Apricot Galette

A galette is a rustic free form tart that can be either savory or sweet. She’s pie’s effortlessly chic cousin who jets off to Europe for the weekend. Is she as refined and put together as pie? No. Is she as sweet as pie? Not a chance (only 3 tablespoons of sugar in this whole recipe!). Is she a little flaky? Yes. But, in some ways her simplicity makes her more sophisticated. She’s rough around the edges and gives zero f***’s. Galette, ladies and gentlemen.

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Apricot Galette

From Food52

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 stick cold butter or margarine
1/4 cup ice water
12 apricots, cut into quarters
2 tablespoons sugar plus extra for the crust
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons milk or almond milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place a pizza stone in the oven.

In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar and salt. Using two forks, cut in the butter until the mixture becomes course in texture.  Slowly pour in the ice water, a little bit at a time until the dough starts to stick together. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and form into a flat round disk. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Mix the apricots in a bowl with the sugar and cornstarch.

Roll out your dough into a 12-inch diameter circle on a piece of parchment paper. Lay the fruit in the center of the dough arranging artfully. Fold the edges toward the center of the galette. Brush edges with milk and sprinkle the sugar on.

Place the galette on the pizza stone and bake for about 45 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Let the galette cool on a rack before slicing.

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Sticky Buns

Sticky buns are one of my favorite breakfast pastries. What’s not to love? Ooey gooey brown sugar, pecans, and cinnamon in a delectable bun form. This recipe is like baby babka bun’s floozy cousin – easy, sticky, and fun. Frozen puff pastry sheets make this recipe a cinch to throw together – perfect for a brunch or an impromptu weekend visit with friends. Next up on the bun bucket list: cinnamon buns. It’s going to be a fun winter.

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Sticky Buns

Recipe from Ina Garten. Yields 12 buns

12 tbs butter, at room temperaturephoto 4

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted

For the filling:

2 tbs melted butter

2/3 cup light brown sugar

3 tsp cinnamon

1 cup raisons

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick baking spray. In a mixer, combine 12 tablespoons butter with 1/3 cup brown sugar. Place a tablespoon of the butter/sugar mixture into the bottom of each muffin cup. Sprinkle pecans evenly on top of the butter/sugar mixture.

Lightly flour a cutting board and unfold puff pastry dough with the folds going left to right. Brush the whole sheet with melted butter. Sprinkle on 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and 1/2 cup raisons. Starting with the side nearest you, roll the pastry up, finishing the roll seam side down. Cut the log into sixths. Place each piece, spiral side up, into each muffin cup. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry. Bake for 30 minutes or until the buns are golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then flip over onto a cooling rack. Spoon leftover filling and pecans onto buns with a spoon.

Salted Caramel Bourbon Cheesecake Bites

This decadent dessert is the perfect treat for a New Year’s Eve party. It’s rich, luxurious, and a fabulous last hurrah bite before you kick off your diet. Unlike New Year’s Eve, this cheesecake bite won’t disappoint and leave you barefoot and full of regret. Perfect for a party, these bites can be topped with whatever you like – fruit, chocolate, or even plain they’re great. Happy 2015!

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Salted Bourbon Caramel Cheesecake Bites

Adapted from this recipe

For the crust:

  • 2/3 cup pecans
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the cheesecake:

  • 2 pounds cream cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of kosher salt

For the caramel:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

For the shortbread:

Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in middle. Line an 8-by 8-inch baking dish with parchment paper, leaving a few inches of overhang on each side.

Combine the pecans, butter, flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is looks like a coarse meal. Press the mixture evenly into your baking dish and bake until golden brown on the edges, about 25 minutes.

For the cheesecake:

Combine the cream cheese and sugar in a standing mixer until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the processor then add the eggs and the yolk one at a time. Add the vanilla extract and salt and mix until blended.

Pour the mixture over the crust and bake until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the cake comes out clean and the center of the cheesecake is just set (it will look like custard), about 40 minutes (mine took closer to an hour) Turn off the oven, leave the door slightly ajar, and let the cheesecake cool for 15 minutes.

Remove cheesecake from the oven and set on a rack to cool. Let the cheesecake cool completely, about 1 hour then stick it in the fridge.

For the caramel:

Stir together the sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar is completely moistened. Bring the mixture to a boil.

Without stirring but swirling the pan occasionally, let the sugar boil for a bit then add the butter. It will turn a nice caramel color, about 5 minutes. Give the pan a few good swirls to make sure it’s evenly cooking, remove from heat, and carefully add the whiskey.  Immediately add the cream, and whisk until the caramel is smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature, at least out 15 minutes.

Assembly:

Pour the lukewarm caramel over the cooled cheesecake, then place in the refrigerator to chill for a minimum of 2 hours. When ready to serve, cut into slabs or squares using a sharp knife dipped in hot water. Garnish with sea salt and serve. It can be difficult to cut, but try and stay patient and dip your knife in hot water, it really helps.

 

Blueberry Cornmeal Butter Cake

Imagine for a second a hybrid of cornbread and streusel-topped coffee cake. Now, add in summer-ripened blueberries. This cake is all you just imagined and more. I recently made this as a dessert for a Shabbat dinner and it was a big hit. Luckily, I snagged a leftover piece to take home (etiquette be damned) and the next morning I devoured it with my coffee. Although this cake made a fabulous dessert, it was even better as a breakfast treat.  I happened to have some store-bought blueberry muffins around and they paled in comparison to this cake. And I’m no muffin-snob, I love me a good store-bought blueberry muffin. But, next to this cake, the muffin didn’t stand a chance.

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picstitch-23picstitch-24photo-18Blueberry Cornmeal Butter Cake

From the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

1 stick of butter, at room temperature

1 cup flourpicstitch-25

1/2 cup cornmeal

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp lemon zest

1/3 cup greek yogurt or sour cream

2 cups blueberries

Streusel

1/2 cup sugar

6 tbsp flour

2 tbsp cornmeal

1/4 tsp cinnamon

pinch of salt

2 tbs butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line the bottom of an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper and spray with baking pam. Whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy for about 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla and zest. Add a third of the flour mixture, all of the yogurt or sour cream, and another third of the flour, beating until just blended after each addition. Mix the rest of the flour with blueberries and gently fold into the batter. Spread the batter into your pan. In the flour mixture bowl, mix the streusel ingredients together and sprinkle over the cake batter. Bake for 35 minutes or until toothpick tester comes out clean. I probably ended up baking mine for 45 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then flip it onto a cooling rack.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Every June in Lanesboro, Minnesota (the rhubarb capital of Minnesota and also my dream birthplace) the annual Rhubarb Festival goes down.  While most of my peers are purchasing tents for Bonnaroo, I’m looking up flights from JFK to Fillmore County Airport for the Rhubarb Festival. Music? Rhubarb Festival’s got it. The Rhubarb Sisters have been crooning about rhubarb since 2006. Sport? Run the Rhubarb 5k to build up your appetite for pie. There’s even a Rhubarb Rant Speakers Corner for those who want to pontificate on rhubarb. Enjoy rhubarb chilis, jams, chutneys, cakes, pies and more. It’s basically heaven and hopefully one day I will get to go to the Rhubarb Festival. But until that day comes, I’m going to have my own Rhubarb Festival in Washington Heights. First thing on the to-do list, make this insanely delicious strawberry rhubarb crisp. Next up at the festival— take your photo with Ruby and Ronald Rhubarb (me and Oliver).  This crisp demands to be served hot with a perfect scoop of really good vanilla ice cream (Haagen-Dazs) on top. Your life just got a whole lot better. Make this every day until rhubarb is no longer in season. Mourn the day when it goes out of season.

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Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

From the goddess of fine living, the Barefoot Contessa

4 stalks of rhubarb cut into 1 inch pieces

4 cups of strawberries, halved

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 1/2 tsp orange zest

1/2 cup orange juice

1 tbsp corn starch

1 cup flour

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 cup quick cooking oats (not instant oatmeal)

1 1/2 sticks of cold hearted butter, diced

Vanilla ice cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toss the rhubarb, strawberries, orange zest and 3/4 cup of sugar together in a large bowl. In a measuring cup, dissolve the cornstarch in the orange juice. Add to the fruit mixture. Put the fruit into an 8 x 11 inch baking dish. For the topping, mix flour, 1/2 cup sugar, the brown sugar, salt and oatmeal together in a standing mixer. On low speed add the diced butter and mix until the mixture becomes crumbly. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit until it covers the fruit completely. I got a little nervous here and didn’t put all the crumb topping on top. Mistake. Load it on because the fruit WILL bubble over, so you want a good solid roof of buttery crumble topping to keep the fruit at bay. Bake for 1 hour until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden brown. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. Thank God you are alive.

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Marry me, you beautiful creature.

 

Hamantaschen of New York

These are not your grandmother’s hamantaschen. In fact, these are nothing like your grandmother’s dry, sugar cookie dough-filled triangles. These are my grandmother’s hamantaschen; made with sour cream, butter and yeast. Three ingredients that scream deliciousness.  More flaky breakfast pastry than dry, prune-filled biblical villain cap, this recipe is a family classic. Every year, my mom, my brother Micah and I would roll up our sleeves and make these. While my mom and I produced perfect three-cornered pastries, Micah’s resembled unidentifiable shapes more octagon than triangle. But, he turned out OK, despite his baking deficiency. While this recipe requires a bit of forward thinking and planning (the dough needs to rise overnight),  it is well worth the time and effort and the results will blow your friends and family away. They will never feel the same way about Purim again with these hamantaschen in their lives. I went with the classics on filling; apricot, cherry and poppy seed (the Justin Bieber of filling and my personal favorite), but feel free to get creative and use whatever filling you love. This recipe makes A LOT of hamantaschen, which is slightly problematic as my hamantaschen to friend ratio is pretty disproportional. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to eat more… Happy Purim!

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Grandma Rosen’s Hamantaschen

3-1/2 cups flour
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1/4 cup sugar


1 tsp salt


1 cup room temp. butter (2 sticks)


3 egg yolks (save whites)


1 cup sour cream


3/4 oz cake yeast 


1/4 cup warm water


Eggs whites mixed well


Fillings of your choice (I used apricot preserves, poppy seed and cherry pie filling)

Chopped walnuts (optional)

Mix flour, sugar, salt and cut in butter until crumbly. In a separate bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside. In a bowl separate the whites from the egg yolks and put the egg whites in the refrigerator.  Then mix yolks with sour cream and combine with yeast mixture. Now add that to the flour mixture. Knead dough until spongy and springs back. (Punch it for like 20 minutes, great rage reducer). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Next day: take dough pieces the size of a whole shelled walnut and roll out into little circles and fill with about a teaspoon of filling. Use flour on rolling pin and wax paper to prevent sticking.  Dip in egg white and then chopped walnuts if you want. Or brush with egg whites for a nice sheen. Bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes. My Grandma Marge added a little honey, golden raisins and a touch of milk to the poppy seed filling and a little bit of lemon juice and golden raisins to the apricot filling. #grandmas #littletouches
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Baby Babka Buns

I have babies on the brain.  No, not in a maternal, newly married kind of way— this blog is not becoming the Pregnant Princess anytime soon. More so in a youngest child with pregnant older siblings kind of way.  (Speaking of baby fever, check out this amazing website my pregnant sister in law, Miriam, alerted me to. Instant mood booster.)  A few weeks ago, a new arrival, Baby Emily, joined the family and I thought what better way to welcome the little nugget of joy into the world than baking Baby Babka Buns in her honor? And for the still pregnant ladies in my life, these will keep your chocolate cravings at bay. And I promise not to judge you when you eat the whole pan. But let’s get real, I’m going to make you work for this. You’re going to want to do some lamaze breathing for these labor intensive indulgences. They don’t take exactly nine months to make, but close to it. Trust me though, the result will be worth the wait. Spirals of gooey, chocolatey-cinnamon in a rich, heavenly dough. And this bun in the oven doesn’t poop, cry or spit up. A dream dessert, really.

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Believe it people. Believe it.

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Baby Babka Buns

From Smitten Kitchen. Because really, who else could dream up these delights? Makes 12 buns.

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1/2 cup milk (girl, put that skim down. Clear eyes, whole milk, can’t lose.)
1/4 cup plus a pinch of sugar
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 egg
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp unsalted room temperature butter, plus more for bowl and muffin tins.

Filling
3 tbsp room temperature butter
1/4 cup sugar
8 oz semisweet chocolate chips
pinch of salt
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Egg Wash
1 egg
2 tsp milk

Dough Prep: Warm the milk  and a pinch of sugar in the microwave for 30 seconds.  You want it warm but not too hot to the touch. Stir in the yeast and let sit for 5 minutes. Whisk together egg and 1/4 cup sugar. Slowly whisk in the yeast mixture. Combine flour and salt in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix on low and slowly add the egg mixture. Add the butter and mix until combined. Switch to the dough hook attachment and turn mixer on low and let it go for 10 minutes. Butter a large bowl and place dough in the bowl. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let it rise for 45 minutes or until it doubles in size.

Filling: Place chocolate chips, salt, sugar and cinnamon in a food processor. Pulse until chocolate mixture is very finely chopped. Add butter and pulse until butter is mixed into the chocolate mixture.

Assembly: Take the dough out of the bowl and deflate lightly with your hands. Let it sit for 5 minutes. On a well floured surface (such as your dining room table), roll out the dough into a large rectangle that measures about 11 x 15-20 inches. Sprinkle the filling over the dough evenly. Tightly roll the dough from one short end to the other. With a serrated knife cut the log into 1 inch pieces and place pieces into a buttered muffin tin. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and let sit for 25 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350. Whisk up egg and milk and brush onto the buns.  Bake for 15-20 minutes. Take a nap. Eat one first though. These truly are a labor of love.

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Too bad this little guy won’t grow up to be a full sized babka…

Naomi’s Brownies (Warning: Content May Offend Boxed Brownie Lovers)

I ate a lot of brownies in college. No, not those kind of brownies.  Please, I was not that cool. I’m talking instead about the Duncan Hines ones. The go-to dessert of the cash-strapped college student. Slap on some frosting and bring em’ to Shabbat dinner brownies. Sure, they get the job done. They’re sweet, chewy, and vaguely chocolatey, but true brownies are not supposed to taste like that. Boxed brownies never really did it for me because in my family we never used the box, we made Naomi’s Brownies. An age old family recipe dating back to my Aunt Jean and later published in an elementary school cookbook by my cousin, Naomi. If you’ve never had a homemade brownie, get ready for your life to change. Prepare yourself to be transported to a mind-altering state (still not those kind of brownies) of chocolatey bliss.

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Naomi’s Brownies

3 ounces of Hershey’s unsweetened baking chocolate

1 stick of butter or margarine

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup flour

1 tsp vanilla

1/8 tsp salt

1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to to 350. Grease and flour an 8×8 pan. Melt butter or margarine and chocolate in a small saucepan until silky smooth and let cool. Beat eggs and sugar and whisk into the chocolate mixture. Add flour, salt and vanilla and mix everything together. Stir in pecans and pour into your pan and bake for 25 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar and watch people fall in love with a real brownie.

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The best study snack, second only to Red Bull and Adderall.

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Olive Oil Grapefruit Cake?!

Grapefruit is kind of an old person fruit. But unlike cottage cheese, grapefruitMetamucil and Cheerios, grapefruit is pretty awesome. And so is this cake, but I’m not going to lie to you folks, this was a bit of a pain in the ass to make. Fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, zest and extra steps (re: massaging the zest and the sugar to release precious grapefruit oils… Yep, I did that) make this cake super moist and full of that delicious winter citrus flavor our grandparents love. But beware, this is not for the faint of heart, like I said before, there are serious steps involved. Speaking of steps, I should really get my butt to a gym and stop baking midweek pound cakes…

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Olive Oil Grapefruit Cake

From The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

1 1/2 cups of flour

2 tbsp fresh squeezed grapefruit juice (1-2 large grapefruits)

1 cup sugar

2 tbsp grapefruit zest

1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tsp baking powder

2 eggs (it says room temperature, but who the heck is that organized to get their eggs out of the fridge before baking a dessert? I used cold eggs, and it was totally fine)

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

The syrup:

1/3 cup grapefruit juice

2 tbsp sugar

Glaze:

1 cup of powdered sugar

2 tbsp grapefruit juice

Preheat oven to 350. Greeeze up a loaf pan. Massage (I know, I know) the zest and the sugar together to release magical grapefruit flavor oils. Whisk the zest, sugar and eggs together. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together. Combine the yogurt and grapefruit juice and alternately add the yogurt mixture and flour mixture to the eggs and sugar. Dough will be fairly thick, pour it into your loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Test it with a toothpick for doneness. Mine baked in just 45. Let it cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then take the cake carefully out of the pan and let it rest on a cooling rack. Rest, massages, toothpick acupuncture, this cake is receiving some serious 5 star treatment.  In a small saucepan heat 1/3 cup of grapefruit juice and 2 tablespoons of sugar over low heat until sugar dissolves. Poke holes all over the top of the cake and pour the syrup over the cake for maximum grapefruity absorption.  I recommend putting a cake plate under the cooling rack while pouring the syrup. Major mess saver.  Ok, we’re almost there people! Once the cake is fully cooled, whisk the powdered sugar,  grapefruit juice and a pinch of salt until smooth and pour over cake, letting the excess drip down the sides. Try to refrain from licking up the puddles of glaze. Aaaand we’re done.

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