Thursday, September 17, 2015
Shana tovah! Happy New Year!
I always look forward to this time of year because it centers around family and food. Mmmm. Two of my favorite things in the world! And it just feels like a really special time. All the fine china comes out, the pretty tablecloth, the fancy candlestick holders, and the house looks extra tidy. The aroma of incredible baked goods or sweet apricot chicken and praline pecan-topped kugel waft through the rooms.
About a week before the holiday, in true "Mom fashion," my mom sent me an extremely ambitious detailed menu for the three Rosh Hashanah meals: Erev Rosh Hashanah dinner, Day 1 dinner, and Day 2 dinner. Whew! That's a lot of cooking! Her menu must have been three pages long! In addition to multiple entrees, kugels, soup, vegetables, salad, chopped liver, and challah (everything from scratch!), she had a variety of desserts included in the list, such as rugelach, apple pie, and honey cake. I offered to help her prepare a bunch of the recipes in her menu. But in true "Marni fashion," I added to the list. Somehow, I find there's always room for more dessert...
I wanted to make ice cream for Rosh Hashanah, so I started to think about appropriate flavors for the holiday. Really, anything sweet would probably suffice, since this is a holiday all about sweetness. But could I be more spot-on with my flavor choice? Yes. Apples and honey! The question then became, how the heck do you infuse those two flavors into an ice cream base? I decided to make a honey ice cream by swapping out the typical granulated sugar called for in ice cream and replacing it with half a cup of honey, and then I caramelized some apples to stir in during the churning process. It worked out great! This ice cream is everything I hoped it would be! The essence of Rosh Hashanah captured in ice cream!
"Apples and Honey" Ice Cream
A.K.A. Honey Ice Cream with Caramelized Cinnamon Sugar Apples
Honey Ice Cream
Adapted from a recipe in The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
1 cup whole milk
A pinch of salt
1/2 cup honey
2 cups heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
Pour the heavy cream into a large bowl and place a strainer over the bowl. Set aside.
In a saucepan, warm the milk, salt, and honey.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Pour some of the warmed milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly so you don't cook the eggs and accidentally turn them into omelet! Continue adding the rest of the warmed milk into the egg yolks until all of it is combined and you've warmed the egg yolks, then pour all of this egg-milk mixture back into the saucepan.
Cook the egg-milk mixture over low heat, stirring with a spatula constantly until the mixture thickens into a custard and coats the spatula. You can tell it is done if you swipe your finger down the back of the coated spatula and it leaves the mark of your finger.
Pour the custard through the strainer into the heavy cream, then stir to combine. Cover and chill the mixture in the fridge for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Once chilled, churn the mixture in your ice cream maker. When the ice cream is almost fully churned, add the caramelized apples (see recipe below) by dropping them down the opening of the ice cream maker and allow to churn for 1-2 more minutes to incorporate. Transfer the ice cream to freezer containers and freeze until set. Enjoy!
Caramelized Cinnamon Sugar Apples
Recipe by Happy Go Marni
3 baking apples such as Gravenstein or Granny Smith
Juice of half a lemon
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Squeeze the lemon juice into a medium bowl. Peel and thinly slice the apples and chop into 1-inch long pieces. As you are chopping, place the pieces into the bowl and turn to coat the apples with the juice so they don't brown. Stir in the sugar and cinnamon until well combined.
In a skillet, melt the butter and add the apples. Cook on medium heat until the apples are softened and caramelized, about 15 minutes. Be sure to stir occasionally so the apples don't burn. Allow to cool completely before stirring into the ice cream maker.
Behind the Scenes Photo Gallery
Honey ice cream base is ready to be chilled for at least 6 hours...
Once the ice cream base is chilled, churn in ice cream maker...
Add the cooled caramelized apples to the ice cream maker in the last 2 minutes of churning, just long enough to incorporate the apples into the ice cream...
Allow the ice cream to set further in the freezer, then scoop and serve!
So creamy and delicious. Apples and Honey Ice Cream!
Monday, December 10, 2012
It wouldn't be Hanukkah without jelly donuts, known also by their Hebrew name Sufganiyot. And I couldn't be more thrilled to find out that one of my favorite spots in LA is serving them up all Hanukkah-long.
Bibi's Bakery & Cafe in the kosher Pico-Robertson neighborhood of Los Angeles is a GREAT place for a tuna melt, a Greek salad, a pita toastee, shakshukah, babka, challah, and now sufganiyot! When Bibi's switched ownership and Dan Messinger became the new captain of the ship, everything improved, from the menu, to the signage, ambiance, customer service, and even the marketing...they're now on Facebook offering up plenty of food porn pics and social media discounts! Basically, Dan is really Dan the Man.
While I already consider myself a regular customer there, I hope that soon enough I can get around to ordering a bunch of the aforementioned savory items all at once, take some pics, and share all that with you on this blog (especially because Bibi's tuna melt is in my top 3 favorite tuna melts of all time), but for now, go get yourself some sufganiyot! In addition to the traditional jelly-filled donuts, Bibi's is offering custard-filled and chocolate-filled! Price is $1.50 per donut, and they are a hefty, honkin' good size.
Bibi's Bakery & Cafe
8928 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Strictly kosher dairy/pareve
Official Website: http://bibisbakery.com
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/BibisBakeryandCafe
Saturday, April 23, 2011
I got to my parents' house Thursday night and the first thing my mom says to me (after the big bear hug, of course) is, "Marni, you have to try these pecan bars." She all but stuffed one into my mouth. It wasn't exactly hard to give in and try one, but it was noteworthy that she was so eager. I mean, I'd just stepped off a plane and all she could think about was feeding me this bar.
Her alacrity was justified. One bite, actually, one look at these bars, and I knew I'd be sleeping happy (and waking up and going to the gym - but it would be worth it).
Just when I thought there'd be no new baking revelations this Passover, my mom drops this on me. Kaboom! Kerpow! And now I am a changed woman. Forever. Can a Passover Pecan Bar do that to a person? Yes, and I can't wait for you to try this. In fact, I urge you to use your leftover Passover ingredients after Passover is over and make this to bring to a picnic, or a work party, or whatever. No one will know it has matzah meal in it, but if they ask what's in it, tell them the truth. It will shock them.
Unfortunately, because my mom had already made these by the time I arrived, I wasn't there to take step-by-step photos. So these few finished product photos will have to do. I think you'll survive!Ooey Gooey Pecan Bars for Passover
Adapted from a recipe by Marcy Goldman in A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking
1/2 cup matzah meal
1 cup matzah cake meal
1/2 cup ground toasted pecans
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter or margarine
1 egg yolk
Gooey Pecan Filling
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, melted
1 1/3 cups brown sugar
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup Passover maple table syrup
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Passover vanilla sugar (or Passover vanilla extract)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking pan. My mom used a 9x13-inch and highly recommends it! You can also use an 8x11 (smaller pan) and the bars will be taller, even gooier, and more like the pecan pie you're used to around Thanksgiving.
For the crust, in a food processor or large bowl, stir together the matzah meal, cake meal, pecans, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Add the butter and pulse in the food processor or use a pastry blender to cut the butter up into small morsels so that the crust mixture is crumbly. Add the egg yolk and stir to incorporate. Use your fingers to squish the mixture together and then press it into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. You'll know the crust is done when the edges are beginning to brown, but are not too dark. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
For the filling, in a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients and whisk to incorporate. Pour this filling onto the cooled crust and return to the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack, then place in the fridge to chill further so that the filling sets. Cut into squares. A little goes a long way because these are so gooey and indulgent, so even bite-size pieces would work well.
Makes 3 to 4 dozen heavenly bars.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Oh yes I did. I just put two of my favorite things (and I know they are also favorites for many of you!) together and it's all kosher-for-Passover!
You can call me a hero. Start celebrating a Happy Go Marni Day in your city. Post cardboard cut outs of me on your lawn. Write me onto the next presidential ballot. I just made Passover dessert more than simply tolerable! Hip Hip Hooray!
Made-from-scratch vanilla bean ice cream gets a Passover-themed flavor enhancement with the addition of tiny pieces of caramel matzah crunch, that chocolate caramel-covered matzah candy that the world can't live without on Passover. A-mazing! Both of these things are things I've blogged about separately before. So all they needed was a little love and marriage.
I knew I wanted to make ice cream for Passover, but I thought it would be more special if it had a distinctly Passover feel to it. I can't toss in regular candy pieces because of the corn syrup or other no-no ingredients. But caramel matzah crunch is something I make annually regardless, and broken up into tiny pieces, they resemble toffee bits! Sort of like Skor or Heath Bar bits.
The result is an ice cream that feels special for the holiday, but if you don't finish the batch by the end of Passover, it's perfectly delicious to continue consuming post-Passover. And you can't say that's true for a lot of other leftover desserts you might have when Passover ends. I see you through the computer screen, nodding in agreement. Try this!
Caramel Matzah Crunch Ice Cream
This recipe is my (very) successful attempt to marry Caramel Matzah Crunch by Marcy Goldman and Philadelphia-Style Vanilla Ice Cream by David Lebovitz
Makes about 1 1/2 quarts
3 cups heavy cream, or 2 cups heavy cream and 1 cup whole milk (honestly, 1% will work fine)
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
3/4 teaspoon Passover vanilla extract
Approximately 1 1/2 cups Caramel Matzah Crunch, broken up into little 1/2-inch pieces (see recipe below)
Pour 1 cup of the cream into a medium saucepan and add the sugar and salt. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the saucepan and add the pod to the pot. Warm over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved.
Remove from the heat and add the remaining 2 cups cream (or the remaining 1 cup cream and the milk) and the Passover vanilla extract.
Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator overnight. When ready to churn, remove the vanilla bean, rinsing and reserving it for another use. I recommend straining the mixture into a new bowl because there might be tiny pieces of bark from the vanilla pod that you don't want in the ice cream. Then churn the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
During the last 3-5 minutes of churning, when the mixture is pretty thick and almost of perfect consistency for soft serve ice cream, pour in the caramel matzah crunch bits and let the ice cream maker incorporate all the pieces. Transfer the ice cream to freezer containers and freeze for a few hours before serving to allow the ice cream to firm up a bit.
Caramel Matzah Crunch
4-6 unsalted matzahs
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter or unsalted Passover margarine
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup coarsely chopped chocolate chips or semi-sweet chocolate
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a large (or two smaller) cookie sheet completely with foil. Cover the bottom of the sheet with baking parchment — on top of the foil. This is very important since the mixture becomes sticky during baking.
Line the bottom of the cookie sheet evenly with the matzahs, cutting extra pieces, as required, to fit any spaces.
In a 3-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the butter or margarine and the brown sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil (about 2 to 4 minutes). Boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and pour over the matzah, covering completely.
Place the baking sheet in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 350°. Bake for 15 minutes, checking every few minutes to make sure the mixture is not burning (if it seems to be browning too quickly, remove the pan from the oven, lower the heat to 325°, and replace the pan).
Remove from the oven and sprinkle immediately with the chopped chocolate or chips. Let stand for 5 minutes, then spread the melted chocolate over the matzah. Chill, still in the pan, in the freezer until set. Break into squares or odd shapes.
Step-by-Step in Pictures
Note: Additional photos can be found on my original posts for Caramel Matzah Crunch and Philadelphia Style Vanilla Ice Cream.
After the ice cream mixture has chilled in the fridge overnight, remove it from the fridge...
Strain the mixture into a new bowl to catch the vanilla pod and any tiny pieces of vanilla bark...
Pour into the ice cream maker...
When the ice cream is almost done, and thick but still moving easily in the machine, pour in the Caramel Matzah Crunch bits...
Churn with the candy bits for about 3 minutes, until fully incorporated...
Transfer to a freezer container and place in freezer to allow the ice cream to firm up...
Scoop and serve! You are in for a real Passover treat!
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Abracadabra, hocus pocus, make me a Passover brownie that will fool anyone!
I chanted this spell as I put these Passover brownies in the oven, and apparently I'm quite a good witch. My magic worked! These brownies are, yes, technically kosher-for-Passover, but you would never ever know. I'd bet money on it in Vegas. Even the most discriminating palates and Michelin-rated chefs would have no idea. I am that confident I could fool anyone. There is 1/3 of a cup of matzah cake meal in place of 1/2 a cup of flour in an already certified, tested, heavenly brownie. And because they're so easy to make, it would be a shame, a tragedy, and at the very least, pretty lame, for you to make a Passover brownie mix instead. Please don't.
Bippity Boppity Boo!
Kosher-for-Passover Ice Bath Brownies
Adapted from a recipe by Alice Medrich in Cookies and Brownies
Makes 16 brownies
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon Passover vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup matzah cake meal
2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces, toasted (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Line an 8x8 metal pan with foil and drape extra foil over the edges so you can lift the brownies out later for cutting on a cutting board.
Melt the butter and chocolate in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until the mixture is melted and smooth. Be very careful not to burn the mixture. If you think you're not the careful type, use a double boiler or heatproof bowl set on top of a pan of gently simmering water. It's a lot harder to burn chocolate and butter when using a double boiler.
Remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir in sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring in each until it is well incorporated. Beat in the matzah cake meal until the mixture comes away from the sides and looks smooth and glossy, about 1 minute. Stir in nuts, if using. Pour the brownie batter into the foil-lined pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until brownies just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. The surface of the brownies will look dry but a toothpick inserted in the center will still be quite gooey. That's a good thing!
While the brownies are baking, prepare the ice bath. Fill a roasting pan or large baking pan (a standard 9 x 13" pan works perfectly) with ice cubes and water about 3/4-inch deep.
When brownies are ready, take the pan out of the oven and immediately place in the ice bath. Careful not to splash water from the ice bath onto the brownies! Cool the brownies completely in the ice bath.
When cool, remove the pan from the ice bath and lift the foil edges up and out of the pan and place the foil on the cutting board. Cut the brownies into squares to serve.
Store in an airtight container. Because these are fudgy, they will taste delicious for at least 3 days, and if you're lucky, up to 5 days!
Step-by-Step in Pictures
Melt the chocolate and butter together in a saucepan...
Remove from the heat and stir in sugar, salt, and vanilla until sugar is dissolved...
Add the two eggs, one at a time...
Add matzah cake meal...
Stir just until combined...
Stir in the nuts, if using...
Spread evenly into the prepared pan...
Bake for about 15 minutes at 400 degrees F...
When done baking, immediately place in an ice bath to cool...
Cut into squares and enjoy!
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Happy Purim! Chag Purim Sameach! To be completely honest, I wasn't sure I'd even get around to making homemade hamentaschen this year. But there's something about this annual tradition that if missed, would make the holiday feel a little empty for me.
So I did it. But I didn't go back to one of the fantastic recipes I'd made in the past (here, here, and here). I wanted to use this once-a-year opportunity to choose a recipe from a different cookbook. So I sifted through my Jewish dessert cookbooks and decided on Gil Marks ' The World of Jewish Desserts. His dough was fantastic. Easy to work with, beautifully flecked with orange zest, and held its shape when baked.
I chose to make three fillings: apricot, chocolate, and poppy seed. But I did an interesting thing before I ended up with those filling choices. I posted an unofficial poll to my Facebook page. Apparently my friends have very strong, passionate feelings toward their hamentaschen fillings! 37 comments later, I had a fair amount of data. A couple of peculiar votes like pegasus meat, children's tears, and smaller hamentaschen (that is pure genius) made their way onto the list, but mostly it was your usual chocolate, fruit, and poppy seed filling votes.
Here's my Facebook post:
And here are the results, graphed, coming to you thanks to the Happy Go Marni Research Department:
Despite a lot of anti-poppy seed sentiment in this Facebook poll, it still ended up being the most popular filling! Apricot was extremely popular too, and without any real negative comments. Chocolate seemed like a no-brainer, but I was surprised it had so many fewer votes than poppy seed and apricot. What's wrong with you people! Why isn't chocolate number one? Ok actually, I love all three of the top winners, and those are the three I made! I think I'll save pegasus meat for another year. ;)
What's your favorite hamentaschen filling?
Adapted from a recipe by Gil Marks in The World of Jewish Desserts
Makes sixty 3-inch cookies
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/4 cup orange juice, milk, or water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract, or 1 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons grated lemon or orange zest (optional)
About 2 cups hamentaschen filling (the sky's the limits, as you can see from the Happy Go Marni poll above)
Golden Egg Wash (recipe below)
Coarse sugar for decorating, optional
Sift the dry ingredients together: the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a stand mixer, beat the butter or margarine until smooth, about 1 minute. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the liquid (orange juice, milk, or water), extract, and optional zest. On low speed, add in the flour just until combined. The dough will be soft, not too dense. Wrap in plastic and chill in the fridge until firm, about 2 hours. You can leave it overnight, too. When you're ready to shape the dough, remove from the fridge and let sit out a few minutes to become malleable (won't take very long because it's a soft dough).
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Divide the dough into thirds. Return the other two chunks to the fridge so they don't get too soft. With the remaining third, roll it out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured dough board or waxed paper to about 1/8 inch thick. If you prefer thicker dough, roll to about 3/8 inch thick. Using a 2 1/2 or 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut circles out of the dough. Save the scraps to roll out again and make more cookies.
Place 1 teaspoon of filling in the center of each round. Bring three corners of each round up toward the top, pinching two points together to form one corner, then continuing until you have three corners. I like to leave some of the filling exposed, not only because it's pretty to see some color peeking out, but because then you'll know which filling it has if you are making more than one filling! If when you pinch the edges together they don't stick well, rub a little cold water on the dough to act as glue. Place 1 inch apart on parchment or silicone baking mat-lined baking sheets.
Prepare Golden Egg Wash (see recipe below). Brush egg wash on all sides of each unbaked cookie with a pastry brush. Sprinkle with coarse sugar if you'd like.
Bake until golden, 15-20 minutes depending on your oven. I prefer my cookies a little chewy, so I err on the side of less baking time. Transfer to a rack to cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. The cookies will keep for about one week, or you can freeze them as soon as they've cooled and they'll be good for several months.
Golden Egg Wash
Recipe from my March 2010 hamentaschen post (Marcy Goldman's incredible recipe!)
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1-2 tablespoons milk or water
Pinch of sugar
In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients. Use a pastry brush to glaze or brush on prepared, unbaked hamentaschen.
Step-by-Step in Pictures
Beat butter or margarine until smooth...
Add sugar and beat until incorporated...
Add the eggs, one at a time...
Add the juice, vanilla, and zest...
Add the dry ingredients (which you had sifted together first)...
Beat just until incorporated...
Wrap the dough in plastic and chill in fridge...
Roll out the dough, a third at a time...
Cut 2 1/2 or 3-inch rounds in the dough...
Add a teaspoon of filling to the center of each round and fold up the sides to form a triangle...
Continue with the remaining two-thirds of the dough and any other fillings you want to try...
Brush with Golden Egg Wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar if you'd like...
Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, then let cool on a rack...