Hamantashen Ice Cream Sandwich… It’s A MATCH!


Hamantashen + Ice Cream = The most delicious Hamantashen Ice Cream Sandwich… IT’S A MATCH! Everyone calm down, I’m not a real matchmaker; I’m more of a food matchmaker. I guess I could start with a corny joke like a hamantashen and a scoop of ice cream walk into a bar, yada – yada – yada… ba dum bump! But I can feel my family start to twinge, so I’ll put my comedic career on hold for a little while.

Yes, you heard me right and oh yes I did put ice cream in the middle of my hamantashen! I hear you all out there judging me, with your “Oh no you didn’t.” But, oh YES I did. I know hamantashen can be a rich cookie with it’s pie filling, and chocolate but when you stop and think about it for a minute, it really sounds good doesn’t it? We put ice cream on pie. Isn’t hamantashen just a triangular little pie? Plus, didn’t 2016 bring us the babka ice cream sandwich from Russ and Daughters? And, what about the black and white cookie ice cream sandwich I recently saw on Instagram? If you ask me, hamantashen was just waiting for its turn to be asked to the dance. Hamantashen and ice cream, let’s tango!

So how did I decide to make an ice cream sandwich using hamantashen? This happy union came about after trying a new hamantashen recipe this year. On Tuesday, the hamantashen softened up a bit because of the cherry pie filling. When I ate one, something just screamed out “HEY, HOW ABOUT A LITTLE ICE CREAM WITH THAT?” See what I did there with the caps? Obviously the trick is to have the right dough and filling for it. If you read yesterday’s post, you know I have tried quite a few different recipes in my time so you can trust me on this. For example, I make a cream cheese dough which tastes similar to rugalach, ice cream would not be a good match for that.

This recipe is adapted from the 2nd Avenue Deli Cookbook. It’s a hamantashen that definitely stands alone. When it is first baked, it is crisp on the outside and tender on the inside and is absolutely delicious. On the second day, when it softened a bit, the addition of ice cream put it over the edge. Plus, I don’t know about you  but I absolutely love anything with almonds in it, and this has a double dose. I hope you will try this with your favorite ice cream and let me know what you think!  Happy Purim everyone! Enjoy!
The recipe makes 4 dozen cookies using a 3” round cookie cutter, or 24 ice cream sandwiches

Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup finely ground almond flour* (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
3 extra large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 stick softened unsalted butter (or margarine)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
sanding sugar
egg wash**
Cherry pie filling (or other pie filling of your choice)

Good quality ice cream
Sliced almonds (I used honey toasted almonds from Trader Joes)
Chocolate or caramel sauce (optional)
Whipped cream (optional)

Directions
In a large blow, sift flour, baking powder and salt. Add the almond flour and mix well then set aside.

In another large bowl, cream sugar and butter with mixer until blended. Add eggs, vanilla, and almond extract and mix well. Add the almond and flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix just until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides. If the dough is sticky, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough until it no longer sticks to your fingers. I did not do this step; I found the dough fine and then wrapped it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge overnight. The original recipe says you can bake it without refrigerating first.

When you are ready to bake, position the racks to the upper and lower 1/3 of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Roll the dough to a thickness of about 3/16”. My trick is to use paint sticks you get at the hardware store. I cover them with plastic wrap and use them as guides. I like that better than the rings you can put on your rolling pin. Using a 3” round cookie cutter, cut circles of dough and place them on the cookie sheets.

When all of the dough has been cut place about 1 ½ teaspoon of filling in the center of the circle. Brush the perimeter with the egg wash or a little water. Now you can either use the pinch method as I do and pinch 3 corners together, or use the folding method where you flap one side, then the next two till you form a triangle.

Brush the tops of the cookies with the egg wash. I sprinkled mine with some sanding sugar for that extra sparkle and crunch. Bake the hamantashen for 18 to 20 minutes (checking after 15) or until the cookies are golden brown. To ensure even browning, rotate the pans top to bottom and front to back. When done, remove from the oven and let them rest for 2 to 3 minutes on the cookie sheet then remove to a wire rack.

Now to make the match… Place one hamantashen bottom side down, add a scoop of ice cream of your choice, top with another hamantashen top side up so you can see the beautiful topping and eat it carefully. Of course you can place it bottom side up as well – make it your own. It’s so yummy it won’t last long! If you want to plate it, dress up the plate with some chocolate sauce, maybe some whipped cream, and almonds. However you choose to eat it, it’s a match made in heaven!

* I used Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour which I found in my local grocery. King Arthur makes a great one as well which you can purchase online. You can also make almond flour in a food processor, here is a how to link.

**For the egg wash I use the whole egg and put in a pinch of salt, a pinch of sugar, and a splash of water.

It was Almost like a Hamantashen Throw Down!


It was almost like a hamantashen throw down at my house on Monday, the only difference is there was no winner – just a really good time. Every year for the past few years, my friend Marcy and I get together to bake hamantashen for Purim. Hamantashen are the triangular cookies we eat during the holiday. Purim is a fun Jewish holiday which includes dressing up in costume, carnivals and drinking quite a bit! FYI, the drinking is so we can no longer tell the difference between good and evil – not such a bad thing once a year! As with all Jewish holidays, there is a retelling of the story of why we are celebrating and we always have very traditional and symbolic foods we eat. For Purim, hamantashen play a staring role. Let me set the scene… 6 different fillings on the counter, 5 dough recipes all chilled overnight and wrapped tight in plastic wrap, 4 fun hours of baking, 3 too many hamantashen eaten which gave me a bellyache, 2 friends happily talking the morning away, and finally 1 house that smelled absolutely delicious – and still does! Did I forget to mention approximately 200 hamantashen were made?

Mine were baked, packed up and shipped out yesterday or handed out to local friends. Hers were frozen and will be baked today then brought to Connecticut for some very lucky people! Among the varieties: a cream cheese dough reminiscent of rugalach, a traditional dough, a secret recipe dough, a chocolate dough, and finally a new one I tried from the 2nd Avenue Deli Cookbook which calls for almond flour. I almost said my new favorite but then deleted it. Like my mother always said “I have ten fingers and I love them all the same – don’t ask me to choose!” That is how I feel about most hamantashen recipes I’ve made.
I’m not sure if I ever mentioned this before or not, but mother had some kind of obsession with hamantashen recipes. Not necessarily baking them – collecting them! For whatever reason, she included about 3 of them in the little 15 page handwritten cookbook she made for me when I got married. The crazy thing is while she was an avid baker, I don’t remember her ever baking hamantashen when I was growing up except for the time with the sisterhood from our Temple. So it was very surprising she added so many into my book. This being said, I guess it should be no surprise I have inherited her obsession. I never really thought of it like that, but clearly after reading my own words, what else would you call it? The only difference is I don’t write about them and collect them, I actually bake them!

Today I’m sharing Carole Walter’s recipe which my friend Marcy brought with her. Oddly enough is extremely similar to my mother’s except my mom used shortening (which is exactly why I know she never made them – she never used shortening!) and she always baked with jumbo eggs. Carole uses butter in her recipe and large eggs. The preparation is a little different as well. Sorry mom, but Carole is the winner in this throw down not only because I’m not a fan of shortening – because I don’t think my mom ever made them! However, I do think my mom would approve and besides, there is always room for one more hamantashen in your life – and in my mother’s case, one more recipe to add to the list! I hope you try this recipe which is adapted from Carole Walter’s cookbook simply called Great Cookies! The name says it all, they are great cookies and very delicious, with a nice bit of crunch on the outside and soft on the inside. Whatever filling you choose… Enjoy!

Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt (I would add one tsp. like my mom next time)
1 cup (1 ½ sticks) cold unsalted butter or margarine cut into cubes
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
sanding sugar (optional)
Egg wash*
Fillings of your choice (I used cherry pie filling, lemon curd, and poppy seed)

This recipe makes 40 – 2” cookies


Dough

Place the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse two or three times to combine. Add the butter and pulse five times then process 5 seconds to form meal like crumbs.

Place the eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla in a small bowl and mix with a fork to combine. Pour the mixture into the processor and pulse four or five times, then process until the dough begins to clump together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and with floured hands, form into two disks, wrap with plastic, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 3 days. (This dough may be frozen for up to 4 months)

When you are ready to bake, position the racks to the upper and lower 1/3 of the oven. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Roll the dough to a thickness of about 3/16”. My trick is to use paint sticks you get at the hardware store. I cover them with plastic wrap and use them as guides. I like that better than the rings you can put on your rolling pin. Using a 3” round cookie cutter, cut circles of dough and place them on the cookie sheets.

When all of the dough has been cut place about 1 ½ teaspoon of filling in the center of the circle. Brush the perimeter with the egg wash or a little water. To fold or to pinch? That is the question! Now you can either use the pinch method as I do and pinch 3 corners together, or use the folding method where you flap one side, then the next two till you form a triangle.


Brush the tops of the cookies with the egg wash. I sprinkled mine with some sanding sugar for that extra sparkle and crunch. Bake the hamantashen for 15 to 18 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown. To ensure even browning, rotate the pans top to bottom and front to back. When done, remove from the oven and let them rest for 2 to 3 minutes on the cookie sheet then remove to a wire rack.

Store in an airtight container with wax paper between layers for up to 3 days. These cookies may be frozen.

*When I make an egg wash I use the whole egg and put in a pinch of salt, a pinch of sugar, and a splash of water. Carole uses egg whites only. Either will work fine.

Couldn’t we all use some World Peace Cookies this Valentine’s Day?


Couldn’t we all use some World Peace Cookies this Valentine’s Day?

Every year I time things perfectly for Valentine’s Day. I make my famous sugar cookie dough, plan when I’ll be baking, spend the day baking and decorating the cookies and organize all of the packaging material ahead of time. Then I rush excitedly to the post office with more than a dozen boxes in tow all strapped to a luggage cart. Most of them for family and friends and usually a few extra for orders I get every year.

This year, things just didn’t come together for me. I didn’t have a plan. I never made the dough. The few orders I usually get fell though for various reasons. I had no packing material and on Friday night I tried to convince myself that it’s okay to skip a year. Then the guilt set in (Jewish mother’s guilt that is!). My boys are in college, how could I not send them cookies? So while watching a late night movie, I turned to my husband and said “okay, I’ll just make my mother’s thumb cookies and get them in the mail tomorrow.” They are the easiest cookie and they have a Hershey Kiss on top! What says I love you more than that? From a cookie perspective that is!

Now it’s Saturday. I wake up early and get caught up in a rerun of The Mary Tyler Moore Show (may her memory be a blessing). I laugh hysterically at the zaniness of the show (it was the Chuckles the Clown episode and if you have never seen it, you must). At 9:30am I decide I had better start baking knowing the post office closes at 2. As I head down the steps I’m now thinking if I end up with extra, I’ll put a few in a package for my niece and nephew; I always send them cookies too. But, are the thumb cookies enough? Amanda really loves chocolate… maybe I should make chocolate cookies also. I don’t know why I’m thinking this, but I am. I run upstairs and try to find a recipe I have for an easy cut out cookie. At this point, I still think I have time to make the batter, refrigerate the dough, roll them out, frost and decorate, pack them up, then pop them in the mail – all by 2pm. In the meantime, I put a pot of eggs on the stove to boil which are needed to make the thumb cookies.

Finally I start the cookies. I measure and sift the dry ingredients then I notice the recipe says must refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Somehow, I missed that part or maybe I thought by some magic I could still get all of this done. Most people might just scrap the whole thing, but not me! I grab Dorie Greenspan’s book Dorie’s Cookies and attempt to make her World Peace Cookies. It looks really easy, it’s a slice and bake and I can easily alter the ingredients I have already measured so it’s a perfect fit. I know what you are thinking, and yes, of course I know slice and bake cookies also need to be refrigerated! The recipe says it only needs a couple of hours in the freezer so I keep going.

The flour and cocoa needed for the 1st recipe was almost double that of Dories. I just had to add more cocoa powder to compensate for the world peace cookies. I cream the butter and then add the dry ingredients to the wet and think wow, this is so dry and crumbly – which she mentions in her recipe it might be. I look over the recipe again and now realize, I didn’t double the butter, or the sugar, or the vanilla!


New plan… I put everything away and Sunday I happily baked cookies, decorated cookies and packaged them to mail first thing Monday morning. If the cookies make it by today, what a surprise! If they make it by Wednesday then that will be perfect, I think you guys know where I stand on greeting card holidays! So here they are, some of the most delicious chocolate cookies I have ever tasted (and pretty indestructible if you don’t mind me saying!). They are a little soft with a nice chew, terrific texture and full of chocolate chips throughout! World peace cookies for everyone…  and Happy Valentine’s Day if you celebrate. For me, this is just another excuse to enjoy something chocolate! Enjoy!

Recipe is adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s book Dorie’s Cookies which is a fantastic book for anyone who likes to bake

Ingredients
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s cocoa powder)
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 stick plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used Trader Joe’s semisweet chocolate chunks – already chopped)

Makes about 32 cookies

Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together and set aside.

I used a hand mixer and a large bowl to cream the butter and both sugars together on medium speed until soft, creamy and homogeneous, about 3 minutes.  You can also use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Beat in the salt and vanilla. Turn off the mixer; add all the dry ingredients and pulse a few times to start blending. Mix on low and beat until the dough forms big, moist curds. Toss in the chocolate pieces and mix to incorporate. The original recipe claims the dough is unpredictable. Sometimes it’s crumbly; sometimes it comes together and cleans the sides of the bowl. Lucky for me!

Turn the dough out onto a work surface and gather it together, kneading it if necessary to bring it together. Divide it in half and shape the dough into logs that are 1 ½ inches in diameter. Don’t worry about the length – get the diameter right and the length with follow. Mine came out to about 9” long. Wrap them tight in wax paper or plastic wrap and freeze them for at least 2 hours, or refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

When you are ready to bake, place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Working with one log at a time, and using a long, sharp knife, slice the dough into ½ inch thick rounds. I found it was much too difficult straight from the fridge so I left mine out for about 15 minutes. When I sliced them, they tended to crumble; Dorie says to just push them back together onto each cookie. It worked like a charm!

Bake the cookies for 12 minutes – don’t open the oven. When the timer rings, they won’t look done, nor will they be firm. That’s just the way they should be. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack and let the cookies rest until they are just warm, at which point you can munch on them or let them reach room temperature. They are amazingly delicious as is. The texture is just perfect, a little chewy and densely chocolate! I decided to frost a few of the ones that did not come out as nicely and sprinkled them with Valentine decorations. World Peace out!

Jarred’s Holiday “Layered” Apple Cake… Best wishes for a New Year filled with all of the ingredients for good health, happiness, and peace

SONY DSCThis post was originally titled Jarred’s Holiday “Layered” Apple Cake.

I find the need to repost this recipe every year as is it is a timeless classic. It is exactly similar to so many out there who claim theirs is the best (of course, mine is!). Whether it’s my mom’s apple cake, grandma’s delicious apple cake, a clipping from a magazine or old newspaper, one from your favorite cookbook or blog, or Marcy Goldman’s everybody’s Jewish apple cake, it makes no difference – they are all delicious, and pretty much the same. So whichever recipe you use, I hope the scent of apples fill your home with the sweet aroma of the New Year ahead! Oh, and of course you should use my recipe, it’s the best one! Enjoy!

Now for the repost… In the Fall, I always find myself with a plethora of apples. If you’ve been following my blog, you know I’ve already gone apple picking twice – yielding almost 50 pounds of apples! At this time of year I find myself adding apples to almost everything that I bake. There are apple pancakes, my mother’s applesauce, apple pies, crumbles and crisps, and my baked apple doughnuts, among the top contenders. However, if you’re looking for something very special and easy – it’s apple cake.

“Jarred’s Holiday Apple Cake” has been in my recipe binder for the past 18 years. I know the exact amount of time because it was 18 years ago when I sent out holiday cards to family and friends with a personalized recipe inside the card. It’s not an old family recipe that was handed down to me, it was personalized and printed by the card company and titled “Jarred’s Holiday “Layered Apple Cake” after my then one year old son. Oddly, in all of those 18 years, I never made the cake!

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I figured it was something made up for show by the card company. Last year, my sister-in-law Barbara was telling me about the delicious apple cake she made and how easy it was. I asked her for the recipe and she  laughed and said, it’s Jarred’s apple cake. I was very confused. Had my son become a baker and I didn’t know it?

Apparently, she had been using the recipe from the card for a while and loved it! So I guess it really worked after all! She said it also freezes great if you want to make it ahead of time. I don’t think it would make it to the freezer in my house, but it’s good to know! This year I made it, and she was right; it’s terrific and super easy! So here it is, straight from the card which reads… Best wishes for a New Year filled with all of the ingredients for good health, happiness, and peace. Enjoy!

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For the smaller versions, I used 6 one pound aluminum loaf pans. These are nice to give as gifts, or to freeze for a later date.

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These could not be cuter! When using the smaller loaf pans, I only made one layer of apples in the center.

Ingredients:
2 cups sugar (I cut it down to 1  1/2 cups)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup vegetable oil (I use sunflower oil)
4 eggs
1/4 cup orange juice (or pineapple juice, which I prefer)
2  1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Now for the apples:
4 to 6 apples* peeled and sliced (yield about 6 to 7 cups)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
5 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 10″ tube pan** and set aside. I sprayed the pan generously with canola oil but you can use butter if you are not keeping it dairy free.

In a small dish, mix 5 teaspoons of sugar with the 2 teaspoons of cinnamon together and set aside. This will be used in the layers over the apples.

Peel and slice the apples, mix with lemon juice to keep the apples white and set aside. I use an apple slicer that cores, peels and spirals the apple into rings then chop it from there. I reserved one apple to decorate the top.

Beat together until smooth the sugar, oil, eggs, orange juice and vanilla. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix together just until incorporated.

In the tube pan, pour a layer of batter, then place a layer of apples, and sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Repeat layering pattern until all of the batter and apples are used. I ended up with 2 layers of apples and 3 layers of batter. Try to keep the apples in the center of the pan, so they don’t stick to the sides. The original recipe says to top with sugar and cinnamon mixture which is what I did for my smaller cakes. The big cake I topped it with rings of apples and sprinkled it with about 1 to 2 tablespoons of plain white sugar. You can do it either way – both delicious and pretty.

Bake at 350 degrees for 1 1/4 hours to 1 1/2 hours or until a cake tester comes out clean.  I like to check it every 30 minutes and turn it 1/2 way through the baking time.

*I used a combination of granny smith, jonathan and golden delicious because that is what I had on hand. Any good baking apple of your choice will work very well in this recipe.

**This recipe will also make 6 miniature loaf pans (1 pound size) or 3 regular size loaf pans (2 pound size). I only made one layer of apples in these versions and they bake in about 40 to 55 minutes.

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Is it Possible I Own Over 100 Cookbooks?

Is it possible I own over 100 cookbooks? Apparently it is, and I can’t believe I put it out there for everyone to read! Before I sat down to write today, I didn’t know what I wanted to talk about; I just knew I wanted to start a dialog about cookbooks. But what do I want to talk about? Do I want to tell you about my favorites. Do I want to share how and why I got the books I did. Do I want to share a recipe from one of them. Should I be like Julie Powell from the famed Julie and Julia Blog and cook my through one of my books? Where do I begin? Maybe I should start by explaining how my cookbooks multiplied like rabbits!

At some point when I moved to NYC, I became a cookbook collector. Maybe it was all the hours I spent at the Strand Book Store http://www.strandbooks.com/ at the corner of 12th and Broadway. With an iced coffee in hand I could easily spend the day leafing through the art and design books, poetry books, and biography’s, but somehow I always ended up by the cookbook section. My collection grew as the years went by. When I got married, my mother gave me 3 cookbooks plus one she had handwritten just for me with some of her famed recipes. That little cookbook she gave me was the start of something really great.

Over the years, many became gifts from family and friends. My husband was a business consultant and wherever he traveled, he came home with a cookbook. Still not sure what I’m going to do with that Mormon Cookbook from Utah! There was also the cookbook of the month club I joined and a new one would show up every month. Then I found Kitchen Arts and Letters http://kitchenartsandletters.com/bookstore/ a bookstore which sells only cookbooks! Can you hear the ethereal music playing in the background? I can! Lucky for me, Columbus has it’s own special book store called The Book Loft http://www.bookloft.com/  It has 32 rooms of books, three of them containing cookbooks!

Over the years I realized I enjoy reading cookbooks the same way other people read novels. Right now the books on my nightstand are Modern Jewish Cooking by Leah Koenig, Cookie Love by Mindy Segal, Martha Stewart’s Appetizers and Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui by Karen Kingston. Since I counted over 100 cookbooks on my bookcase, that Feng Shui book is looking like a must read and will remain on the top of the stack!

Do I have a favorite? Well I’ll have to channel my mother here and say no, I have 10 fingers and I love them all the same! The same can be said for my collection. They each have a reason for taking their place on my shelf. Whether it’s the style of cooking, a chef I like, history, a particular region, or technique; they all have a place in my heart. I do have a soft spot for any cookbook with beautiful photography. Some are so stunning, they warrant a special place on my coffee table! I treasure the ones I have from my mother and mother-in-law with their handwritten notes and newspaper clippings of recipes used as place markers. Both great cooks and bakers who never needed a cookbook but, like me, enjoyed reading them cover to cover like a novel.

This past winter, I signed up to be part of a cookbook swap. I guess I thought I needed yet another cookbook! It was so much fun to get a cookbook in the mail and if you’re keeping track, this book makes the count 101!  I’ll share more about the swap in another post. In the meantime…

Tell me about your favorite cookbooks so we can start our own cookbook of the month club! We can call it What are you “Reating” unless you think that’s way too corny! I think it could be fun to find out what cookbooks you, my fabulous readers are using. Until then, happy cooking… and sweet baking.