Rugelach for the Jewish New Year

It’s always nice to bring in Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) with something sweet. So what could be sweeter and more delicious than a homemade batch of Rugelach? These were always my favorite Jewish dessert when I was younger, probably second to rainbow cookies. I always used to pick off the sugared chocolate chips. I actually still do, but we’ll keep that a secret. But a chocolate cinnamon filling paired with my sweet creamy dough really hits the spot and even makes me want to eat the entire cookie, not just the chips!

Rugelach, which literally means “little twists” in Yiddish, has Jewish Ashkenazic (Polish) origins. In Europe the dough was made with yeast so that it would be pareve (no dairy ingredients), and so it could be eaten with or after a meat meal and still be kosher. American Jews later introduced a cream cheese based rugelach dough. Rugelach dough is traditionally rolled around sweet fillings such as chocolate, raisins and nuts, or preserves.

These Rugelach were actually very easy and fun to make. The one suggestion I have before making these is to refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours before baking so that the dough is easier to shape.

CHOCOLATE CHIP RUGELACH

Ingredients

DOUGH:

1 cup white flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup turbinado sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 sticks unsalted butter (softened)

8 oz fat free cream cheese (softened)

1 tsp vanilla

1 large egg yolks

FILLING:

3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

3/4 cup chopped pecans (toasted)

1/2 c turbinado sugar

1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

3 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup raisins (optional)

GLAZE:

1 egg yolk

1/4 cup sugar

1/8 cup water

1. Whisk the white flour, whole wheat flour, and the salt in one bowl.

2. Beat the softened butter and cream cheese until well blended (about 2-3 minutes) and then add the sugar.

3. Add the egg yolks and vanilla to the batter, incorporating the ingredients one at a time until blended.

4. Add the flour mixture to the batter in half cup increments and mix with a spoon until blended.

5. Knead the dough on a floured surface and then divide it into three disks. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least two hours.

6. While the dough refrigerates, combine the sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa powder in one bowl. In another bowl, combine the mini chocolate chips, chopped pecans, and raisins.

7. At this time you can also combine the egg yolk, sugar, and water for the glaze in a small bowl. You should keep this mixture refrigerated.

8. Once the dough is chilled preheat your oven to 350 degrees. You can now unwrap one disk and roll it out onto a flat surface between a sheet of wax paper (on the botton) and the plastic wrap on top. Roll the dough into a circle that is approximately 1/4 inch thick.

9. After the dough is rolled take 1/3 of the sugar mixture and spread it across the circle leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edge. Then take about 1/3 of the mini chocolate chip/chopped pecan/raisin mixture and spread it on top of the sugar mixture. Then put the plastic wrap you’d previously used over the circle and gently roll the toppings into the dough.

10. Once the toppings are somewhat set in the dough take off the plastic and divide the mixture with a pie cutter or pizza cutter into 12 triangular pieces.

11. The carefully take the wide side of the triangle and roll it up into the center of the circle. Use this technique to roll up the remaining pieces and then continue the process from the beginning with the other two disks.

12. You may want to refrigerate the first and second batch of disks while you finish rolling the remaining disks (prior to baking them).

13. Once all the Rugelach are rolled, you can brush the glaze you had made earlier on the tops. You may want to sprinkle some extra cinnamon or sugar on the tops before baking them.

14. You can now place the Rugelach on baking sheets lined with wax paper. The wax paper prevents the Rugelach from sticking to the sheet.

15. Bake the Rugelach for approximately 20-30 minutes until slightly golden on top. Cool the Rugelach on wire racks until room temperature and then serve! You should store in an air tight container for up to five days.

Rugelach for the Jewish New Year

It’s always nice to bring in Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) with something sweet. So what could be sweeter and more delicious than a homemade batch of Rugelach? These were always my favorite Jewish dessert when I was younger, probably second to rainbow cookies. I always used to pick off the sugared chocolate chips. I actually still do, but we’ll keep that a secret. But a chocolate cinnamon filling paired with my sweet creamy dough really hits the spot and even makes me want to eat the entire cookie, not just the chips!

Rugelach, which literally means “little twists” in Yiddish, has Jewish Ashkenazic (Polish) origins. In Europe the dough was made with yeast so that it would be pareve (no dairy ingredients), and so it could be eaten with or after a meat meal and still be kosher. American Jews later introduced a cream cheese based rugelach dough. Rugelach dough is traditionally rolled around sweet fillings such as chocolate, raisins and nuts, or preserves.

These Rugelach were actually very easy and fun to make. The one suggestion I have before making these is to refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours before baking so that the dough is easier to shape.

CHOCOLATE CHIP RUGELACH

Ingredients

DOUGH:

1 cup white flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup turbinado sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 sticks unsalted butter (softened)

8 oz fat free cream cheese (softened)

1 tsp vanilla

1 large egg yolks

FILLING:

3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

3/4 cup chopped pecans (toasted)

1/2 c turbinado sugar

1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

3 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup raisins (optional)

GLAZE:

1 egg yolk

1/4 cup sugar

1/8 cup water

1. Whisk the white flour, whole wheat flour, and the salt in one bowl.

2. Beat the softened butter and cream cheese until well blended (about 2-3 minutes) and then add the sugar.

3. Add the egg yolks and vanilla to the batter, incorporating the ingredients one at a time until blended.

4. Add the flour mixture to the batter in half cup increments and mix with a spoon until blended.

5. Knead the dough on a floured surface and then divide it into three disks. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least two hours.

6. While the dough refrigerates, combine the sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa powder in one bowl. In another bowl, combine the mini chocolate chips, chopped pecans, and raisins.

7. At this time you can also combine the egg yolk, sugar, and water for the glaze in a small bowl. You should keep this mixture refrigerated.

8. Once the dough is chilled preheat your oven to 350 degrees. You can now unwrap one disk and roll it out onto a flat surface between a sheet of wax paper (on the botton) and the plastic wrap on top. Roll the dough into a circle that is approximately 1/4 inch thick.

9. After the dough is rolled take 1/3 of the sugar mixture and spread it across the circle leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edge. Then take about 1/3 of the mini chocolate chip/chopped pecan/raisin mixture and spread it on top of the sugar mixture. Then put the plastic wrap you’d previously used over the circle and gently roll the toppings into the dough.

10. Once the toppings are somewhat set in the dough take off the plastic and divide the mixture with a pie cutter or pizza cutter into 12 triangular pieces.

11. The carefully take the wide side of the triangle and roll it up into the center of the circle. Use this technique to roll up the remaining pieces and then continue the process from the beginning with the other two disks.

12. You may want to refrigerate the first and second batch of disks while you finish rolling the remaining disks (prior to baking them).

13. Once all the Rugelach are rolled, you can brush the glaze you had made earlier on the tops. You may want to sprinkle some extra cinnamon or sugar on the tops before baking them.

14. You can now place the Rugelach on baking sheets lined with wax paper. The wax paper prevents the Rugelach from sticking to the sheet.

15. Bake the Rugelach for approximately 20-30 minutes until slightly golden on top. Cool the Rugelach on wire racks until room temperature and then serve! You should store in an air tight container for up to five days.

Healthy Quick Breads – Zucchini

Quick bread is a type of bread which is leavened with chemical leaveners such as baking powder, sodium bicarbonate, or cream of tartar. Unlike yeast breads which often take hours to rise and can vary greatly based on external factors such as temperature, breads made with chemical leaveners are relatively uniform, reliable, and quick. Many common foods are quick breads including banana bread, biscuits, muffins, pancakes, and scones.

Chemically leavened breads, such as quick breads were not developed until the end of the 18th century when pearlash was discovered. Pearlash is a refined form of potash, and it produces carbon dioxide gas in dough. Baking powder was not developed commercially until 1857.

Zucchini bread is a popular quick bread made with freshly grated zucchini, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, eggs, flour and spices. It is sometimes made with chocolate. It is known as a more nutritious alternative to sweeter quick breads. Zucchini is filled with vitamin C, manganese, and potassium and is actually considered to be a fruit.

Yesterday was my first time making zucchini bread and it was pretty easy. I based my recipe for healthy zucchini bread off a whole wheat zucchini bread recipe from allrecipes. I halved the recipe in size and also cut some calories. One of the commentators of this recipe had mentioned that the recipe, as prepared, was too sweet so I replaced half of the honey with applesauce. I must admit that my recipe did come out a tad dry but the balance of spices really complimented the rest of the ingredients. The next time I make this recipe I am going to try to moisten it up with milk, yogurt, mandarin oranges, or crushed pineapple. So stay tuned! Below you can check out some of the pictures from yesterday’s healthy zucchini bread.

Healthy Quick Breads – Zucchini

Quick bread is a type of bread which is leavened with chemical leaveners such as baking powder, sodium bicarbonate, or cream of tartar. Unlike yeast breads which often take hours to rise and can vary greatly based on external factors such as temperature, breads made with chemical leaveners are relatively uniform, reliable, and quick. Many common foods are quick breads including banana bread, biscuits, muffins, pancakes, and scones.

Chemically leavened breads, such as quick breads were not developed until the end of the 18th century when pearlash was discovered. Pearlash is a refined form of potash, and it produces carbon dioxide gas in dough. Baking powder was not developed commercially until 1857.

Zucchini bread is a popular quick bread made with freshly grated zucchini, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, eggs, flour and spices. It is sometimes made with chocolate. It is known as a more nutritious alternative to sweeter quick breads. Zucchini is filled with vitamin C, manganese, and potassium and is actually considered to be a fruit.

Yesterday was my first time making zucchini bread and it was pretty easy. I based my recipe for healthy zucchini bread off a whole wheat zucchini bread recipe from allrecipes. I halved the recipe in size and also cut some calories. One of the commentators of this recipe had mentioned that the recipe, as prepared, was too sweet so I replaced half of the honey with applesauce. I must admit that my recipe did come out a tad dry but the balance of spices really complimented the rest of the ingredients. The next time I make this recipe I am going to try to moisten it up with milk, yogurt, mandarin oranges, or crushed pineapple. So stay tuned! Below you can check out some of the pictures from yesterday’s healthy zucchini bread.

What is the difference between a tart and a pie?

Tarts and pies are quite similar. Though unlike a pie, tarts are served outside of the containers they were baked in. Tarts are usually baked in straight-sided rather than slope-sided pans, often with fluted edges . Before serving, tarts are separated from their baking pans, which are formed with removable bottoms so that the tarts hold together when they are removed (AS EASY AS PIE). Tarts usually hold the same fillings as pies such as fruit fillings but can also hold custards and are traditionally open faced.

Last night was my first time time baking tarts and I must admit, it was not an easy task. When making tarts, especially tarts of 3-4 inches, you must be very delicate with the dough. It is important not to overwork the dough in tarts, otherwise you will be left with a hard, non-flaky crust. Another key step to know in the preparation process is to cool the dough before molding it into the tart pans AND to freeze the dough for several minutes (until hardened) before baking. The dough needs to be chilled so that it holds together while baking and after it is removed from it’s pan. Pie and tart crust making certainly is an art but can be achieved through practice… a lot of practice!

Below are a few pictures of different tarts I made last night. Hopefully the recipients of these tarts will appreciate all my hard work! I made them as a birthday treat for two of my friends. The tarts consist of a fruit base (made by boiling down berries and turbinado sugar) and topped with additional marinated fruit. Hopefully they are as delicious as they sound. I’ll keep you posted!

MINI MIXED FRUIT TARTS

Ingredients

1 Hartley Confections Pie Crust (refrigerated for 30-45 minutes)

3 cups of your favorite seasonal fruit, diced

1/2 cup of diced strawberries and/or blueberries (or your fruit preserve of choice)

1 pt rasberries and or blackberries

1/3 cup of turbinado sugar

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Dice your fruit of choice and marinate with turbinado sugar to taste. The fruit may need to be separated depended on its natural sweetness (i.e. marinate strawberries and blueberries separately). Let the fruit sit for about 10 minutes so that some of the sugar can be absorbed.

3. Roll out refrigerated crust and cut out circles with a 3-4 inch biscuit cutter, depending on what size tart pan you are using. If you are using a 2.5 inch pan use a 3 inch biscuit cutter, and so on. Mold cut circles to tart pans and freeze until hardened.

4. While dough is in the freezer, mash your marinated raspberries and blackberries and place in a small pot over low heat. Boil the fruit (together or separately depending on taste) until most of the liquid has dissolved. The fruit mixture should look similar to preserves.

5. Let the fruit mixture cool until room temperature or cold. You may put your fruit mixture in the refrigerator or freezer to speed up the cooling process.

6. Once the mixture has cooled and the dough has hardened you may place enough fruit mixture (or preserves) to cover the bottom of your mini tart. Then you can place the diced fruit pieces on the fruit mixture. Feel free to mix and match the fruits as the flavors will meld together when baked.

7. Bake the tarts for approximately 10-20 minutes, depending on the size of your tart. When the crust is browned and hardened and the fruit has released its juices, the tart will be ready.

What is the difference between a tart and a pie?

Tarts and pies are quite similar. Though unlike a pie, tarts are served outside of the containers they were baked in. Tarts are usually baked in straight-sided rather than slope-sided pans, often with fluted edges . Before serving, tarts are separated from their baking pans, which are formed with removable bottoms so that the tarts hold together when they are removed (AS EASY AS PIE). Tarts usually hold the same fillings as pies such as fruit fillings but can also hold custards and are traditionally open faced.

Last night was my first time time baking tarts and I must admit, it was not an easy task. When making tarts, especially tarts of 3-4 inches, you must be very delicate with the dough. It is important not to overwork the dough in tarts, otherwise you will be left with a hard, non-flaky crust. Another key step to know in the preparation process is to cool the dough before molding it into the tart pans AND to freeze the dough for several minutes (until hardened) before baking. The dough needs to be chilled so that it holds together while baking and after it is removed from it’s pan. Pie and tart crust making certainly is an art but can be achieved through practice… a lot of practice!

Below are a few pictures of different tarts I made last night. Hopefully the recipients of these tarts will appreciate all my hard work! I made them as a birthday treat for two of my friends. The tarts consist of a fruit base (made by boiling down berries and turbinado sugar) and topped with additional marinated fruit. Hopefully they are as delicious as they sound. I’ll keep you posted!

MINI MIXED FRUIT TARTS

Ingredients

1 Hartley Confections Pie Crust (refrigerated for 30-45 minutes)

3 cups of your favorite seasonal fruit, diced

1/2 cup of diced strawberries and/or blueberries (or your fruit preserve of choice)

1 pt rasberries and or blackberries

1/3 cup of turbinado sugar

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Dice your fruit of choice and marinate with turbinado sugar to taste. The fruit may need to be separated depended on its natural sweetness (i.e. marinate strawberries and blueberries separately). Let the fruit sit for about 10 minutes so that some of the sugar can be absorbed.

3. Roll out refrigerated crust and cut out circles with a 3-4 inch biscuit cutter, depending on what size tart pan you are using. If you are using a 2.5 inch pan use a 3 inch biscuit cutter, and so on. Mold cut circles to tart pans and freeze until hardened.

4. While dough is in the freezer, mash your marinated raspberries and blackberries and place in a small pot over low heat. Boil the fruit (together or separately depending on taste) until most of the liquid has dissolved. The fruit mixture should look similar to preserves.

5. Let the fruit mixture cool until room temperature or cold. You may put your fruit mixture in the refrigerator or freezer to speed up the cooling process.

6. Once the mixture has cooled and the dough has hardened you may place enough fruit mixture (or preserves) to cover the bottom of your mini tart. Then you can place the diced fruit pieces on the fruit mixture. Feel free to mix and match the fruits as the flavors will meld together when baked.

7. Bake the tarts for approximately 10-20 minutes, depending on the size of your tart. When the crust is browned and hardened and the fruit has released its juices, the tart will be ready.

The Rustic Galette

Galette is a general term used in French to designate different types of round and flat crusty cakes. It’s also a great substitute for a pie when you are pressed for time or want to cut out some carbs. And MY galettes are a delicious and healthy alternative. I like to use whole wheat flour and bran for my crust and substitute raw Turbinado sugar instead of white sugar.

Turbinado sugar, also known as “sugar in the raw” is a steamed cane sugar which is similar in appearance to brown sugar though it is a bit paler. Turbinado sugar is a healthier alternative to white, refined sugar. It is lower in calories since it tends to hold more moisture. Turbinado sugar isn’t processed as much as white sugar, so it is naturally healthier for your body (www.associatedcontent.com). Turbinado sugar can be substituted for both white and brown sugar in most recipes.

But back to the galettes… My favorite galettes to bake are peach & strawberry. It’s great to use seasonal fruit as it is easy to find and fairly affordable. The best fruit in season right now and also great for galettes are peaches, strawberries, plums, nectarines, and rhubarb. These fruits are also great to mix and match as their flavors meld together after they are baked. Below you will find some pictures of the last galette I baked.

PEACH & STRAWBERRY GALETTE

Ingredients

1 Hartley Confections Pie Crust (refrigerated)

3 semi-firm peaches, sliced

1/2 cup of slices strawberries

1/3 cup of turbinado sugar

1 tbsp turbinado sugar

1 egg white

1 tbsp milk

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Slice peaches 1/2 inch thick and strawberries. Place sliced peaches and strawberries in large bowl and cover with sugar. Gently mix sugar and fruit with your hands so that the fruit is evenly covered with sugar. Let the fruit sit for about 10 minutes so that some of the sugar can be absorbed.

3. Remove refrigerated pie crust and roll it out into a ten inch circle. Gently place the peach slices 1 inch from the border of the pie crust. You should have enough peaches to make two circles. Please reference the photos for placement. Then place the leftover strawberries in the middle of the peaches.

4. Once fruit is in place, carefully begin folding over the outer edge of the crust piece by piece. The outer crust of the pie should have many folds giving it a “rustic” appearance.

5. Mix egg white with milk and brush the outer crust with the mixture. Then finish the galette by sprinkling 1 tbsp of turbinado sugar over the crust. You may also sprinkle the top of the fruit mixture.

6. Bake the galette in the center rack of the oven for 20-30 minutes until the crust is firm and slightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes an serve warm. You can also dust the top with confectioners sugar before serving.