tu b'shvat chocolate dirt cake jewhungry kosher food

Do not adjust your computer screens. You are actually seeing a new post from me. I can’t believe I actually got my sh*t together enough to pull off cooking, staging, photographing and editing a post. It helped that I have been wanting to make this recipe in honor of Tu b’Shevat since I made a larger dirt cake last year for our dear friend, Dave’s, birthday Shabbat dinner, which just happened to fall on Tu b’Shevat. At the time I thought to myself, I said, “Self, you HAVE to remember this and do it better and cuter for next year’s Tu b’Shevat” and so, here we are!

So what’s been going on since I last posted WAY back in July? Welp, the biggest news is that I am currently 6 months pregnant with our 3rd kiddo. Yep, we took the plunge. If you are a loyal Jewhungry reader, you’ll remember that I was wrestling with the question or whether or not to get pregnant in a previous post. When we finally came to the decision that, yes, we were going to try for a third, I felt so certain in that decision. That being said, 6 months into the hardest pregnancy I’ve experienced, I am FREAKING OUT. Ok, I don’t know if it’s fair to say ‘freaking out’ in all caps but I am having a lot of misgivings. A lot of, “What was I thinking!?” has been running through my head in the last 5 months. I started getting sick almost immediately and the nausea hasn’t stopped, which hasn’t helped my doubts. I am like a she-beast. I must be fed every hour on the hour or else I will puke on you. Seriously, you think I over exaggerate but I do not. Just ask my beloved husband or co-workers. It’s not pretty.

tu b'shvat chocolate dirt cake jewhungry kosher food

Nausea aside, I keep thinking to myself that we have a nice little routine down with the girls and why on Earth did we decide to make a decision that was going to mess that up!? They have such a strong bond, will this new little critter threaten that? Also, dear Gd, these two girls sleep through the night have been since our current youngest was roughly 6 months old. Like, I get sleep and stuff. Why oh why did we f*ck with that scenario too!? I have enough experience as a mental health professional to know when I’m starting to spiral so I’ll stop here. I’m pretty confident you get the drift. That said, I’d be ever so grateful to know if you have more than 2 kids and had the same experiences of doubt. Please, seriously, normalize me!!!

Deeeeeeeep inhale and exhale.

tu b'shvat chocolate dirt cake jewhungry kosher food

So back to these here chocolate dirt cakes for Tu b’Shevat. In case you’re unfamiliar with the holiday, Tu b’Shevat occurs on the 15th of the Jewish month of Shevat so the name of the holiday literally translates to 15th of Shevat. It’s also occasionally referred to as the New Year of Trees and is thought to be an agricultural day marking the first day of Spring. I’m sure if you’re reading this somewhere like Minnesota or Massachusetts you’re all, “Seriously? Spring in January!?” But remember, we’re talking about Biblical Israel here so it’s a wee bit warmer there this time of year.Tu b’Shevat technically a minor holiday but it’s just so dang fun that we make a point to ‘celebrate’ it in our household. A lot of commentary exists out there pointing to the fact that humans are “compared to the tree of the field” (Deuteronomy 20:19) and that the ‘fruit’ we bear is not only children (which is the first mitzvah in the Torah we are given to fulfill) but also the living of a life embedded in goodness. It’s become tradition that folks plant trees and/or hold a Tu b’Shevat seder during which it is customary to eat dried fruits and nuts, specifically figs, dates, raisins, carob, and almonds. Many people also incorporate the Seven Species into their seders, wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates.

I also encourage you to incorporate these chocolate treats into your seder cause they’re delicious and fun to make. Please note that the trees I used in my recipe are NOT edible. They are there cause they’re just too cute. What is edible? The several layers of chocolate used to assemble these treats. My favorite component is the homemade chocolate cookie crumble. You can also always take the trees out of the scenario and have yourself a fancy little trifle dessert for any day of the week. Enjoy!

tu b'shvat chocolate dirt cake jewhungry kosher food

 

tu b'shvat chocolate dirt cake jewhungry kosher food

 

tu b'shvat chocolate dirt cake jewhungry kosher food

 

 

 

 

tu b'shvat chocolate dirt cake jewhungry kosher food

 

 

 

 

tu b'shvat chocolate dirt cake jewhungry kosher food

She just HAD to get into the picture.

 

Ingredients/Method
(Makes for 4 – 5 mini trifles depending upon how much you use during assembly)

For the Cake and Pudding:

OK, so for the cake and pudding I used ready-made items cause I have 2 kids, a full time job and am 6 months pregnant so SOMETHING had to give. You can opt to also use Oreo cookies for your cookie crumbles but the chocolate cookie crumble recipe provided is so user-friendly and nets you incredibly delicious crumbles. For the cake, I used Betty Crocker’s Original Recipe Scratch Cake Mix but any ol’ boxed cake will do. The pudding was your trusted Jell-O Dark Chocolate Pudding Packs. I also incorporated chopped nuts into my recipe but feel free to omit if you have a nut allergy!

 

For the Chocolate Cookie Crumbles:

(makes 2 1/2 cups)

  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Method for Chocolate Crumbs:
  • Preheat the oven to 350 (F).
  • Combine 2/3 cup flour, 1 teaspoon cornstarch, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 2/3 cup cocoa powder, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt in the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on low-speed until mixed.
  • Add 6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter and paddle on low-speed until the mixture starts together in small clusters and clumps — at this point, it should look a little bit like wet sand.
  • Spread the clusters on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Bake for 20 minutes, using a dough scraper to break them up occasionally. The crumbs should still be slightly most to the touch at that point; they will harden and dry as they cool.
  • Let the crumbs cool completely before using in the recipe.

For the Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons milk or cream
  • pinch of salt

Method for Vanilla Buttercream Frosting:

  • In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or using an electric hand mixer whip the butter until light and creamy on medium/high-speed.
  • Once the butter is pale in color and light slowly add in the confectioners’ sugar one spoon at a time on medium speed. Let the sugar fully incorporate before adding in more sugar.
  • Add the vanilla extract, salt and cream.
  • Whip on high-speed for another 3-4 minutes until very light, creamy, and fluffy.
  • Use the buttercream straight away for keep it refrigerated for up to 4 weeks. Before use make sure it comes to room temperature.

Assembly:

I assembled by adding a base layer of pudding, then cookie crumble, vanilla buttercream (piped from a piping bag), chopped peanuts, another layer of cookie crumbs followed by chocolate cake that my kiddo crumbled up herself and then one final layer of cookie crumble. I encourage you to try-out your own order of assembly though it should be noted that this order got rave reviews from the husband and kiddo.

Chocolate cheesecake hamantaschen jewhungry kosher blog

Friends. I’m going to be real honest with you. Every year there are unspoken latke and hamantaschen ‘wars’ between Jewish/Kosher food bloggers. And yes, I have fallen victim to these ‘wars’ ever since starting this blog. I’ve tried to create the next great latke or the next great hamantaschen. I’ve spent hours carefully crafting, photographing and editing posts int he name of this ‘competition’. It was kinda fun, but mostly exhausting. This year, however, I just wanted to make some cookies with my kiddo for no other reason then it’s fun and we like cookies. Plus, this year there are some AMAZING hamantaschen out there like this one and this one. Oh, and THIS one! The savory ones are really having a moment. It’s awesome. So, in the name of the kiddo’s latest obsession, pixie dust, we made these guys. They are tasty and they have TONS of sprinkles on them, but they aren’t the prettiest hamantaschen I’ve ever made.

 

chocolate cheesecake hamantaschen jewhungry kosher blog

Chocolate cheesecake hamantaschen jewhungry kosher blog

Chocolate cheesecake hamantaschen jewhungry kosher blog

I’m not quite sure what started her new obsession with pixie dust but it is deep and it is real. We even made pixie dust necklaces one Sunday, which was just a little bit of pink sand in a tiny glass bottle ona sparkle lanyard. It’s funny the obsessions that preschool-aged children have and how they come to be. Be it wanting to wear the same shirt every day or watch the same episode of Jake and the Neverland Pirates or wanting the same book every. single. night, there is a comfort in the familiar for this age. I work very hard on being mindful of just how much newness she’s encountered with on a daily basis being on 3 years old. It’s hard as a parent; you get so sick of all the redundancy. But they need the familiarity of it all. They’re little brains are taking in so much newness that the safety they find in the familiar is an easy and necessary comfort. And so, armed with every ounce of pink sprinkles and edible sprinkle hearts we had in the cupboard, we set out to make ‘pixie dust’ hamantaschen (which I later decided would need a name change for fear that if I advertised a recipe for ‘pixie dust hamantaschen’, I might get some seriously confused readers looking for a different kind of cookie, ifyouknowwhatimean). #saynotodrugs.

Cooking with my ladies.

Cooking with my ladies.

 

Our pixie dust necklace -- 1 tiny glass jar + pink sand + super glue + shimmery gold lanyard string.

Our pixie dust necklace — 1 tiny glass jar + pink sand + super glue + shimmery gold lanyard string.

My assistant being extremely intentional with every. single. sprinkle.

My assistant being extremely intentional with every. single. sprinkle.

 

Chocolate Cheesecake Hamantaschen (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

Ingredients

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 ounces whipped cream cheese at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 1/3 cups plus 4 teaspoons flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Stawberry Jam
  • *Sprinkles Optional
  • For Chocolate Dipping:
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate chunks
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons coarse sea salt

Instructions

  1. Cream butter and cream cheese together until smooth.
  2. Add sugar and mix for one minute longer, then egg, vanilla extract, lemon zest and salt, mixing until combined.
  3. Finally, add the flour. The mixture should come together and be a tad sticky. If it feels too wet, add an additional tablespoon of flour.
  4. Form dough into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  6. To form the hamantaschen, roll out the dough on a well-floured surface until it is about 1/4-inch thick. Using a round cookie cutter or wide-rimmed glass, which is what I use, (cut the dough into circles. Spoon a teaspoon of you filling of choice in the center.
  7. Fold the dough in from three sides and firmly crimp the corners and give them a little twist to ensure they stay closed.
  8. Leave the filling mostly open in the center. Bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool on racks.
  9. For Chocolate Dipping:
  10. Melt chocolate and coconut oil in a double boiler or in the microwave. Stir until completely smooth and combined.
  11. Place in a small but deep bowl for dipping. Dip the cookies halfway into the melted chocolate. Place on a parchment lined tray. Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt. Place in the refrigerator to harden the chocolate.
http://jewhungrytheblog.com/chocolate-cheesecake-hamantaschen/

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