Monday, February 23, 2015

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Puff Pastry Hamantaschen

If you read any Jewish food blogs these days, you're likely inundated with recipes for hamantaschen - the traditional three-cornered treat for the holiday of Purim. All sorts of fantastical fillings wrapped up in a cookie crust are on offer. But why just play with the filling? Who says the crust must be cookie dough? Nobody, that's who. So if you're in for an adventure and a twist on tradition, try these puff pastry hamantaschen - store-bought dough, delicious no-bake filling, pure bliss. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Gooey Crispy Chocolate Braid

People often ask me why I bake more than I cook. (Though volume-wise, that might not be true, I do have more of an excitement for the pastry arts). There are many reasons, but part of it is the element of aesthetics: Though savory food can be beautiful, there's something about desserts and pastries and all things baking that has even more visual appeal. The oohs and aahs over something that looks like it took hours are always fun sounds to hear. So this recipe - that looks super fancy but is really effortless and simple - is the perfect one to keep in your back pocket. And with Valentine's Day coming up, another chocolate recipe is never a bad idea. 

I take the cheater's way out with store-bought puff pastry, which makes things really quick and easy. Just make sure to defrost your puff pastry well in advance - stick it in the fridge the night before you want to use it, or leave it for several hours on the counter. Don't be like me, and end up aiming a hair dryer at the still-frozen log as time slips away!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Peanut Butter Brownie Pie

There's something about the cold winter months that encourages the deepest indulgences. Ones you may regret come summer, but ones that make frigid weather and snowy streets slightly more bearable. The most indulgent, of course, is chocolate, and this gooey chocolate brownie pie, topped with a peanut butter swirl, might take the prize for extravagance. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Brownie Dreidels for Hanukkah!

Are you up for a rousing game of dreidel? How about of brownie dreidel? With just one sheet pan of brownies you can make dozens of these adorable 3D spinning tops to celebrate Hanukkah (or Hanukka, Chanukah, Chanuka or however you spell it). 

The idea is fairly simple - a brownie square with the ends trimmed off, a pretzel stick handle and some icing letters. For the most sophisticated look, you can dip all the dreidels completely in chocolate before pipping on the letters, or just coat one side, or leave the brownies au naturel.

You can use any brownie recipe you like, including a box mix, but I chose this particular recipe because it is fudgy and dense and sturdy enough to stand up to the dipping and pretzel handle. It is also delicious.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Mini Pumpkin Pie Cookies

This place sure looks familiar. I'm back - and I've brought with me the perfect dessert for your Thanksgiving table - or pretty much any of the other 364 days of the year. I present: mini pumpkin pie cookies. A crisp cookie shell, sweet pumpkin filling, and crumbly streusel topping in an adorable bite-sized container will be a welcome addition to any meal, snack or... breakfast. 
I used a mini-muffin pan for these to keep them in the tiny size I wanted, but if you wanted larger ones - and to save a little time - you could certainly use a muffin tin or other tart pans. I know there are a few different components to this recipe, but - like I did - you can make the dough and the topping a day or two before and store in the fridge - and the filling takes about two minutes to mix together.

Because they're so tiny you don't need all that much of the pumpkin puree - if you buy a can you'll likely have 2/3 of it leftover. What to do with that? How about pumpkin whoopie pies, pumpkin pie bars or pumpkin snickerdoodles?
I know I've been a bit absent around here lately, but I'm still pretty present around other corners of the world wide web: find me on Twitter or Instagram, and you can find my recipes over on the New York Jewish Week website; recent entries include a mushroom-leek phyllo tart, a feta-sweet potato flatbread and salted chocolate-drizzled popcorn.