Archive for the ‘baking recipes’ Category

devil’s food cake verrine

02 Sep

Chocolate talks to me.  Dessert talks to me.  This is an unforgettable dessert I served at one of my simchas.   A Verrine is layers of different textured foods in a glass (sweet or savory).  This is the ultimate chocolate dessert – basically a deconstructed take on a devil’s food cake including four components: a dense chocolate cake, creamy chocolate mousse, a rich chocolate sauce and a crunchy, salty cocoa nib streusel.  If you are short on time (who isn’t?), you can use any devil’s food cake mix for this recipe.

This recipe is from Elizabeth FalknerC from Fine Cooking magazine.

Serves twelve.

For the Cake:
  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup) unsalted butter or margarine; more for the pan
  • 3-1/2 oz. (1 cup) cake flour (if you don’t have, use 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons flour)
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 2 oz. (2/3 cup) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 1/2 cup hot freshly brewed coffee
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (use 1 Tbsp lemon juice and add soy or parve milk to make 1/2 cup)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
For the Mousse:
  • 3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 oz. milk chocolate, coarsely chopped (if making parve use all bittersweet chocolate)
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 Tbs. honey or light corn syrup
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream or parve equivalent
For the Streusel:
  • 6 oz. (3/4 cup) unsalted butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 5 oz. (1 cup plus 2 Tbs.) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 oz. (3/4 cup) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1-1/2 oz. cocoa nibs (about 1/3 cup) (I haven’t been able to find this in my area. You can omit if this is the case.)
  • 3/4 tsp. fine sea salt
For the Sauce:
  • 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream or parve equivalent
  • 2 Tbs.  light corn syrup
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs. dark rum (not extract)
Make the Cake

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F. Butter an 8x8x2-inch square cake pan, line the bottom with parchment, and butter the parchment.

Sift the cake flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt onto a piece of parchment. In a small saucepan, combine the butter and the coffee over medium heat to melt the butter. Transfer to a medium bowl. Whisk in the buttermilk, egg, and yolk and then the flour mixture until incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Invert onto the rack, remove the parchment, and cool completely.  (Cake may be frozen for later use.)

Make the Mousse

Melt the bittersweet and milk chocolates in a medium heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Set aside.

In another medium bowl, whisk the yolks and the syrup over the water bath just until warm. Remove from the heat and whisk briefly to cool.

With an electric hand mixer on medium speed, whip the egg whites in a medium bowl until stiff peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes.

With the mixer on medium-high speed, whip the cream in another medium bowl until soft peaks form.

Whisk the yolk mixture into the melted chocolate. Whisk in a spoonful of the whipped cream. With a rubber spatula fold in the remaining whipped cream and then the egg whites. Refrigerate. (The mousse can be made up to 4 hours ahead.)

Make the Streusel

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla.

In a medium bowl, stir the flour and cocoa powder. With the mixer running on low speed, add the flour mixture in three increments, including the cocoa nibs and salt with the final addition. Mix until the dough comes together. (The dough can be refrigerated for a week or frozen for up to 2 months.)

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment and press the dough into the pan in a 1/4-inch-thick layer.

Bake at 325°F for 8 minutes and then rake with a fork to break into medium clumps. Bake for 7 minutes more and rake again to create small pieces. The streusel will look sandy and will crisp as it cools. (The streusel can be made 1 day ahead or frozen for longer.  Use extra streusel over ice cream.)

Make the Sauce

Put the chocolate in a medium bowl. Put the cream, syrup, salt, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat, pour over the chocolate, and stir to melt.


Divide the warm chocolate sauce among twelve 8-oz. glasses. Cut the cake into 1-inch cubes and put 4 in each glass. Drizzle 1/2 tsp. of the rum on the cake cubes. Scoop a spoonful or a quenelle (oval shaped scoop) of mousse into each glass. Sprinkle about 2 Tbs. of streusel on top of the mousse, and serve.

Make Ahead Tips

The cake can be baked 1 day ahead. The streusel dough can be refrigerated for a week, and baked up to 1 day ahead. The mousse can be made up to 4 hours ahead.

Photo: Scott Phillips


choc full of goodies; health-food cookies

30 May


While on a mission to bake some filling and healthy snacks for my 12 year old son to take to school, I’ve made an awesome discovery.  You see, I got distracted while making these cookies and it wasn’t until they were baked that I realized that I had left out the sugar – with delicious results.  These cookies are so full of everything good, that the omission of sugar turned it into a salty, savory confection instead of a sweet one.  The recipe is from Maida Heatter’s Book of Great Desserts, where she writes that she made these cookies for a health-food store in Miami Beach until the demand become more than she could handle.  I will give you the recipe as it was originally written.


  • 1 cup unsifted all-purpose whole-wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
  • 7 1/2 ounces (1 1/2 cups) currants or (soft) raisins (I used chocolate chips instead)
  • 4 ounces (1 generous cup) walnuts, coarsely broken or cut
  • 4 ounces (1 generous cup) pecans, coarsely broken or cut
  • 3 ounces (1/2 generous cup) pignolias (pine nuts)
  • 4 ounces (1 cup) peanuts, may be salted or not
  • 2 1/2 ounces (1/2 cup) sunflower seeds
  • 2 1/2 ounces (1/2 cup) sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ
  • 1 cup rolled oats or quick-cooking (not instant) oatmeal
  • 1/2 lb (1 cup) butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
  • 1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk


  1. Adjust rack to top position in the oven.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Cut aluminum foil to fit cookies sheets.  Do not grease.
  2. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger and use a strainer to strain into a very large bowl.  Add the raisins, and toss till they are coated with flour.  Add the walnuts, pecans, pignolias, peanuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, wheat germ and rolled oats or oatmeal.  Mix together and set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and peanut butter.  Add the sugar and beat well.  Beat in the eggs and the milk, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula as necessary.
  4. Pour over the flour-nut mixture.  Stir with a heavy wooden spoon or spatula or mix with your hand, until the dry ingredients are completely absorbed.
  5. Make these large.  Place by 1/4 cupfuls 2 1/2- 3 inches apart on the foil.  With the back of a spoon, flatten the cookies to about 3/4 inch thickness.
  6. Bake 18 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned and semi-firm to the touch.  If necessary, reverse position of cookie sheet during baking to insure even browning.
  7. Use a wide metal spatula to transfer cookies to racks to cool.

photo credit:


    cookie dough cheesecake

    28 Apr

    Some words just make your mouth water – and cookie dough is one of them!  This cake won first prize in a contest years ago and with good reason!  I already decided that this will be the cheesecake I serve my guests this Shavuos.  Well, maybe one of the cheesecakes….  You see, my friends Shirley and Chaim Cohen eat by us the first night of Shavuos each year.   Every year when I invite Shirley, I tell her that I don’t know if and what we’ll eat because I don’t know when I’ll have time to cook, and she always answers me with a laugh “that’s OK, we’ll have 4 courses of cheesecake!”  And she’s not joking – it’s my family that would have an issue with that…..

     Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake


    • 1-3/4 cups crushed chocolate chip cookies or chocolate wafer crumbs
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/3 cup butter, melted
    • FILLING:
    • 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 3 eggs, lightly beaten


    • 1/4 cup butter, softened
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon water
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1-1/2 cups miniature semisweet chocolate chips, divided


    • In a small bowl, combine cookie crumbs and sugar; stir in butter.
    • Press onto the bottom and 1 in up the sides of a greased 9-in. pan.  Place pan on a baking sheet; set aside.
    • In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Beat in sour cream and vanilla.  Add eggs; beat on low speed just until combined.  Pour over crust; set aside.
    • In another bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.   Add water and vanilla.  Gradually add flour and mix well.  Stir in 1 cup chocolate chips.
    • Drop dough by teaspoonfuls over filling, gently pushing dough below surface (dough should be completely covered by filling). Place pan on a baking sheet.
    • Bake at 350° for 45-55 minutes or until center is almost set.
    • Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer.  Refrigerate overnight.
    • Remove sides of pan. Sprinkle with remaining chips. Refrigerate leftovers.


    • Yield: 12-16 servings.
    Nutrition Facts: (do you really want to know??) 1 slice equals 551 calories, 36 g fat (22 g saturated fat), 131 mg cholesterol, 328 mg sodium, 52 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 8 g protein.
    recipe credit: Taste of Home
    photo credit: Taste of Home


    pecan cheesecake pie

    28 Apr

    Pecan pie and cheesecake all in one bite! Who could resist this?  I got this recipe from Devorah Newhaus many years ago, but like everything else, I found it on the internet with a picture!Pecan Cheesecake Pie



    • 1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust
    • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
    • 1 large egg
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1/4 tsp. salt


    • 1 ¼ cups chopped pecans


    • 3 large eggs
    • 1 cup light corn syrup
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1/4 cup sugar



    1. Preheat oven to 350.
    2. Combine the cream cheese, 1 egg, ½ cup sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla, and salt. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.
    3. Pour the cream cheese mixture into piecrust.
    4. Next, chop the pecans (not too fine) and sprinkle them evenly over the cream cheese layer.
    5. In a medium bowl, combine the 1/4 cup sugar, corn syrup, 3 eggs and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.
    6. Whisk everything together until it’s well combined and pour the mixture over the pecans. Place the pie on a baking sheet.
    7. Bake at 350 on the lowest oven rack for 50 to 55 minutes or until the pie is set.
    8. Cool completely on a wire rack (about 1 hour).
    9. Serve immediately, or cover and chill up to 2 days.

    photo credit: Jennifer Davick



    neopolitan cheesecake

    28 Apr

    Someone recently asked me if I have any cheesecake recipes to share for an upcoming publication.  I said they could take anything off my website, but she said there wasn’t much there.  What????  I checked and she was right!  I guess the Shavuos/cheesecake season with late nights and long work hours, doesn’t leave much time for blog writing!  I am trying to rectify the situation,  and you’re all welcome to share your favorite recipes here as well.
    Who doesn’t like the Neopolitan ice cream combination?  Not only does it look enticing, the flavors are familiar and comforting.  This cake has won awards and ribbons around the country.   The recipe called for a 9-inch springform pan but I think it is more impressive in the 8-inch because the layers won’t be so flat.  You can choose between the two.  Happy Baking!!
    • 1 cup chocolate wafer crumbs
    • 5 tablespoons butter, melted,divided
    • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 3 eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 5 ounces semisweet chocolate, divided
    • 2 1/2 ounces white chocolate, divided
    • 1/3 cup mashed or blended sweetened strawberries
    • 2 teaspoons shortening, divided


    1.   Combine crumbs and 3 tablespoons of butter; press onto the bottom of an ungreased 8-in. springform pan or one piece cheesecake pan.   Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes; Cool.
    2.  In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Beat in eggs, one at a time just until mixed.   Add vanilla
    3.  Divide batter into three portions, about 1 2/3 cups each.  Melt 2 squares semisweet chocolate (I microwave them at 50% power
    for 1-2 minutes to get them melted); stir into one portion of the batter.  Spread dark chocolate mixture evenly over crust.  Freeze pan for 1 hour before proceeding.
    4.   Melt 2 ounces of white chocolate; stir into second portion.  Carefully spoon this layer on top of the dark chocolate layer.  Freeze for 20 minutes before proceeding.
    5.  Stir strawberries into the remaining batter.  Carefully spoon it on top of the previous 2 layers.
    6.  Bake cheesecake on the lowest shelf in the oven, in a water bath,  at 325 degrees for approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes.  The center of the cake should jiggle.  It will set as it cools.  If the cake is no longer frozen when it goes in the oven, you can bake it on the 2nd to bottom shelf in the oven.
    7.  Remove from oven.  Cool for several hours or overnight.
    8.  Run a knife around edge of pan and remove cake from pan.
    9.  Melt remaining semisweet chocolate, remaining butter and 1 teaspoon of shortening; cool for 2 minutes.  Pour over cake.  (note:  this amount of chocolate will only coat the top of the cake).
    10.  Melt remaining white chocolate and shortening then drizzle over glaze.
    11.  Refrigerate until cold before serving.
    recipe credit: Taste of Home
    photo credit: Lusenda

    mini blini’s

    28 Apr

    These are a take on the classic cheese blintze – fun to make and a huge crowd pleaser!  I’ve served them at large parties and small family dinners alike, always with great results.  The recipe makes quite a bit (about 100 2.5-ich pieces), and they freeze beautifully.   Heat covered in the oven before serving.


    2 — (8-ounce)  packages cream cheese, softened
    2 — egg  yolks
    1 cup  sugar
    2 loaves sliced  white bread, crust removed
    1 cup (2 sticks) butter,  melted
    1 Tbsp  Cinnamon
    1 cup  Sugar


    1. Beat together cream cheese, egg yolks, and sugar in a large mixing  bowl.
    2. Roll bread slices as thinly as possible with a rolling pin.  Spread  with cream cheese mixture.  Roll up and dip in melted butter.   Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.  Cover with plastic wrap and freeze.
    3. Preheat oven to 400F.
    4. Remove Mini Blini from freezer and cut each piece in half.  Place on  a baking sheet and bake 10 to 13 minutes or until heated through.



    chocolate covered coconut macaroons

    10 Mar

    It’s time to pull out the Pesach recipes and plan what to make for the upcoming festival!  This pyramid shaped confection is the first on the list of many recipes which have become a favorite of my friends and family.


    • 3 cups (lightly packed) sweetened shredded coconut
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 3/4 cup egg whites ( about 6 large)
    • 1 3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
    • 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened) or 9 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
    • 6 tablespoons heavy whipping cream



    Mix first 3 ingredients in heavy large saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture appears somewhat pasty, stirring constantly, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat.   Mix in 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract.  Spread out coconut mixture on large baking sheet. Refrigerate until cold, about 45 minutes.

    Preheat oven to 300°F.

    Line another baking sheet with parchment.  Press 1/4 cup coconut mixture into pyramid shape (about 1 1/2 inches high).  Place on prepared sheet.  Repeat with remaining coconut mixture.  Bake cookies until golden,  about 30 minutes.  Transfer cookies to rack and cool.

    Set cookies on rack over rimmed baking sheet.

    Stir chocolate and cream in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat until melted and smooth.  Remove from heat.  Mix in remaining 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract.  Spoon glaze over cookies, covering almost completely and allowing chocolate to drip down sides.  Refrigerate until glaze sets, at least 2 hours.

    (Can be made 1 day ahead and kept refrigerated in an airtight container, or freeze.)


    recipe credit: Bon Appetit Sept 2002

    photo credit:


    chocolate-honey ganache layer cake

    16 Sep

    When the newest issue of Fine Cooking arrived at my door, I was amazed at all the Rosh Hashana/Sukkos appropriate recipes.  The chocolate honey cake sounded intruiging.  Although I’m not a huge fan of honey cake in general, I think I like chocolate cake in any form, so I gave it a try.  It is large (10-inch) and impressive.  I can’t wait to present it at the meal and to sample it!

    The combination of natural and Dutch-processed cocoa powder, coffee, and mild honey gives this cake an incredibly moist texture and an intense, complex, and very grown-up chocolate flavor. Making the cake layers ahead allows the flavors to develop, and making the ganache ahead gives it time to firm up to the perfect texture for spreading.

    Serves 16

    • For the cake
      cooking spray
      2-1/4 oz. (3/4 cup) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
      1-1/2 oz. (1/2 cup) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
      1-1/2 cups hot, strong brewed coffee
      1 cup mild honey, such as clover
      3-1/2 oz. (3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
      1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
      1-1/2 tsp. baking soda
      1 tsp. kosher salt
      6 oz. (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
      3/4 cup vegetable oil
      1 cup packed dark brown sugar
      1 cup granulated sugar
      4 large eggs, at room temperature
      3/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
      2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
    • For the chocolate-honey ganache
      1 lb. semisweet chocolate (60% cacao), finely chopped
      2 cups heavy cream
      1/4 cup mild honey, such as clover
      2 oz. (4 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
      3 Tbs. dark rum (optional)
      1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
    • For the chocolate curls (optional)
      1 thick block semisweet chocolate

    Make the cake
    1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.
    2. Spray two 10-inch round cake pans (with at least 2-inch sides) with cooking spray and line the bottom of each with parchment.
    3. Sift both cocoa powders into a medium bowl. Whisk in the coffee and then the honey. Let cool completely.
    4. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl.
    5. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed. Gradually add the oil, beating until combined. Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar. Raise the mixer speed to high and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well on medium-high speed after each addition. Add the sour cream and vanilla, beating just until combined. With the mixer on low, alternately add the flour mixture in three additions and the cocoa mixture in two additions, beginning and ending with the flour (scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary). Beat just until combined. Divide the batter between the two pans, using an offset spatula to spread it evenly. Tap the pans once or twice on the counter to settle the batter.
    6. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until a wooden skewer inserted in the center of each cake comes out with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it, 40 to 50 minutes. Cool the cakes in their pans on a rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Run a knife along the sides of the pans, invert the cakes onto the rack, and remove the pans and the parchment. Let cool completely.
    Make the ganache

    Put the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl.

    Combine the heavy cream and honey in a 2-quart saucepan. Stir with a silicone spatula over medium-high heat until the honey dissolves into the cream, about 30 seconds. Just as the cream comes to a simmer, remove it from the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Let stand about 1 minute; then whisk until smooth. Whisk in the butter, rum (if using), and vanilla until the butter is melted and the mixture is glossy. Cool the ganache at room temperature for at least 8 hours. It will thicken as it cools. (The ganache can sit, covered, at room temperature for up to 24 hours.)

    Frost the cakeSet one of the cake layers on a serving plate. Spread about 1 cup ganache over the surface of the cake. Top with the second cake layer and spread a very thin layer of ganache over the top and sides of the cake to seal in any crumbs. Refrigerate for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the crumb coat to set. Spread the remaining ganache evenly over the top and sides of the cake. 

    Make the chocolate curlsTo decorate the cake with chocolate curls, if using, soften the chocolate in the microwave on high power for 30 to 50 seconds. Scrape a vegetable peeler firmly down one side of the chocolate block to form thick curls. Put the curls on a plate and refrigerate until they’re firm enough to handle. Scatter over the top of the frosted cake. 

    Make Ahead Tips

    For the best spreading texture, the ganache should be made 8 to 24 hours ahead. Keep covered at room temperature.
    For the best flavor and texture, the cake should be made at least 1 day before serving. To store at room temperature, wrap each completely cooled layer tightly in 2 layers of plastic wrap and store for up to 2 days.
    Up to 10 hours before serving, fill and frost the cake. Keep the cake at room temperature, covered with a dome, until ready to serve.
    The cake layers can be frozen for up to 2 weeks: Transfer each completely cooled unfrosted layer to a 10-inch cardboard cake round and wrap tightly in 2 layers of plastic wrap, then in foil, and freeze. Up to 15 hours before serving, remove the foil but not the plastic wrap from the cake layers and thaw at room temperature. When completely thawed, unwrap, fill, and frost the cake.
    If you plan to travel with this cake, it’s easier to transport if it’s refrigerated, uncovered, until the ganache is firm. To aid transport, assemble the cake on a cardboard cake round and transfer it to a covered cake carrier once it’s firm. When you arrive at your destination, put the cake on a serving plate and allow it to come to room temperature before slicing.

    photo: Scott Phillips

    onion bialys

    10 Jul

    This past Sunday I made the most amazing bialys!  It was a fast day and I like to busy myself with food preparation on a fast so that I get distracted from my hunger, and I have something special to serve my family and friends who traditionally join us for the “break fast”.

    The bialy originated in the city of Bialystok in Poland.  It is a doughy roll with a flat center and puffy rim,  sprinkled in the center with sauteed onion & poppy seeds.  Most bagel stores make bialys from their bagel dough, and bake it without boiling it, making it a cousin of the bagel.  My homemade version was made with a yeast sponge that sat for over an hour before adding the flour, giving it a bit of a sourdough flavor.  Although I’ve never tasted an “authentic” bialy, I can honestly say that mine was delicious; crusty on the outside and soft on the inside, as artisan bread should be.  Bialys are mostly eaten split open, toasted, and slathered with butter, but we ate them fresh out of the oven with a cream of broccoli soup (compliments of Sarah Lasry,, scrambled eggs, hash browns and salad.  They were awesome!  Today, I had a leftover one for lunch and can’t decide which way I like ’em better!

    recipe credit: Lauren Groveman in Baking with Julia
    • 2 1/4 cups warm water
    • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
    • 2 teaspoons (malt extract or) sugar
    • 2 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening
    • 1/3 cup minced yellow onion
    • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (optional but recommended)
    • 3 cups high-gluten flour, bread flour, or unbleached all-purpose flour

    1.  Pour 1/4 cup of the water into a small bowl, add the yeast and a drop of the sugar and whisk to combine.  Allow the mixture to rest until the yeast dissolves and turns creamy, about 5 minutes.

    2.  Meanwhile, melt the shortening in a small skillet over medium heat.  Add the onions and saute until softened, about 3 minutes.  Scrape the onions and the melted shortening into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Add the remaining 2 cups water, sugar, and the black pepper, if using.

    3.  Add the creamy yeast to the mixing bowl, making certain that the temperature of the ingredients already in the bowl doesn’t exceed 110 degreees F;  if the mixture’s too hot, give it a few minutes to cool before proceeding.  With the mixer on low speed, add the flour in a steady stream, mixing until the flour is incorporated.  Increase the speed to medium and beat for 3 minutes.  Scrape down the bowl and paddle with a rubber spatula and remove the bowl from the mixer.

    4.  Cover with plastic wrap and let the sponge rise at room temperature for 1 and 1/4 hours.

    • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1 cup minced yellow onions
    • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
    • Freshly ground black pepper to taste


    • 2 tablespoons oil
    • The sponge (above)
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 3 cups (approximately) high-gluten flour, bread flour, or unbleached all-purpose flour

    1.  Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat and saute the onions and poppy seeds until the onions are soft, 3 to 5 minutes.  Season with pepper and let cool.

    2.  Brush the inside of a large mixing bowl with some of the oil; set aside.  Reserve the remaining oil for coating the top of the dough.

    Mixing and Rising

    1.  When the sponge is fully risen, return the bowl to the mixer.  On low speed working with the paddle or dough hook, beat in the salt and as much flour as needed to make a dough that cleans the sides of the bowl.  Increase the speed to medium and knead for 3 to 5 minutes.  Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and knead briskly until the dough is smooth and elastic.

    2.  For the dough into a ball and transfer it to the oiled mixing bowl.  Brush the top of the dough with a little oil, over the bowl with greased plastic wrap, and top with a towel.  Let the dough rise at room temperature for about 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in bulk.

    Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.  If you’ll be baking the bialys on a baking or pizza stone,m preheat it too and generously dust a peel with cornmeal; set aside.  If they’re going on baking sheets, brush the sheets with vegetable oil (or spray them) and dust them with cornmeal.  Dust two kitchen towels with cornmeal.  (to create steam in the oven, you’ll be tossing ice cubes and water onto the oven floor.  If you don’t think your oven floor is up to this-it can be tricky witha gas oven-put a heavy skillet or roasting pan on the oven floor and preheat it as well.)

    Shaping the Dough: Divide the risen dough in half; work with one piece of dough at a time, keeping the other piece covered.  Cut the dough into 6 equal pieces.  Work with one piece of dough at a time, keeping the others covered with a towel.  Shape the dough into a round and flatten the center to create a thick 1/2-inch wide rim.  Prick the center of the bialy with the tines of a fork and transfer it to a cornmeal-dusted towel or pizza peel; cover with another towel while you shape the other 5 bialys.

    Prick the center of each shaped bialy again and transfer to the prepared baking sheet or peel.  Spoon a little of the onion-poppy seed filling into the center of each bialy and prick again to flatten.

    Baking the Bialys: Put 4 ice cubes in a cup and add 1/4 cup cold water.  Put the bialys into the oven and immediately toss the ice cubes and water onto the oven floor (or into the hot pan).  Immediately close the oven door to trap the steam.  Bake the bialys for 10 minutes, turn the oven down to 450 degrees and bake for 5 mnutes more.  Transfer to a rack to cool.  Brush off the baking stone, if necessary and return the oven to 500 degrees.

    While the first batch is baking, cut and shape the remaining bialys.  Then bake them as you did the first batch.  If you have 2 ovens, as I do, you will be able to bake 6 bialys in each oven at a time (that’s all my pizza stone would hold).

    Storing: Bialys are best the day they are made.   You can freeze them as is or sliced in half and wrap airtight.  The bialys will keep in the freezer for a month and can be popped into the toaster directly from the freezer.


    amazing banana nut roll

    09 May

    Amazing Banana Nut Roll

    I love bananas in any way, shape or form.  To paraphrase a childrens’ book “I can eat them here or there, I can eat them anywhere!”  After I tried this cake many years ago, I misplaced the recipe and went to great lengths to get another copy. (I finally found it in the library, where they keep magazines on file for quite a while.)  This cake is a favorite of my sisters’, and I know that she would welcome a piece any day!

    In this cake, the jellyroll and the filling are baked together and then they are rolled together. A thin icing is then spread over the cake.


    • 11 oz cream cheese, softened
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 3 tablespoons milk
    • 1/2 cup flour
    • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
    • 4 egg yolks
    • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 1 large banana, mashed (about 1/2 cup)
    • 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
    • 4 egg whites
    • 1/2 cup sugar


    1. Lightly grease a 15 x 10 x 1-inch baking pan (cookie sheet). Line bottom with parchment paper. Set aside.
    2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
    3. Combine cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl. Beat with the paddle attachment of your mixer on medium until smooth. Add whole egg and milk; beat until combined. Spread in the prepared pan; set aside.
    4. In a small mixer bowl, beat egg yolks and vanilla on medium speed about 5 minutes or until thick and lemon colored. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar, beating till sugar is dissolved. Stir in banana and nuts.
    5. In a clean bowl, with clean beaters, beat the egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Slowly add the 1/2 cup sugar, beating on high speed until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Do not over beat.
    6. Fold yolk mixture into egg whites. Sprinkle the flour mixture evenly over egg mixture; fold in just until blended.
    7. Carefully spread the batter evenly over the filling in the pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cake springs back when lightly touched.
    8. Immediately loosen the cake from sides of pan and turn out onto a towel sprinkled with powdered sugar. Carefully peel off paper. Starting with narrow end, roll up cake using towel as a guide. (Do not roll towel into cake.) Cool completely on wire rack.
    9. spread top with cream cheese frosting. If desired, drizzle with chocolate syrup.

    Cream cheese frosting: In a small mixing bowl combine 1 1/2 oz cream cheese, softened and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, beat with a mixer on medium until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in 1 cup unsifted powdered sugar. Beat in enough milk (1 to 2 tablespoons) to make a frosting of spreading consistency. Makes about 1/2 cup frosting.

    Makes 10 servings.

    recipe credit: Better Homes & Gardens

    photo credit: kitchenchatter