There is absolutely no reason why kosher food and desserts have to be anything less than what everyone else is eating. Share with me your baking and cooking sucesses, challenges, and disasters. I will share my recipes, shabbat and holiday menu planning and my love of food.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Cranberry and Raspberry Rugelach

We are in the final countdown to Thankgivikkuh and no one has enjoyed this convergence as much as I have. I still have more ideas, but it is time to actually start planning my own Thanksgiving dinner and make my shopping lists. Many of my Thanksgiving recipes can be found on

Remember that your copies of The Kosher Baker have recipes for lots of dairy free tarts and pies including pumpkin, mocha pecan, key lime, pear and almond and more, and The Holiday Kosher Baker will cover the entire week of Chanukah desserts plus all your gift-giving needs. Help me make the Jewish world a sweeter place.

Final Thanksgivikkuh thoughts: At your Thanksgiving tables, please honor the history of both holidays, which offer a chance to discuss how we feel as Jewish Americans. My four children, who have studied Jewish history for years, will appreciate how lucky we are to live in a country that allows us to live a full Jewish life without fear of persecution. 

All of the mainstream press that my fellow Jewish chefs and I have enjoyed over the past few weeks, discussing the culinary opportunities afforded by Thanksgivikkuh, shows the important role Jewish food plays in the general American food scene. I feel privileged to have been a part of it.

Before you make your final shopping lists, add the ingredients for this elegant cookie. This cranberry rugelach is another tasty mashup of traditional Jewish dessert meets the best of Thanksgiving flavors. 

More recipes:

A brand new recipe for chocolate cranberry mandelbread can be found on the New York Times Well blog.

The Chicago Tribunefeatured my recipe for apple latkes. 

Wishing you a delicious Thanksgivikkuh!

Cranberry and Raspberry Rugelach
Makes 60 to 70 pieces

1 cup (2 sticks) parve margarine
8 ounces parve cream cheese, softened
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling out dough
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

1 cup raspberry jam
4 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup dried cranberries

To make the dough: Place the margarine, cream cheese, flour, and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a mixer or food processor fitted with a metal blade and mix just until dough comes together. You can also mix the dough together by hand with a wooden spoon in a large bowl.

Divide the dough in half and wrap each ball in plastic and flatten. Freeze 2 hours or overnight. Let thaw just until you can press into it. 

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place a large sheet of parchment on the counter. Sprinkle some flour on the parchment, place one of the dough discs on the parchment, sprinkle again with flour, and then top with a second sheet of parchment.

Rolling on top of the parchment, roll out the disc of dough to 13 x 10 inches. Peel back the top parchment a few times while rolling and sprinkle more flour on the dough. Remove the top parchment and reserve for re-use. Spread half of the raspberry jam evenly on the dough. Combine sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and then sprinkle half on top of the jam. Sprinkle half of the cranberries on top.

Fold the right and left sides (the short sides) of the dough 1/2 inch in toward the center to keep the filling inside. Using the parchment to help you, roll the long side from the top toward you, rolling as tightly as you can.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment. Place the loaf on the cookie sheet with the seam on the bottom and flatten slightly. Repeat for the second disc of dough and the remaining filling.

Bake for 40 minutes or until the top begins to brown. Let cool and then slice into 1-inch pieces. These can be frozen. Store covered with plastic or in an airtight container at room temperature for five days or freeze for up to three months.

Adapted from Paula Shoyer, The Kosher Baker: 160 dairy-free desserts from traditional to trendy (Brandeis 2010)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Pumpkin Churros

I know that Thanksgivikkuh already involves mixing traditions, but I had to go one step further. There is a recipe for classic churros in the Chanukah chapter of The Holiday Kosher Baker. My thinking was that churros are an alternative fried alternative to doughnuts as they are smaller.

The version below was given the Thanksgiving twist. For more thoughts on Thanksgivikkuh, check out the podcast of the Kojo Nnamdi Show yesterday, where I had the privilege of discussing Thanksgivikkuh on air for an entire hour with Bonnie and Michelle of American Food Roots. Also, see my Thanksgiving menu on

Pumpkin Churros
Makes 35                                     

1 cup water
¼ cup canola oil plus extra for frying
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
½ cup canned pumpkin puree

1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Cover a small cookie sheet with two layers of paper towels. Scoop the pumpkin on top and spread and let it sit while you make the dough; this dries out the puree.

Place the water, oil, sugar, vanilla and salt into a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a rolling boil. Reduce heat to low and add the flour. 

Use a wooden spoon to mix the dough over the heat until the flour is completely mixed in and the dough comes together into a ball, about 30 seconds.  Remove from heat and scoop this mixture into a medium bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. If mixing by hand, press the dough against the sides of the bowl to help cool the dough and let cool two minutes. 

Add one egg, mixing well by hand or with the paddle attachment of the mixer. You will need to mix vigorously to incorporate the eggs. The dough will clump up each time but after more stirring it will come together. Repeat with remaining eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape the pumpkin puree off the paper towels and into the dough and mix well. Place the dough into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip or a round tip with points, with about a 1/3-inch opening; I use Atero #864. 

In a shallow bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

Heat 1½ inches of oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, until the temperature holds between 365 and 370°F. Place a wire rack over an aluminum foil-covered baking sheet. Hold the pastry bag over the oil, reaching a little into the saucepan. With the pastry bag in one hand and a knife or kitchen scissors in the other hand, quickly squeeze out six 3 to 4-inch long strips and then use the knife or scissors to cut off the dough and let the dough drop into the hot oil.

Cook no more than six at a time. After one minute, separate any churros that are stuck together. Cook for four to five minutes total time, trying to turn them over after two minutes, and then fry until golden. Use a slotted spoon to lift the churros onto the rack to cool slightly for a minute, or until you can handle them. Roll in the cinnamon and nutmeg sugar and serve. Do not wait until the churros are completely cool to roll in the coating; the residual oil helps the sugar mixture stick better. Store covered at room temperature for up to two days or freeze for up to three months.  Reheat to serve.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Apple Pie Doughnuts for Thanksgivikkuh

The Holiday Kosher Baker features apple latkes, which can serve as an appetizer, side dish, dessert or a decadent breakfast over Thanksgiving weekend. They look exactly like potato ones, but with a very different taste. As we all love apple pie for Thanksgiving, I thought that a doughnut that tastes like apple pie would be a great way to mash up the flavors of Thanksgiving and Chanukah. You will be very grateful for these doughnuts. For another great Thanksgivikkuh recipe check out my cranberry babka in the Washington Post.

1/4 ounce (1 envelope) dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
¼ cup light brown sugar
½ cup soymilk
2 tablespoons margarine, at room temperature 15 minutes
1 large egg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large apple

1 medium apple
3 ¼ - 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
canola oil for frying
¼ cup granulated sugar for dusting doughnuts

In a large bowl, place the yeast, warm water and one teaspoon of the sugar and stir. Let sit eight  minutes, or until thick. Add the remaining sugar, light brown sugar, soymilk, margarine, egg, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, salt and 2 cups flour and mix either with a wooden spoon or with a dough hook in a stand mixer on low speed. Add ½ cup more flour and mix in. 

Peel the apples. Grate the larger apple on the large holes of a box grater and add to bowl. Chop the second apple into ¼ inch pieces and add to the bowl. Add ½ cup flour and use either the hook or your hands to knead in the apple pieces. Add ¼ cup flour and mix in. At this point it is easiest to dump the dough on the counter and gently knead the flour into the dough. If it is still very sticky, add another 1 to 2 tablespoons flour and knead in just until the dough comes together and is not sticking to the counter. The dough can be a little sticky in parts.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment or a Silpat and sprinkle generously with flour. Place another piece of parchment paper on the counter and sprinkle 2 teaspoons flour on top. Scoop up the dough and dump on top. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon flour on top of the dough and then pat down the dough until it is about ½ to 3/4-inch thick; it is easier than using a rolling pin. Use a round 2 1/2-inch cookie cutter to cut out circles, very close to each other in the dough, and place them on the cookie sheet.  Re-roll and cut any scraps. Cover the doughnuts with a dishtowel. Let rise 30 minutes.

Heat 1½ inches of oil in a medium saucepan and use a candy thermometer to see when the oil stays between 365ºF and 370°F for a few minutes; adjust the flame to keep the oil in that temperature range. Cover a cookie sheet with foil.  Place a wire rack on top of the cookie sheet and set near the stovetop.

When the oil is ready, add the doughnuts top-side down into the oil and cook for 90 seconds. Drop them one at a time by holding an edge in the oil and then slide it in; if you drop them an inch or higher from the oil, the oil could splatter and burn your fingers.  You can cook up to five at a time. Turn the doughnuts over and cook another 60 to 80 seconds, or until golden. Lift with a slotted spoon and place on the wire rack to cool. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts. 

Place the sugar in a shallow bowl and roll the doughnut holes in the sugar to coat.  Store covered at room temperature for up to one day and reheat to serve.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thanks for Thanksgivikkuh

I had an experience years ago that taught me that you can never be thankful enough; even when you think you have thanked people enough, you should thank them some more. 

There are so many things I am grateful for this year. First, my wonderful family, who support my work and love me even when I am on the road more than any mom should be allowed to be away, and still I retain the title.

I am grateful to all my fans for the overwhelming reception to The Holiday Kosher Baker. The books are selling quite well. I am grateful to my agents Sally and Lisa Ekus my editor at Sterling Publishing, Jennifer Williams; my photographer Michael Bennett Kress and my many interns, assistants and others who test recipes for me and helped make this book a success.

Thank you to all the writers and bloggers who give my book a voice and to the friends who help me arrange appearances all over the world. Thank you to all the new friends I have met on this book tour who invite me to lunch, house me when they have never met me before, schlepp me from airports to hotels, serve as my sous chefs, show me the highlights of their cities and welcome me whole-heartedly into their communities. I am starting to think that there are many places I could actually live in.

Finally, I am grateful to the lunar calendar that brought me Thanksgivikkuh.

Speaking, thinking, baking and writing about this once-in-a-lifetime holiday convergence has become a new career for me, albeit a short one. Lately, I wake up every morning dreaming of new ways to combine the key flavors of each holiday and for every interview I invent new ways to plan your savory menu and design your table to make both holidays feel special.  Most of all I seem to have become the expert on creating desserts that combine the best of both holidays. My children are definitely grateful for the results of the laboratory that now occupies our kitchen.

I will be posting new Thanksgivikkuh recipes all week as well as my favorite savory recipes for Thanksgiving, so check back here.

Easy Thanksgivikkuh Pumpkin Cake
This cake combines pumpkin, Thanksgiving’s star ingredient, with Chanukah’s revered olive oil to create a moist cake that also has no sugar and no white flour. This is my healthiest Thanksgivikkuh recipe. For some reason, it seems to taste better as it ages.

2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup agave syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1¼ cup pumpkin purée (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 cups white whole wheat flour, plus extra for dusting pan
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon nutmeg 
½ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon salt
spray oil for greasing pan
½ teaspoon confectioner’s sugar for dusting, if desired

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a Bundt pan. Place the oil, agave, vanilla and eggs into a large bowl and beat for 30 seconds or until mixed. Add the pumpkin purée and mix well. Add the white whole wheat flour, baking power, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt and mix well. Scoop into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Lift the loaf pan two inches above the counter and drop down on the counter three times to remove any bubbles. 

Bake for 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool ten minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with confectioner’s sugar if desired. Store at room temperature for up to five days or freeze for up to three months.