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Hello and happy (almost) Purim! Can you believe that it’s almost Purim time? I seriously feel like it was JUST yesterday that I was making cheddar Sriracha latkes on The Feed Feed and now I’m making hamantaschen? How can this be? My waist line is not ready for all the holiday hamantaschen baking! Blargh!

 

 

 

I’m back from my little jaunt to exotic Dallas, Texas for the BBYO International Convention. I was there giving two separate presentations — one on food sustainability through the kosher lens plus a joint session with my girl, Amy from What Jew Wanna Eat. Amy and I had a session up against Aidy Bryant from Saturday Night Live and while our workshop was heavily attended, I’m not convinced that the majority of our audience weren’t students who weren’t able to get into the Aidy Bryant workshop. But that’s OK! They got to learn about food blogging so ha! Suckers! Ya learned something new!

I had SUCH an amazing time with Amy and meeting so many teens who frikkin’ love their Jewish selves. It was a bit of  a mind-trip to be at a BBYO conference as a 36 year-old mother of two. My days as a Jewish high school convention-attendee were so much fun but also so incredibly awkward (here’s to being a teen in the mid-90s). It felt crazy to be walking around this convention with the confidence that a grown woman should have while my 16 year-old self was screaming out, “Look at me now! I’m a grown a** woman. Now watch me lay in bed for an hour and read before turning out the lights for a sensible bed time of 9pm!”

But these hamantaschen! Oy! These hamantaschen. I did some research on Pinterest to get some inspiration for this year’s hamantaschen flavors. I have another flavor combo in my back pocket for the next week but for now, I’m really loving on the intensity of the chocolate in this dough and the realness of the fluffy middle. My official taste-tester for these was my husband as he ate enough Oreo/Hydroxy cookies as a child to consider himself an Oreo/Hydroxy expert and he swears it tastes like the real deal. Only, be warned, this chocolate dough is chewy and soft, the way I prefer my hamantaschen. You MUST be vigilant with your refrigeration/freezing of dough. Do not skip these parts of the process. They are vital. But, in case you do miss a bit and end up with wonky-shaped hamantschen, just delicately squeeze some filling over it and no one will ever know!

busy licking the spatula

 

a journey through Amy and Whitney learning how to pose for a picture.

 

(Heads up, this is NOT a hard cookie dough. I am not a fan of hard cookies so I made a soft, chewy cookie dough. See narrative and notes in the directions on maintaining the dough’s form while baking. Happy eating!)

Ingredients for Cookie

Ingredients for Cream Filling

Directions for Cookie

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using handheld mixers), beat the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add egg, milk, espresso or coffee, and vanilla until mixed thoroughly.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt. Slowly add dry mixture to wet mixture until incorporated. (Note: if the dough is too soft, increase flour amount by 1/4 cup of flour until firm – see notes written in narrative regarding the chilling and softness of the dough).

Shape dough into a disk, wrap in saran wrap and chill for AT LEAST (I chill mine overnight) an hour. Once chilled, preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in the center. On a floured work surface, roll out dough to a scant 1/4-inch thickness. With a 2 3/4-inch round cutter, or wide-rimmed drinking class, cut out circles; place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Gather scraps, chill while previous cookies are baking, and repeat with your roll-out and cutting until all dough is used.

Whisk together remaining egg and 1 teaspoon water in a bowl. Brush circle edges with egg wash; pinch seams together. Freeze until firm, about 30 minutes. Bake cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet, 1 sheet at a time, about 10 – 12 minutes. Allow to cool completely before adding filling.

Directions for Filling:

Using a mixer, cream the butter and shortening until fluffy. Beat in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. I used an icing bag with a small, round tip for filling centers of the cookie. You could just as easily ‘ice’ the centers with a knife or spoon but I do not think it will be as easy as using an icing bag and tip.

Vanilla Cake with Chocolate and Tahini Sauce

 

I swear this blog is not turning into a dessert blog. I also swear this blog is not being sponsored by a tahini company (though I wouldn’t be opposed to it . . . hint, hint tahini companies). Anyway, like I said, this blog is not necessary a dessert blog it’s just that with the holidays approaching, my husband finishing his PhD and Winter Break officially beginning, we’ve got a lot to celebrate and plenty of reasons to bake!

My crazy sous chef.

Vanilla Cake with Chocolate and Tahini Sauce

 

Vanilla Cake with Chocolate and Tahini Sauce

I call this recipe, “Siona’s Vanilla Cake” for two reasons. 1) It’s so easy to make that when I need to bring a quick dessert for a Shabbat dinner or potluck, she and I grab our matching Jewhungry aprons and within minutes, we’ve got ourselves a cake baking in the over and 2) this kid LOVES vanilla cake. Most cake she actually just eats the frosting off of and then doesn’t actually eat the cake but this cake? This cake she’ll devour. The additional chocolate sauce and sprinkles helps too.

I love baking with this kid. It started a couple years ago when she and I had just moved to LA and the hubby was still in Miami finishing his PhD work. I needed something for us to do on Sunday mornings and we just naturally fell into the habit of baking together. She has mastered the scrapping down of the bowl in between mixing and can sift flour like a pro-baker. Let’s not forget, she’s 4. Baking together has become such a normal part of our weekends that she actually has turned down the opportunity to watch a movie in favor of baking together. Seriously. Hashtag parenting win.

 

Vanilla Cake with Chocolate and Tahini Sauce

 

Vanilla Cake with Chocolate and Tahini Sauce

I can’t express to you how easy peasy this cake is to make. The chocolate and tahini sauce aren’t a necessity but, I mean, come on. It’s chocolate and tahini sauce so yeah, it’s a necessity. It also dresses up the cake so if you do bring it to a potluck, folks will be all, “OMG! Did you make that?! It’s gorgeous”. And you’ll be all, “Hell yeah I did. Who’s the Cake Boss now, Buddy!?”

Vanilla Cake with Chocolate and Tahini Sauce

 

Ingredients for Cake:

1 cup margarine (I use Earth’s Balance) at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsps baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegan sour cream (I used Tofutti)
2 tablespoons clear imitation vanilla extract (this is what gives it that old timey cake flavor).

Chocolate Sauce recipe HERE

For tahini sauce:

1/4 cup raw tahini
4 tbsp of hot water

Directions for Tahini:
Combine ingredients and stir until well-combined.

Directions for Cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a Bundt pan with non-stick canola oil spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. With the mixer on law, add the eggs one at a time beating after each addition. Add in the flour mixture, and then the sour cream and vanilla. Beat well until combined. The batter will be thick.

Spoon the batter into the Bundt pan. Bake until golden brown, 35 to 45 minutes. (Mine took 45 minutes but every oven is different and due to the density of this batter, you will want to make sure it is clearly cooked in the middle.)

Remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Turn out onto a cooling rack and continue to cool to room temperature.

Once completely cooled, artfully drizzle the chocolate sauce onto the cake followed by the tahini sauce. Add sprinkles at your leisure.

donut-title

So you might be thinking to yourself, “Dude, Whit, it’s Chanukah time! Why aren’t you frying those donuts!?!” Well friends, because I’d rather fry my latkes and bake my donuts then do both so my first recipe of the season is a baked recipe. Also, it’s been seeming like every. single. person I work with is on a specialty diet and since every time I bake for a post, I take the extras into work, I figured baked donuts would have a better chance of actually being eaten than fried donuts. Even my beloved co-worker, Julee, who is like my appetite-twin, is on a specialty diet. She told me about how she made fried onions out of buckwheat flour and coconut oil and a little part of me died inside. No. No, no no. Sigh. So, therefore, I give you baked donuts.

So, with that out of the way . . . how are you? How was your Thanksgiving? I tend to think of Thanksgiving as my holiday ‘off’. After the intensity (and expense) of the high holidays I want nothing to do on Thanksgiving but drink coffee, watch the Macy’s Day Parade, maybe make a pie or two and then head to someone else’s house for dinner, which is exactly what we did. Thank you, friends.

 

Baked Chocolate Chai Donuts with Tahini Glaze Jewhungry Kosher Blog
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Donuts have become one of my new LA delights (along with ramen, tacos and specialty ice cream parlors). They aren’t a foodie treat I really enjoyed until moving here. What’s ridiculous is that apparently about a year ago, a Dunkin’ Donuts opened in Downtown L.A. and folks were lined up around the block for it. There were articles written about it and people missed work just to get their hands on it. I personally do not get the obsession with the Dunkin’. Maybe it’s because I grew up with Dunkin’ Donuts but also cause it’s a donut and as much as I love yummy treats, I don’t love waiting in line for well, anything. That said, now that I’ve dabbled in baked donuts and realize how easy they are to make, I don’t foresee heading to a lot of donut places anymore. Once you’ve got the foundation of the mixture for your donut down, you can mix in other spices or toppings as you see fit. Since I’m a MAJOR tahini fan, I, of course, needed to make something that paired nicely with tahini and so a nice moist chocolate donut spiced with chai flavors won out. I originally had no plans to top these bad boys with sprinkles but then my sous chef, Siona, had to help me with this recipe, which meant that there would be sprinkles involved. And, to be honest, it totally elevated the donut. That Siona . . . I tell ya.
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Ingredients
  • 1/3 c. + 1 tbsp. milk
  • 1 tsp. vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c. white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder (I like Hershey’s Special Dark)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 3 tbsp. cold brew coffee or cold espresso
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 large egg

    Tahini Glaze
  • 1 c. powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp. tahini
  • 3 tbsp. milk
  • dash of kosher salt
  • sprinkles (optional)

Just a note — I use piping bags for getting the dough into the donut pan. I used to use a small spoon until reading about this little piping bag tip from an old issue Bon Appetit and haven’t looked back. Also, when storing leftovers store uncovered, otherwise, donuts will get goopy.

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together milk and vinegar (Mazal! You’ve just made buttermilk!). Allow to sit for about 5 minutes to curdle. Melt butter in a small bowl and set aside to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, sift together flours, cocoa, baking soda, sea salt, and chai spices in a large bowl. Set aside.
  4. Into the cooled butter, whisk in sugar, honey, coffee, and egg until evenly combined. Add in buttermilk.
  5. Whisk together wet and dry ingredients until just combined. Over-mixing will create a dense donut.
  6. Spray donut pan. Add batter to a piping bag and pipe evenly into the pan (about 2/3 full). You will have a little extra batter. Make a couple donut holes or mini donuts.
  7. Bake for 7 minutes. Allow to cool 1 minute before turning pan over to remove donuts onto a cooling rack.
  8. Meanwhile, make glaze. In a flat-bottomed bowl, whisk together half and half and powdered sugar until smooth.
  9. Once donuts have cooled completely, about 15-20 minutes, dunk in glaze, flipping to cover the entire donut as expertly demonstrated by Siona in the pictures above. Place on cooling rack and allow to dry for a few minutes. If going for sprinkles, dumb a bunch of them in another small bowl and dunk the glazed donut in just as you did into the tahini glaze.

 

 

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