dessert

I could barely write that title without laughing. You see Babka has been around at least as long as I can remember and really even longer. Jewish housewives started making it, in the 1800’s, with extra challah dough. It wasn’t the chocolate cinnamon version we know today. It was usually filled with jam or fruit and topped with some kind of streusel. Chocolate Babka hit the scene in the 1800’s and mostly here in America, not so much the “old country”.

When I was growing up, it was one those desserts that was always out on Friday night, Saturday lunch and Sunday dinners. It was easy to bring to somebody’s house and I’m sure my mom ate her share with a cup of coffee while playing bridge and gossiping. As a kid it was a take it or leave it dessert. If there was nothing else on the table then I would take a slice or not.

When babka was first made in Russia and Eastern Europe, it was usually a Pareve, or neutral, dish. This was for the kosher home and meant it could be served with milk or meat dishes because it was made mostly with water and oil. This made for a little bit of a drier cake. Once in America, bakeries started adding butter for a moister, richer cake with a brioche like density.

I knew Babka was having its moment in 2016 when Trader Joes started selling it. It seems only natural that I would share a recipe now. This is one of those that are not super hard to make but will make great impression. You may even bring back some memories and tears for your older friends and family.

As are all my recipes, this Babka recipe is a compilation of lots of recipes. However, I want to give specific credit for technique to Paula Shoyer, http://thekosherbaker.com . in addition to twisting the babka, she opens it before twisting which really allows the flavors to meld together beautifully. Each bite has a little bit of all the flavors.

Double Chocolate Brown Sugar Babka
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Servings
2 loaves
Servings
2 loaves
Double Chocolate Brown Sugar Babka
Print Recipe
Servings
2 loaves
Servings
2 loaves
Ingredients
Dough
Filling
Streusel Topping
Servings: loaves
Instructions
  1. Pour yeast into warmed (110°) milk, let sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy. Meanwhile cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in vanilla and egg yolks, until well blended. Whisk together flour and salt.
  2. Give the yeast mixture a quick stir and pour into egg mixture. Slowly start adding flour/salt mixture into yeast/egg mixture until dough starts to form. I reserve about 1/4 cup of the flour mix. You want the dough to be soft.
  3. Use some of the reserved flour and turn soft dough out onto floured board. Knead slightly and add flour if necessary. Place kneaded dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise for at least an hour until doubled in size.
Filling
  1. While dough is rising you can make your fillings and streusel. Melt together dark chocolate and oil. Set aside. I like to make the milk chocolate filling in a food processor. Make sure your butter is very cold. Pulse milk chocolate and butter in processor until small pea-sized pieces. Put back in refrigerator until ready to use.
Streusel
  1. Using the same processor, pulse together brown sugar, flour, and cold butter. It should be very crumbly. Put in refrigerator until ready to use.
Putting it All Together
  1. Cut a piece of parchment to a little bigger than 14"x18". Place it on cutting board and lightly flour it. Roll out your dough almost to the edges, in a rectangle.
  2. Using a pastry brush, spread the melted dark chocolate all over the dough, edge to edge. Then sprinkle the milk chocolate all over the dough. Try to get edge to edge here too.
  3. Using the parchment paper as a guide, start rolling the dough on the long side. Press as you go to keep the roll tight. pinch the ends closed and wrap in parchment. Place in refrigerator for 5 minutes to firm up. While dough is refrigerator line bottom of 2 loaf pans (9X5) with parchment paper, then spray whole pan with non-stick spray.
  4. Take roll out of refrigerator and remove from paper. Cut in half. Take each half and, making sure the seam side is down, cut the rolls in half length wise, leaving one end in tact. Essentially you are "opening" them.
  5. With cut sides up, start twisting pieces over each other, keep the open side up. Tuck other end under and place in loaf pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise another hour. You should have 2 twisted loaves.
  6. Preheat oven to 350°. Whisk together reserved egg white and 2 Tbs. milk. Once dough has risen, brush tops with egg wash and gently press streusel topping into dough.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Here's the trick, if it looks just slightly golden brown but not quite done, it's ok. It will continue to cook in pan and you DON'T want to overcook it or It will be dry.
  8. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto rack. You can serve it warm or it is certainly good at room temperature.
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Double Chocolate Brown Sugar Babka

Double Chocolate Brown Sugar Babka
Print Recipe
Servings
2 loaves
Servings
2 loaves
Double Chocolate Brown Sugar Babka
Print Recipe
Servings
2 loaves
Servings
2 loaves
Ingredients
Dough
Filling
Streusel Topping
Servings: loaves
Instructions
  1. Pour yeast into warmed (110°) milk, let sit for 5-10 minutes until foamy. Meanwhile cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in vanilla and egg yolks, until well blended. Whisk together flour and salt.
  2. Give the yeast mixture a quick stir and pour into egg mixture. Slowly start adding flour/salt mixture into yeast/egg mixture until dough starts to form. I reserve about 1/4 cup of the flour mix. You want the dough to be soft.
  3. Use some of the reserved flour and turn soft dough out onto floured board. Knead slightly and add flour if necessary. Place kneaded dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise for at least an hour until doubled in size.
Filling
  1. While dough is rising you can make your fillings and streusel. Melt together dark chocolate and oil. Set aside. I like to make the milk chocolate filling in a food processor. Make sure your butter is very cold. Pulse milk chocolate and butter in processor until small pea-sized pieces. Put back in refrigerator until ready to use.
Streusel
  1. Using the same processor, pulse together brown sugar, flour, and cold butter. It should be very crumbly. Put in refrigerator until ready to use.
Putting it All Together
  1. Cut a piece of parchment to a little bigger than 14"x18". Place it on cutting board and lightly flour it. Roll out your dough almost to the edges, in a rectangle.
  2. Using a pastry brush, spread the melted dark chocolate all over the dough, edge to edge. Then sprinkle the milk chocolate all over the dough. Try to get edge to edge here too.
  3. Using the parchment paper as a guide, start rolling the dough on the long side. Press as you go to keep the roll tight. pinch the ends closed and wrap in parchment. Place in refrigerator for 5 minutes to firm up. While dough is refrigerator line bottom of 2 loaf pans (9X5) with parchment paper, then spray whole pan with non-stick spray.
  4. Take roll out of refrigerator and remove from paper. Cut in half. Take each half and, making sure the seam side is down, cut the rolls in half length wise, leaving one end in tact. Essentially you are "opening" them.
  5. With cut sides up, start twisting pieces over each other, keep the open side up. Tuck other end under and place in loaf pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise another hour. You should have 2 twisted loaves.
  6. Preheat oven to 350°. Whisk together reserved egg white and 2 Tbs. milk. Once dough has risen, brush tops with egg wash and gently press streusel topping into dough.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Here's the trick, if it looks just slightly golden brown but not quite done, it's ok. It will continue to cook in pan and you DON'T want to overcook it or It will be dry.
  8. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto rack. You can serve it warm or it is certainly good at room temperature.
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Lemon Fennel Chicken in a Pot

There is nothing better on a cold night than good old-fashioned Chicken in a Pot. That is unless it’s Dorie Greenspan’s Lemon Fennel Chicken in a Pot. I made this last weekend and it was delicious. It comes from her Everyday Dorie, the Way I cook, cookbook. Like any recipe I made a few adjustments as I was shopping and cooking. For the most part, though, I stayed true to the original.

This is not a “Lemon” chicken and the fennel does not taste like licorice. All the flavors meld together to make the perfect balance of sweet, tart and savory. Dorie does recommend and I concur to have good crusty bread for sopping up all the good juices. This recipe is going into my regular rotation and I hope you enjoy it too.

Lemon Fennel Chicken in a Pot
Print Recipe
I adapted this from Dorie Greenspan. Just as she says in her book, Everyday Dorie, this recipe comes together quickly and is delicious!
Servings
4
Servings
4
Lemon Fennel Chicken in a Pot
Print Recipe
I adapted this from Dorie Greenspan. Just as she says in her book, Everyday Dorie, this recipe comes together quickly and is delicious!
Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Take chicken out of refrigerator and let sit out while preheating oven to 450° and preparing the other ingredients.
  2. Trim the stalks and fronds and cut off the bottom of the fennel bulb. Remove the outer layer leaves. They can be tough. Cut the remaining into 6 - 8 wedges. Toss into a Dutch oven.
  3. Cut one lemon in half and the other into 8 wedges. Reserve one half and toss the wedges and other half in the pot. Peel and trim the shallots and then cut in to wedges. Toss into pot. Put the garlic halves in the pot.
  4. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil, honey, 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper and toss until everything is well coated.. Make a well in the center of the vegetables.
  5. Make sure the chicken is really dry with paper towels. Season the inside and outside of the chicken with salt and pepper. Squeeze the juice from the reserved half lemon all over the the outside of the chicken then put in the cavity. Put the reserved fronds and stalks and 2 of the thyme sprigs in the cavity, also. Rub the 2 Tbs. olive oil all over the outside of the chicken.
  6. Nestle the chicken down in the well of the vegetables. Pour the chicken broth over the chicken and vegetables and give a quick stir to get the broth all around the vegetables. Toss in the 2 other thyme sprigs and bay leaves.
  7. Cover the pot and cook for 90 minutes. Do not peek. At 90 minutes you can take the lid off and place under broiler for maybe another 5 minutes to brown the top.
  8. You can serve this straight from the pot, but I like putting in a shallow bowl/platter. That way its cut and easy to grab and the vegetables and broth are right there for the dipping. Make sure you have good crusty bread. Either way, serve immediately, very hot.
  9. I wish I had a picture of the final product. Thats what happens when its that good. We all dove in and it was gone. Maybe next time. LOL
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Pimento Cheese Crackers

Pimento Cheese Crackers

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Servings
10 dozen

Servings
10 dozen

Pimento Cheese Crackers

Print Recipe

Servings
10 dozen

Servings
10 dozen

Ingredients


Servings: dozen

Instructions
  1. Place the cheese, flour, salt and cayenne in a food processor, and pulse, just enough to combine.

  2. Add the pimentos and pulse until mixture is orange. It is important to not over pulse. With processor on low, slowly add chilled butter pieces. Quickly turn processor off and just pulse until dough is pea sized. Add in iced water and pulse just until dough starts to come together, when squeezed in your hand.

  3. Transfer dough to a work surface that has been lightly floured and lightly flour your hands. Form into a tightly packed 2" diameter log. At this point you can sprinkle sesame seeds on surface and roll the log in them or you can press the seeds into the log. I found that a combination of both worked well.

  4. Wrap the log (or logs, I had extra dough) in wax paper or parchment and chill for at least 4 hours, and up to 2 days, before slicing.

  5. Preheat oven to 350° and place rack in middle of oven. Using a sharp knife, slice dough into thin rounds, I tried to get 1/8" -1/4".
    Line your baking sheets with parchment paper and place cracker dough about an inch part. Prick each cracker a few times so they don't puff up.
    Bake for 20-25 minutes (adjust for your oven). I rotate my pans about halfway through.

  6. You probably will have to do multiple pans.
    Let crackers cool on pan and use a fresh sheet of parchment paper and repeat.
    Remember the crackers will crisp up while cooling.

Recipe Notes

Thank you readers for letting me know that I didn't put the pimentos in the ingredient list.  Here is the updated recipe.

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Ready for 2019!

Happy New Year! I’ve been absent for awhile and let me just say “The last half 2018 is not a time I will look back on fondly.” But onward and upward!

2019 will be very exciting . I truly believe that my book, CAKE FOR BREAKFAST will be sold. I am also hoping to be making more personal appearances and teaching more classes. I promise to be more consistent here, on this blog, so please invite your friends to subscribe. I also encourage you to interact with me. Please send me your comments and suggestions. What do you want to see or learn here?

So here we go…

I always preach to read your recipe all the way through before you start cooking.That way you will have all your equipment and ingredients out and ready to go. I always do this. That doesn’t mean that the most seasoned of cooks/chefs can make a mistake. I recently made Pimento Cheese Crackers, from Bon Appetit magazine, and the recipe said “line baking sheet with parchment paper.”. I’m so clever that I decided to use my silpats. Because of the amount of fat in the recipe, the silpats did not allow the crackers to crisp up. Lesson learned!

Let me tell you a little about pimento cheese, or as some call it “southern peanut butter”, “pate of the south”. Well the south has definitely claimed pimento cheese as it’s own, but it actually started in New York! Pimento Cheese is actually the result of food culture starting to extend beyond state and international borders. This gave us the opportunity to have pimiento from Spain and Cream Cheese from Philly by way of New York.

The South was smart and claimed Pimento Cheese as its own and mainstreamed the recipe. I’ve seen a lot of recipes for Pimento Cheese but the most common reads something like:

1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated, a 4 ounce jar of pimentos, chopped, a couple of garlic cloves, minced, plenty of fresh ground pepper, a dash of salt and enough mayo (3Tbs) to form a stiff, chunky paste.

The Pimento Cheese  could be stored in a jar in the refrigerator of rolled in a tube shape and wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge.  You could almost just use this mixture and a little flour to make the crackers. I haven’t tried that yet, so I don’t recommend it.  This incarnation is best served on some good white bread as a sandwich.

You’ve probably heard of cheese straws and these pimento cheese crackers are similar. They are more cracker than shortbread though. You can add more cayenne if you want a little more heat. My other piece of advice is to know your oven well, before you bake. My oven takes along time to reach proper heat and I keep an oven thermometer in it to check temp. The cookies continue to cook and crisp up after they are out of the oven, so do not overcook.

Well happy New Year and I hope you enjoy this recipe.

Pimento Cheese Crackers
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Servings
10 dozen
Servings
10 dozen
Pimento Cheese Crackers
Print Recipe
Servings
10 dozen
Servings
10 dozen
Ingredients
Servings: dozen
Instructions
  1. Place the cheese, flour, salt and cayenne in a food processor, and pulse, just enough to combine.
  2. Add the pimentos and pulse until mixture is orange. It is important to not over pulse. With processor on low, slowly add chilled butter pieces. Quickly turn processor off and just pulse until dough is pea sized. Add in iced water and pulse just until dough starts to come together, when squeezed in your hand.
  3. Transfer dough to a work surface that has been lightly floured and lightly flour your hands. Form into a tightly packed 2" diameter log. At this point you can sprinkle sesame seeds on surface and roll the log in them or you can press the seeds into the log. I found that a combination of both worked well.
  4. Wrap the log (or logs, I had extra dough) in wax paper or parchment and chill for at least 4 hours, and up to 2 days, before slicing.
  5. Preheat oven to 350° and place rack in middle of oven. Using a sharp knife, slice dough into thin rounds, I tried to get 1/8" -1/4". Line your baking sheets with parchment paper and place cracker dough about an inch part. Prick each cracker a few times so they don't puff up. Bake for 20-25 minutes (adjust for your oven). I rotate my pans about halfway through.
  6. You probably will have to do multiple pans. Let crackers cool on pan and use a fresh sheet of parchment paper and repeat. Remember the crackers will crisp up while cooling.
Recipe Notes

Thank you readers for letting me know that I didn't put the pimentos in the ingredient list.  Here is the updated recipe.

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New Year, New menu challenges.

The Jewish Holidays are approaching here. Each year I am faced with the challenge of the menu. Of course there are traditional foods that if they weren’t on the menu my friends and family would think I had lost my mind. But as a woman that reads cookbooks like they are novels, I always strive to keep it fresh.

You will always find brisket on my holiday table. It’s a standard and everyone seems to have their own great recipe.It took me quite a while to perfect my brisket and I finally love it.  I also have a chicken dish for those that prefer to not eat red meat. The past few years my chicken dish has been either a citrus honey roasted whole chicken or lemon chicken thighs with a really crispy skin. I love the idea of incorporating traditions into recipes so for Rosh Hashanah I try to work in apples and honey. These recipes always seem to spill over nicely into break fast too.

I came across a recipe for chicken encrusted in horseradish that was really interesting and thought I could make it my own and serve for the New Year. The combination of horseradish, honey and apples is great. Be sure to let the chicken get really dry and to room temperature so that you get that nice crispy skin too.

I also tried a new cake and am passing on my adjusted recipe. Carrot Cake is always a good thing and so is the sweet potato pie my family has been making for years. Since these two ingredients are also traditional fall fare let’s put them together in a new modern Carrot/Sweet Potato Cake. I promise both recipes will be great on your table.

I am actually making these recipes for Rosh Hashanah so no pics yet. I promise to post pics on Sunday. Better yet, send me pictures of your versions.

I wish you and your family a sweet, happy and healthy New Year!

Horseradish Honey Encrusted Chicken
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Servings
4-6 people
Servings
4-6 people
Horseradish Honey Encrusted Chicken
Print Recipe
Servings
4-6 people
Servings
4-6 people
Ingredients
Servings: people
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Rinse chicken and make sure giblets are removed. Dry thoroughly and let it sit at room temperature. The drier it is the crispier the skin. Place on rack in a roasting pan.
  2. Stuff the chicken with lemon, garlic, shallots, dill, parsley, celery and apples. It will be full but shouldn't be tight. You can adjust the amounts evenly to make sure they all fit.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together, the horseradish, honey, olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread all over chicken top and bottom. Make sure you get under skin, too.
  4. Tie legs together, to keep everything in. Tuck wings under the body, for more even cooking. Cook for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Then turn oven up to 450° to crisp skin. Internal temperature should be between 160° and 165° and juices should run clear at the thigh. Remove from oven and tent with foil to rest. The chicken will continue to cook just a little .
  5. Let chicken rest for 20 minutes. Carve and serve. Garnish platter with more dill, parsley and lemons.
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Carrot/Sweet Potato Cake
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Servings
16 slices
Servings
16 slices
Carrot/Sweet Potato Cake
Print Recipe
Servings
16 slices
Servings
16 slices
Ingredients
Cake
Glaze
Servings: slices
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Butter or oil a large bundt pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt.
  3. In the bowl of a stand up mixer, cream together, both sugars,, sour cream, oil, orange juice, and vanilla, until fluffy. Mix in sweet potato, then eggs, one at a time. Try to get it as smooth as possible. Fold in carrots.
  4. Gradually add flour until just combined. Be sure to scrape the bottom. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.
  5. Cool in pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto rack and cool completely.
  6. While the cake is cooling mix the glaze. Gradually blend confectioners sugar into cream cheese. Add vanilla and then working slowly add milk, until desired consistency.
  7. Pour glaze all over cake and garnish with nuts (if used) or carrot curls.
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Try Something New -Marshmallows!

Ever since I wrote about S’mores, a few weeks ago, I can’t stop thinking about marshmallows.

We seem to have them in the house all the time. My younger daughter likes to freeze them and change the texture. I’ve been known to walk by the pantry and pop one in my mouth. And of course, they are standard fare for hot cocoa. We accept any excuse to put them into a recipe. I mean what would Thanksgiving be without sweet potatoes topped with marshmallow.

I was curious where these delicious little puffs come from. They were actually plant-based and used as medicine, by Egyptian royalty, to help with coughs, sore throats and wounds. If children these days knew that, can you imagine the illnesses they could come up with. In the 1800’s they discovered they could use gelatin to get the same fluffy gesture and it would cost less and use less manpower.

There are so many ways we use marshmallows all the time; s’mores, rice crisp treats, fluffernutter sandwiches, toppings for ice cream and yogurt and lots of holiday treats. A couple of years ago I shared with you how to make your own graham crackers and that was a big success. So today I thought we’d make our own marshmallows! I love that you can make a good old-fashioned white (vanilla) marshmallow or with a little creativity you can flavor them with so many fun flavors. I love chocolate or coffee flavoring but you can go to town with whatever your treat calls for or wherever your mind go.

They are actually very easy to make, but because of the setting time, you have to plan ahead. You need at least 8 hours for them to set, and you really need a good candy thermometer. The recipe given is for vanilla marshmallows, and I used two tablespoons of vanilla. If you want a different flavor I would still start with vanilla and add. There is something about the back flavor of vanilla with the gelatin that you need. Instead of 2 tablespoons of vanilla, start with 2 teaspoons and then add your other flavor. I also used honey instead of the tradition al corn syrup.  I love the flavor and feel good about not using corn syrup. You could use maple syrup too, but adjust your flavoring accordingly.

If you want to make these vegetarian or vegan you can sub out the gelatin for agar agar. You can find agar agar powder in the Asian food section of most markets, specialty baking stores or online If you can only find the flakes not the powder that’s okay. Agar agar powder measures exactly the same as gelatin. Agar agar flakes – 1 Tablespoon flakes equals 1 teaspoon powder.

The best part is you can use a kitchen torch and make these toasty just on top or you can skewer them and make traditional scores. Just remember because they are coated in powdered sugar they will caramelize really fat and there is really no way of avoiding the almost burnt marshmallow look.

Homemade Marshmallows
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Servings
20 pieces
Servings
20 pieces
Homemade Marshmallows
Print Recipe
Servings
20 pieces
Servings
20 pieces
Ingredients
Servings: pieces
Instructions
  1. Spray a 9x13 pan, lightly, with nonstick spray. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of that then spray again.
  2. Have all your ingredients measured and ready to go. Pour the 1/4 cup of water in a shallow dish and sprinkle gelatin over stand set aside for 10 minutes. Do not touch it.
  3. Put the sugar, 1/2 cup water and honey in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved and starts to simmer. Using a candy thermometer, cook until 240° F. Keep an eye on it. Meanwhile put the, now dissolved, gelatin in a stand up mixer. Once your sugar mixture reaches temperature, pour it, carefully, over the gelatin in mixer. Beat on low until well combined and not lumpy. Increase speed to high and beat until fluffy and tripled in volume (about 10 minutes).
  4. Add the vanilla (and whatever flavoring you are using).Spray a spatula with a little nonstick spray and pour the marshmallow mixture into the prepared pan. Smooth top with spatula and set aside to set, at least 8 hours. Make sure it is in a cool place, but not refrigerated.
  5. Whisk together confectioners sugar and cornstarch and sift onto a baking sheet of shallow dish. Using a sharp knife cut marshmallows into 1" or 2" cubes. You can also use cookie cutters for different shapes. I would spray a little nonstick spray on them before I start. Lightly dust marshmallows, on all sides, with the confectioners sugar mix.
Recipe Notes

Store marshmallows, divided by parchment paper, in an airtight container. They should keep for about 4 days.

Use a kitchen torch to "toast" marshmallows.

If you want a different flavor I would still start with vanilla and add. There is something about the back flavor of vanilla with the gelatin that you need. Instead of 2 tablespoons of vanilla, start with 2 teaspoons and then add your other flavor. I also used honey instead of the tradition al corn syrup.  I love the flavor and feel good about not using corn syrup. You could use maple syrup too, but adjust your flavoring accordingly.

If you want to make these vegetarian or vegan you can sub out the gelatin for agar agar. You can find agar agar powder in the Asian food section of most markets, specialty baking stores or online If you can only find the flakes not the powder that's okay. Agar agar powder measures exactly the same as gelatin. Agar agar flakes - 1 Tablespoon flakes equals 1 teaspoon powder.

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National Waffle Day!

Friday was National Waffle Day. For me waffles always seem to evoke an occasion. Most of us don’t make them at home because you need special equipment. At most restaurants waffles are “dressed up”. They are decorated in layers of whipped cream and strawberries. There are drizzles of caramel or chocolate sauce. My personal favorite is chocolate chips and whipped cream.

My family loves waffles so I did buy a waffle maker and away we went. The batter is slightly different from pancake batter because it has a little more fat in it. Think about those fluffy yet crispy waffles, that’s because of the fat. When we first got it I made waffles often. That waned not too long later because it does take some extra effort to clean. Remember, waffles mean celebration.

When I started writing Cake for Breakfast, I knew I had to honor waffles somehow. Introducing Waffle Cake with Maple Syrup Glaze.  This cake is all the things you love in a waffle and is a stacked cake which means you get more waffle and maple glaze for your fork. My secret flavor is Malted Milk Powder. Its one of those flavors that people can’t pinpoint but makes it tastes sooo good.

I made this cake in my standard waffle maker. It is really better made in a Belgian waffle or larger thicker waffle maker. My layers were a little too thin for a dramatic effect. The flavor and crispy fluffiness is all there, I just think it looks prettier with thick layers and sitting taller. The maple syrup glaze is out of this world! Have you ever had that whipped honey? Well that’s kind of what this is like. I like to make extra and keep the rest to schmear on toast or pound cake.

If you don’t have a large waffle maker, you can make this in cake pans. Use 9″ round pans and be sure line them with parchment and prepare with butter and flour. I hope you enjoy this sneak peek from my book.

Waffle Cake with Maple Syrup Glaze
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Waffle Cake with Maple Syrup Glaze
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Ingredients
Waffles (Cake)
Maple Syrup Glaze
Servings:
Instructions
Waffles
  1. Heat waffle iron. Whisk together flour, milk powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of stand-up mixer, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy. On a slow speed add eggs one at a time. Then add vanilla.
  3. Stir together milk and cream. Slowly add flour mixture to butter mixture, alternating with milks. Start and finish with flour.
  4. Scoop batter into waffle maker in batches. Stack cakes as they are done.*
Maple Syrup Glaze
  1. Bring syrup, butter and milk to a boil, over a medium heat. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Gradually beat in confectioners sugar with a handheld mixer, until smooth (No lumps).
  2. When the glaze has all come together, hand stir in 1-2 Tbs. of additional maple syrup. Pour glaze between layers* of waffles and over top, generously. Drizzle a small amount of maple syrup over top of whole cake.
Recipe Notes

You can make this cake in 2- 9" cake round pans. You will need to line them with parchment paper and then butter and flour them as well.

Make syrup first so that you can drizzle it between layers as you make "waffles".

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The Sweet Smell of Success (roses)

I have always wanted to cook with roses. For me, it started with the book “Like Water for Chocolate”, by Lara Esquivel.  Definitely the book, not the movie. The part in the book when the main character is making the Quail in Rose Sauce, in my mind, I could taste every salty tear. I could smell the roses as she plucked the petals. The fragrance getting stronger with each touch of human hands. I imagined the slightly bitter taste that each diner experienced as they bit into their meal.

Ever since, I’ve tried to work with roses. I’ve tried rose-water, rose jelly and even real rose petals. I always seemed to be heavy-handed and believe m, you can have too many roses!

Whenever I have the chance I try rose flavored foods. The flavor, when done right, is so delicate. I love just the hint of floral sweetness. Too much and it can be bitter, or taste like someones perfume. Yuck! Too little and you don’t know it’s there.

I have friends that learned to cook, growing up in Iran. Their ability to balance flavors, seems to be in their DNA. When I studied writing and cooking, in France; I could sense that years of study and apprentice were responsible for their balance.

Recently, while purging my pantry, I came across rose-water and rose jelly. I remembered enthusiastically purchasing them and I was going to use them right then. Ha! The other day I was t my local farmer’s market and overheard a woman buying rose petals to decorate a cake. These all conspired to make me want to try to cook with roses, again. So today I present to you a rose scented Pavlova!

Pavlovas are relatively easy to prepare and I like the wow factor the serving. Because of the color of this recipe it is ideal for Christmas or Valentines Day. It is so good, though, you should serve it today!

Rose Water & Pomegranate Pavlova
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Rose Water & Pomegranate Pavlova
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Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400° and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Trace a 9" circle on the parchment paper, and turn over so pencil side is down.
  2. In a small bowl mix cornstarch and vinegar until smooth. This helps make the pavlova the perfect blend of crispy and creamy.
  3. Whisk eggs and salt in large CLEAN bowl (You can use a stand up mixer or handheld electric mixer), until stiff peaks form. Gradually add sugar, alternating with vinegar mixture. "Meringue" should be thick, smooth and shiny. Fold in rose water and pomegranate seeds, if using
  4. Mound meringue mixture inside center of circle on parchment. You can do this in layers to get more height. I like to make a well in center and create swirls. This is pretty and will hold the whipped cream and decorations.
  5. Turn oven down to 200° and bake meringue for at least 2 hours. It should be crispy when tapped and have a firm bottom. The bottom should not feel damp or soggy. Turn oven off but leave meringue in, until cool.
  6. While meringue is cooling, make whipped cream. In a cool mixing bowl pour 1 pint heavy whipping cream. Use an electric mixer and start beating, when it starts to bubble and get a little thicker add 2 Tbs. confectioners sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until stiff peaks form.
  7. To assemble, mound whipped cream in well of meringue. Sprinkle with additional pomegranate seeds and drizzle with pomegranate molasses.
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National S’mores Day!

Chewy, creamy, crispy and sweet. Add the word chocolate and I’ve probably given away that I am talking about S’mores. These delectable treats evoke so many great memories. Whether you made s’mores at sleep away camp or even camping with your family, most of us have a story to tell about making s’mores. I’ve always been a traditional girl with Hershey’s, marshmallow and graham crackers. But I’ve heard tell of s’mores made with Reese’s and Rolos!

When my daughters were younger it was such a special treat to make s’mores at home. We even had a special s’mores making burner and dish. As they got older we would make them in the fire place and when it was too hot to have a fire, we’d make a “dip” in a cast iron skillet. I’d layer Hershey bars and marshmallows in my cast iron skillet and let it melt and brown in the oven. Then I’d serve it with graham crackers. Excellent!

So, when I heard that August 10th is S’mores Day, I was all in. The ideas were endless. How about a S’mores pizza with a chewy graham cracker crust, melted chocolate sauce and brûléed marshmallow topping? I thought about making popcorn and dusting it with graham cracker crumbs and tossing in mini marshmallows and chocolate chips. There were even a couple of cookie options, marshmallow stuffed chocolate chip cookies, anyone?

After looking at so many recipes, I decided on Molten S’mores Lava Cakes and Chocolate Kiss Cookies with Graham Flour and Marshmallows. When I was making the cookies, my thought had been to use my kitchen torch to “toast” the marshmallows and melt the Kiss. I ran out of butane, so, had to go to plan B. I turned on the broiler and put the cookies in for minute and a half, for the first batch. They are the nice golden-brown ones pictured. During the second batch, I got on the phone and, we’ll, I got distracted. I got the cookies out before they were totally burnt. But guess what, in, family we always let our marshmallows set on fire anyway. The second batch tasted just like that perfect burnt marshmallow flavor.

The lava cakes were fascinating to me.  When I started my research for recipes, I was surprised to find that it’s not a two-step process, it’s just ingredients. They are also pretty easy to make. There are always lessons to be learned. My ramekins were a little too big; so, the regular size marshmallow I used wasn’t fully covered. I would say to err on the side of too small and just make more. I also think I would use a handful of the mini marshmallows, rather than the regular size. I also cooked them for the full 12 minutes and then cooled for 1 minute. Everyone’s oven is different, but for mine I think I’d bake for 10 minutes then cool for 1 minutes.  You really want a good lava ooze.

Summer is, sadly, winding down. However, you decide to celebrate S’mores day, make a special  summer 2018 memory!

S'mores Cookies
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Servings
4 dozen
Servings
4 dozen
S'mores Cookies
Print Recipe
Servings
4 dozen
Servings
4 dozen
Ingredients
Servings: dozen
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350° Cream together butter and both sugars. Add egg and vanilla until blended.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. Mix dry mixture into butter mixture until a workable dough forms. Scoop 1 inch balls onto a lined cookie sheet and give them a soft pat down.
  3. Bake cookies for 7 minutes until top is golden brown, do not overcook here. Remove from oven and push a marshmallow, sticky side down, into each cookie. Return to oven and bake another minute or two. Remove from oven again and top each marshmallow with a Kiss.
  4. Here is where I would have liked to use my kitchen torch to brown the marshmallow and melt the chocolate. You can do this or put the cookies under the broiler for a moment or two. WATCH THEM, or they will burn.
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Molten S'mores Lava Cakes
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Servings
4 6-oz. cakes
Servings
4 6-oz. cakes
Molten S'mores Lava Cakes
Print Recipe
Servings
4 6-oz. cakes
Servings
4 6-oz. cakes
Ingredients
Servings: 6-oz. cakes
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450°. Butter and lightly flour 4 6-ounce ramekins.
  2. Melt together butter and chocolate. You can do this in a microwave at 15 second intervals, until melted or over a double boiler. Let cool slightly.
  3. In a medium bowl beat together eggs, egg yolks, sugar and salt, until thick and pale yellow.
  4. Temper the egg and chocolate mixtures by first stirring, quickly, a tablespoon or two or egg into chocolate mixture and then a tablespoon or two of chocolate mixture into egg mixture. Then quickly whisk remaining chocolate into egg mixture and add flour until combined.
  5. Place one tbs. of marshmallows in the bottom of each ramekin and then spoon batter, evenly into each dish. Bake for 10-12 minutes. The sides should be firm but the center should still shake a little.
  6. Remove from oven and cool for 1 minute. Carefully, they will be hot, cover each ramekin with a dessert plate and turn over to unfold the cake. Garnish each cake with a rim of graham cracker crumbs. Serve immediately!
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