Category Archives: Cookies

Cinnamon Brickle Rugelach

with tea 2 dpiAccording to my sister Bo, if I post any more of Melissa Clark‘s recipes I will be veering dangerously close into stalker territory. We both have a bit of a girl crush on Melissa. She is pretty awesome. To date, I have posted 9 of her recipes on my blog. I think that 10 is the line I must not cross or the restraining order will be shortly forthcoming.

Not to worry Melissa, I have a new girl crush. Her name is Mindy Segal. Although her book, Cookie Love, was released in 2015, for some reason, I just discovered it last month. Which, for a cookie fanatic like me, is kind of surprising. Mindy has turned the cookie world on it’s ear, taking the classics and updating them into fun and most decidedly delicious little bites.

Deciding which cookie to bake first, from this gem of a book, was not easy. As you can see, I have bookmarked lots.cookie loveThis is not a book for those looking for simple mix and scoop cookies. Many of the recipes in this book involve multiple steps and several “mini recipes” within a recipe. If that sort of thing bugs you, then this is not the book for you. If you are looking to up your cookie game, and enjoy spending time in the kitchen, creating little master pieces, then look no further, you have found your guru.

I decided to start with her cinnamon brickle rugelach. Rugelach, for the uninitiated, are a small Jewish pastry, of Eastern European origin. You can learn more about the history of rugelach in this post.

For these cookies you need to make a cream cheese dough, cinnamon nut brickle, and caramel sauce. All three of these components can be done several days ahead and you can assemble and bake the rugelach on another day if you like.

I started with the caramel sauce. Mindy’s recipe makes a generous 4 cups, and you really only need about 1/4 of this amount for the rugelach. But the caramel sauce keeps in the fridge for 6 months and it’s always a good idea to have some caramel sauce around in case of emergency.  I don’t know about your emergencies, but some of mine can be resolved with a spoonful of salted caramel sauce. You can of course buy caramel sauce in a jar, but please don’t. Homemade is so much better. caramel sauceWhile the caramel sauce is cooling, make the cream cheese dough.cream cheese doughcutting circleThis is a supple dough, easy to roll, with no cracking. Mindy suggests you roll it into a rectangle and then cut it into triangles. I read her instructions for doing this 3 times and could not figure it out. Geometry was never my strong suit. I decided to form mine into a circle, and used a 13 inch round plate to make my circle perfect, because that’s how we roll around here.

The dough needs to chill for about 30 minutes before you can make the rugelach, so go on to the cinnamon nut brickle. Brickle refers to something with little elasticity; hence it is easily cracked or fractured or snapped. Does anyone else remember Butter Brickle Ice Cream from their childhood? My mom used to buy the “light” version and we’d end up eating twice as much.

We’re essentially making nut toffee here. Butter, sugar and cinnamon are heated until melted. Mixed salted nuts are coated in this concoction and then tipped out onto a baking sheet to harden.nut brickleThen get out the food processor and make some noise. There will be leftover brickle after forming your rugelach. It will keep for over a month, and is excellent on yogurt or ice cream, in case of another emergency.chopped brickleNow for some fun.

 

I altered Mindy’s recipe slightly, using less caramel sauce and less brickle than she does. spreading caramel saucesprinkling brickleA pastry wheel or pizza cutter make quick work of forming the wedges. You could also use a sharp knife. cutting rugelachrolling rugelachMake sure you brush with beaten egg whites so that the cinnamon sugar will stick. Mindy topped her rugelach with more brickle, but I found that most of it just fell off and burned on the baking sheet, so I left that step out. I did however, sprinkle them lightly with flaked sea salt (Maldon), before baking. The salt really balances out the sweetness of the caramel sauce and brickle filling. ready for bakingThe rugelach will ooze quite a bit of their filling so don’t be alarmed. Those little pools of ooze will harden into a delicious toffee. Keep a ring of the toffee around each rugelach for a more delicious treat. caramel oozing on baking sheet

Click here to print recipe for Cinnamon Brickle Rugelach.

with tea 1one rugelach

 

 

 

Almond Pistachio Lime Cookies

on wire rackAfter my last debacle with almond flour and citrus, you would think I’d be reluctant to go down that road again, but I guess I’m just a natural born gambler. Well, a gambler in the culinary sense, at least. I have never understood the appeal of real gambling. If I’m going to throw money away, I’d at least like to have a pair of shoes to show for it.on wire rack 625 sq3 stacks 625 sqWhen I saw this recipe for Flourless Almond Cookies with Cardamom, Orange Zest and Pistachios, I thought it would be a perfect addition to our Passover dessert table. I changed it up and used lime instead of orange and deleted the cardamom. It’s one of those flavours I want to like, but haven’t yet acquired a taste for.  I used to hate cilantro and now I love it, so there’s still  hope for cardamom.Raw ingredientsThese are a slice and bake cookie. They’re fast to make. You do need to allow time for chilling the logs before slicing, so plan ahead. The logs get rolled in finely chopped pistachios. When slicing, make sure you rotate the log 90° (a quarter turn) after each slice to keep from getting one flat side.chopping pistachiosslicing logsready to bakeI decided to glam up these cookies by adding a sweet-tart glaze. I finished them off with a sprinkling of lime zest and more chopped pistachios.glaze ingredientsglazing cookiesThese cookies are the perfect little bite to end the Passover seder with. Chewy in the center, crispy on the edges and an ideal sweet-tart balance. I also made a batch with lemon and they were fantastic.cookies with tea

Click here to print recipe for Almond Pistachio Lime Cookies.

Poppy Seed Hamentashen

bowl of hamentashenThis is the final instalment of my hamentashen treatise (see part 1 and part 2). Today we’re taking it old-school with the classic Poppy Seed Hamentashen. This is the hamentashen I grew up with. This recipe comes from Uri Scheft. These are the most popular hamentashen at Lehamim, his Tel Aviv bakery.All 3 on black trayMake sure you start with very fresh poppy seeds. You’ll need to grind them up a bit. I found that  my spice grinder was perfect for the task. ground poppyseedsThe poppy seeds get cooked down into a paste with some milk, sugar and butter. Lemon zest adds a perfect zing of freshness. making fillingI learned a great trick from Uri for keeping the hamentashen dough from getting soggy. A handful of cake or muffin crumbs absorb any moisture in the filling leading to hamentashen with a nice crisp bottom crust. I didn’t have any cake or muffin crumbs on hand, so I bought a package of 6 inexpensive white cupcakes at the supermarket, scraped off the icing and ground them up in the food processor to make crumbs. I let the crumbs sit out at room temperature for a few hours to let them dry out a bit. Extra crumbs can be stashed in a freezer bag for another day.making filling 2 I found it easiest to fill hamentashen if I first put the filling into a disposable piping bag.3 fillings

Click here to print recipe for Poppy Seed Hamentashen.

on black tray

Salted Caramel Apple Hamentashen

Salted Caramel Apple hamentashen 1FI’m not quite sure how I feel about the live-action remake of  Beauty and the Beast (to be released March 17). The original is time honoured and perfect. Frankly, I’m worried. Sometimes you shouldn’t mess with a classic. Remember Lindsay Lohan in the remake of Parent Trap? Jackie Chan as the updated Mr. Miyagi in Karate Kid ? Billy Bob Thornton in Bad News Bears? Enough said.

But sometimes messing with the classics works. Traditional hamentashen are filled with either prune or poppyseed filling. In this updated version, apples are cooked down to a thick sauce. A big scoop of dulce de leche and a judicious sprinkling of salt are added and the resulting filling is quite sublime. I have to give credit for this filling to the talented blogger Tori Avey. It was her genius idea. I just took it and wrapped it in a buttery almond shortbread shell.with a latteGrating Applesapples cooked downadding dulce de leche

Click here to print recipe for Salted Caramel Apple Hamentashen.

with a latte 2

Dried Cherry and Pecan Hamentashen

with a cup of teaHamentashen are the traditional treat baked for the Jewish holiday of Purim, which falls on Sunday March 12 this year. Essentially, the Festival of Purim commemorates a time when the Jewish people living in ancient (4th century BCE) Persia were saved from extermination. If you’re curious to learn more about Purim, check out a more thorough post I wrote in 2012.

I’ve been busy creating  and this year I have 3 delicious hamentashen recipes to share with you over the next few days. Dried Cherry and Pecan, Poppyseed and Salted Caramel Apple. All 3 stacked 72dpiMy childhood Purim memories consist of store bought hamentashen. My mom bought them from Open Window Bakery in Toronto. They made two varieties, prune and poppyseed. My sisters and I vastly preferred the poppyseed filing. Home-made hamentashen didn’t enter my life until I got married. My husband’s aunts, Carol and Jenny, made their own hamentashen. Tender little triangles brimming with a prune-raisin filling and covered in honey and walnuts. I felt like I’d entered an alternate universe. But a universe I was thrilled to be indoctrinated into . All hamentashen should be topped with toasted nuts. Because, crunch!dried fruit in jarThis hamentashen is my twist on their classic recipe. I halved the amount of prunes in the filling and replaced it with dried cherries. The original strawberry jam was swapped out for sour cherry preserves. And then I went really rogue with the dough! I used a butter dough. Carol and Jenny’s hamentashen dough is made with oil, so if you’re looking for a dairy free option, Aunt Carol’s Hamentashen Dough is a great option.before choppingafter choppingThis dough recipe comes from Uri Scheft’s new book, Breaking Breads. It is essentially an almond shortbread cookie dough which gets rolled quite thin.

I created this video to show you how to fill and shape the hamentashen.

Bite through the crisp buttery almond shortbread shell to reveal the sweet-tart dried cherry filling. The honey-pecan topping make these hamentashen very special.Dipped

Click here to print recipe for Dried Cherry and Pecan Hamentashen.

5 hamentashen