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Best Ever Passover Chocolate Chip Cookies

14 Apr

For a holiday that lasts a week, people get really stressed out about cooking and baking. I get it – I’ve baked hundreds and hundreds of Passover chiffon cakes and I still occasionally have a flop. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret – for a lot of my recipes, I just take the regular version and make it with kosher for Passover ingredients.

When it comes to things like chocolate chip cookies you have to be aware of a couple of things but otherwise it’s pretty easy to convert.

There are a lot of products readily available now that were not so easy to find when I was growing up, but you can now buy kosher for Passover baking soda and vanilla extract. The only major difference is that instead of flour I use matzo cake meal and the thing you need to know is that you’re going to use less cake meal. My theory is that because cake meal is ground up matzo and has already been baked, it’s drier than flour so it’s going to absorb more liquid. So in my original recipe it calls for 10 ounces of all purpose flour and for the kfp version, I use 7 1/4 ounces of cake meal.

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces melted butter (or margarine, but if you can, use butter) (3/4 cup)
  • 8 ounces brown sugar (1 cup packed)
  • 4 ounces granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 7 1/4 ounces cake meal (approximately 1 1/2 cups)
  • 9 ounces chocolate chips or chocolate bars cut into chunks or any candy or nuts you’d like to add (1 1/2 cups)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Make sure you have two racks in the middle of the oven and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cream the butter and sugars together in a stand mixer with a paddle or in a mixing bowl with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until well incorporated.

Add the baking soda, salt and cake meal and mix until combined. Add the chocolate (and anything else you’d like) and mix through.

Now, at this point the dough may look a little loose. Do not add more cake meal. I promise you that as the dough sits for a few minutes, the cake meal will absorb the liquids and thicken up.

I prefer to scoop the dough out while it’s still loose. I use a small, 1-ounce (or 2 Tbsp) ice cream scoop (or you can use two spoons) to drop dough onto the parchment lined baking sheets, leaving room between each cookie as they spread as they bake. If you scoop the cookie dough immediately after mixing, it should spread out a bit on it’s own. If the dough sits and thickens up before you scoop it, once it’s on the baking sheets use your hand to flatten it a bit.

Once the two trays are filled, place them on the middle racks of the oven for 8 minutes. Turn the trays around and switch their positions (the one that started off on top should now be beneath the other tray which is now on top) and bake another 7 minutes or until the edges are golden brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

This recipe makes approximately 24 cookies and they freeze well in an airtight container or bag.

Enjoy!

Apple Granola Muffins

3 Mar

I love muffins. What’s not to love? Other than muffin pans, you don’t need any special equipment. They’re simple to throw together and are basically your own personal mini-cake. You can also take a basic recipe and add all sorts of fruits, spices or other flavorings.

For these muffins, I’ve taken my basic sour cream muffin recipe and added granola, apples and cinnamon. You can use any granola you like, homemade or one you like from the cereal aisle. Mixing some into the batter adds a little texture and sprinkling some on top gives you an instant crumble topping. Yum.

I use diced apples tossed with cinnamon and brown sugar in this recipe, but you can replace the apples with fresh or frozen blueberries, diced peaches or pears or any other fruit. The fruit to batter ratio is high – and that’s what I want. The fruit keeps the muffin moist and I think every bite should have fruit in it.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil (canola, grapeseed, or other similar oil)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (plus 1 tbsp to toss with the apples)
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup 2% milk
  • 3/4 cup granola (plus more for sprinkling on top)
  • 2 large apples, peeled, cored and diced small (I like to use Pink Lady, Ambrosia or similar apple)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat your oven to 400°F.

Using a sturdy spoon, cream the granulated sugar and oil in a mixing bowl. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until well combined.

Add the salt, baking powder and baking soda and mix in. Add the flour and stir until JUST combined. You don’t want to overmix the batter and having some small lumps is good. Add the granola and stir through.

In another bowl, combine the diced apples, 1 Tbsp flour, cinnamon and brown sugar. Stir together until all of the apples are coated in the sugar/ flour/ cinnamon mixture.

Add the apples to the batter, including any excess sugar that may be at the bottom of the bowl. Gently stir the apples into the batter. Don’t worry about the apples being enveloped in better – you should see lots of chunks of apples and streaks of the cinnamon/ sugar should still be visible.

Spray your muffin tins – I prefer using baking spray that contains flour. Using standard muffin/ cupcake tins, fill the cups to the top. You should get approximately 18 muffins. Sprinkle each muffin with more granola, about 1 tsp per muffin.

I like to bake one pan at a time on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, turn the pan and bake another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the muffins are golden brown.

Remove and let cool. These are best eaten the day you bake them, but kept in a sealed container will be good on the counter for a couple of days.

Smoked Cheddar and Green Onion Biscuits

4 Feb

Between the snow that fell last night and the continuing frigid temperatures, I declared today a personal snow day.

For me, snow days usually include making something in the kitchen and after looking through the cupboards and fridge I decided today’s project would be smoked cheddar and green onion biscuits. I say project, but really this is a simple recipe that takes just a few minutes to pull together.

Smoked old cheddar is one of my favorite favorite cheeses, so I often have a chunk in my fridge, but if you don’t have it or don’t like the smokiness, you can use cheddar, gouda, swiss or any other hard cheese you like. I love cheese and green onion together, but you can leave them out if you don’t like them — or add even more if you do!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small cubes plus 1 Tbsp butter melted
  • 1 1/2 cups smoked cheddar, grated
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 3/4 cup 2% milk
  • 1 large egg

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients.

Add the cold butter and use a pastry cutter if you have one to break up the butter and mix it in. If you don’t have a pastry cutter, you can use your hands – just toss the butter and the flour so that the butter is coated in flour, then use your fingertips to press the butter into the flour, breaking it up until the butter is in smaller, pea-size chunks.

Add the grated cheese and green onions and stir into the flour/butter mixture until it’s evenly distributed. Form a well in the center.

Whisk the milk and egg together and pour into the well. Use a fork to stir the wet ingredients into the dry until it forms a dough, being careful not to overmix. If there is some flour that hasn’t mixed in, use your hand to bring it altogether.

Turn the mixture out onto a piece of parchment on a baking sheet and gently push it together to form a square approximately 1″ thick.

At this point, you can use cookie cutters to cut circles or other shapes, but I usually just cut the dough into 12 equal size squares. Gently pull the squares apart and space them out so there is about one inch of space surrounding each biscuit. They’re going to grow as they bake so they need a little room.

Brush the tops of the biscuits with the 1 Tbsp of melted butter and then place in the preheated oven. Bake for 10 minutes, turn the tray and bake another 10 to 15 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown.

Enjoy!

Cinnamon Apple Dutch Baby Pancake

30 Jan

When I was in junior high, we were taught how to make what we called ‘apple pancakes’ in cooking class. It was many years later that I learned this was a version of a Dutch-Baby pancake which may be a version of a German pancake and is oddly similar to a popover.

I remember that after I learned to make these, I was trotted out by my parents to make them for guests on a few occasions, but then the recipe was forgotten and the only time we enjoyed an apple pancake was when we visited a local restaurant chain.

This morning, about 30 years after I made my last Dutch Baby, I woke up after dreaming about them and decided it was time to reintroduce them into my cooking repertoire (though I no longer had the original recipe).

The thing about Dutch Babies is that they’re delicious, seem really impressive but are absolutely easy to make.

You can do different things with the basic recipe, like leaving out the apples, cinnamon and brown sugar and making a vanilla pancake that you dust with icing sugar and sprinkle with fresh berries. Or leave out the apples, cook the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon for a few minutes and then add a couple of handfuls of fresh blueberries or diced fresh peaches right before you pour the pancake batter in. But I think the apple cinnamon version is my favorite.

Batter

  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Apples

  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 2 large apples (Ambrosia, Pink Lady or similar), peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Place all of the batter ingredients into a blender and blend until combined and all of the lumps are gone. You can also use an immersion blender or a good whisk to combine well. Set aside while the apples cook.

Most recipes call for a cast iron skillet, but if you don’t have one, don’t worry. Use a 10 to 12 inch oven safe skillet to melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the sliced apples, brown sugar and cinnamon and cook for about 5 minutes, until the apples start to soften and the butter/ sugar mixture is simmering and has thickened slightly.

Pull the pan off the heat, move the apple slices around so that they’re evenly distributed and slowly pour the batter over all of the apples.

Place in the preheated oven and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until the pancake has puffed up and is golden brown across the top and dark, caramelized brown around the edges. Dust with powdered sugar and/or maple syrup on the side and serve immediately.

Serves 4

Cookies

13 Mar

Last month I published Pam’s Cookie Collection.

This is smaller than my other books with just 40-something recipes, but I’m proud of this one! It’s got lots of recipes that I baked at Desserts Plus over the years, along with lots of others that I created in my home kitchen.

You can get copies here:

Createspace
amazon. com
amazon. ca
And here’s a wonderful write-up by the equally wonderful Norene Gilletz in the CJN.

If you don’t have any of my books but you’ve wanted them, now is a good time to get them! For the next week one of the rewards for our kickstarter campaign is a cookbook collection. You can get one copy of each of my three books – signed if you like! (It’s listed twice – once if you’re able to pick them up at our new café and once if you need them shipped throughout North America.)

I’ll try not to be such a stranger! Thanks for stopping by and reading.

Get it done. .

26 Aug

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My first cookbook came out in 2004. Since then I’ve written one more (Passover)  plus some new recipes for the second addition of Soup-A Kosher Collection.  But in in addition to the books, I’ve developed lots and lots of recipes for newspapers, magazines, my blog and recipes that haven’t been published anywhere but I use all the time at home or at work (Desserts Plus ).

I’ve been talking about the next cookbook for ages,  but life keeps delaying things.  So the other day I  decided that enough was enough. It’s time to just get it done.  I opened the program where I store most of my recipes and printed them off, organized and categorized them.

It’s going to take time to get even one done, but I have a lot of great recipes to work from for a number of books.

Between working 10+ hours a day,  the holidays fast approaching and trying to sell my condo and hopefully move,  there isn’t a lot of extra time to work on recipes,  but just know that I am.

So many people have asked me when the next book will be available.  I don’t know for sure, but I do know that I’m committing to squeezing out time to test and test and test and get the next one out there. And then the next! 

Simple Side: Corn Pancakes

8 Nov

My mom used to make corn pancakes when I was young. She started a catering business when I was in elementary school and became very busy, very quickly. Fast recipes to make at home were a necessity and the ingredients needed for these corn cakes could be kept in the cupboard so they could be put together very quickly.

I realized I hadn’t had one of her corn pancakes in years (10-15 years, probably) and had a hankering. I set out to make my own version, tweaking it a bit and adding frozen corn. If fresh corn is in season, please use it! But the beauty of this recipe is that if you keep a bag of frozen corn and a can of creamed corn on hand, they are a great side to whip up quickly in the winter when it’s so cold you don’t want to leave the house.

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14 oz.  can creamed corn (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 large egg
1 1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup frozen corn kernels

canola oil for frying

Simply mix all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl with a large spoon.

Pour enough oil in the bottom of a large frying pan so you have approximately 1/4-inch of oil. Heat over medium.

When the oil is hot, carefully spoon batter into the oil (depending on the size of your pan,fry 3 to 5 pancakes at one time). Let the pancake cook 2-3 minutes, until the edges start to brown and little bubbles appear on the surface of the pancakes. Gently flip over with a spatula and cook on the second side another couple of minutes, or until golden brown on the second side.

Remove from the pan and drain on paper towel. Continue with the rest of the batter.

 

Other Simple Sides for you:

Apple Pecan Baklava

19 Sep

I love baklava, especially made with pecans (I’m highly allergic to pistachios and not overly fond of walnuts, but you can use either of those or a mixture) and I also love apple strudel made with light, crispy phyllo dough.  I realized that combining the two couldn’t be bad and created this Apple Pecan Baklava.

If you don’t follow the tradition of not eating nuts for Rosh Hashana, this would make a lovely dessert for  the holiday — if you do, then just save this and make it for another occasion.  Enjoy!

                          Apple Pecan Baklava

apple baklava

  • 1      lb.  phyllo dough
  • 1/2  cup  butter or margarine — melted

                        Apple Layer

  • 2     lb.  Granny Smith apples — peeled, cored and diced
  • 2     Tbsp.  honey
  • 1      Tbsp.  cinnamon
  • 1     Tbsp.  flour

                        Nut Layer

  • 4   cups  pecan halves — approx. 3/4 lb.
  • 2   Tbsp.  sugar
  • 2   tsp.  cinnamon

                        Syrup

  • 2/3   cup  honey
  • 2/3   cup  sugar
  • 1 1/4   cups  water
  • lemon zest — from 1 lemon
  • orange zest — from 1 orange
  • 2  Tbsp.  fresh lemon juice
  • 2  Tbsp.  fresh orange juice

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Apple layer:  Place the apples, honey and cinnamon into a non-stick skillet, stirring over medium heat. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until any liquid has evaporated and the apples have softened.  Remove from the heat and add flour, stirring until it’s mixed in.  Cool.

Nut Layer: Place the pecans, sugar and cinnamon in the food processor.  Pulse until the pecans are coarsely ground.  If you start with ground pecans (3/4 lb.) just mix them with the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.

Assemble: Melt the margarine/butter and use a pastry brush to coat a  3 qt. or 13x9x2″ baking dish.  Cut the phyllo sheets in half, then lay one sheet on the bottom of the baking dish.  Lightly brush with butter/margarine and repeat with another 5 layers of phyllo.  Sprinkle 1/4 of the nut mixture (about 1 cup) over the phyllo, and layer another 5 sheets of phyllo, continuing to brush each sheet with butter/margarine. Repeat the nut mixture and another 5 sheets of phyllo, then add all of the cooked apples, spreading them out in an even layer.  Top with another 5 sheets of phyllo, 1 cup of nuts, 5 sheets of phyllo, 1 cup of nuts and then top it off with the final 7 sheets of phyllo.

Use a serrated knife to carefully cut the baklava into pieces.  Traditionally, baklava is cut diagonally, so that the pieces form diamonds.  Make sure you cut right through to the bottom.

Place in a preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes or until a dark golden brown.

Syrup:  As the baklava bakes, prepare the syrup.  Place all of the syrup ingredients into a pot over medium-high heat and stir. Once it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.  Keep the syrup warm (on a very low element) until the baklava has finished baking. Remove the baklava from the oven and carefully pour the syrup through a strainer, over the baklava.  Once the liquid hits the baklava, it may start to boil and splatter, so be very careful.

Let the baklava cool for at least an hour before serving.  Can be made a day ahead.

 

 

Sneak Peek: Tahini Cookies

13 Jan

The cookie cookbook is rolling along and I hope to be done soon, so I thought it was time to share a new recipe — a sneak peek, so to speak.

I love sesame seeds, sesame paste (tahini) and sesame oil — basically any form of sesame works for me, but usually in a savory dish.  When I was brainstorming ideas for the cookie book, tahini made it to the notepad, though I’ve never baked or even tasted a cookie made with it.  I was trying to decide which other flavours I would use with the sesame — maybe cardamom or Chinese five spice? — but  I decided the first thing I should do was try baking a cookie that didn’t introduce more flavours and then go from there.  When I first tasted these, I was so happy with the results that I decided they didn’t need anything else.

If you like sesame, these cookies are for you. They’re deceptively simple to make, but the double dose of flavour from the tahini and the sesame seeds is delicious. They’re light, yet rich — perfect with a cup of tea.

Once baked, these cookies are delicate, so handle with care. They freeze beautifully in an air-tight container. Keep them parve by substituting a good quality non-dairy margarine for the butter.

sesame cookies

6 ounces butter — softened (3/4 cup)
1 cup tahini — well stirred
4 ounces powdered sugar — (1 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 ounces flour — (2 cups)
1 cup sesame seeds, for rolling

Preheat your oven to 350ºF.

Cream the butter, tahini and powdered sugar together in a stand mixer until smooth. Add the salt and vanilla and mix through.

Scrape the sides of the bowl down, add the flour and mix on low until it’s thoroughly mixed in and forms a dough.

I use a 1 ounce (2 Tbsp.) scoop to portion the dough, then roll them into balls. Roll the balls in the sesame seeds then place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Gently press the balls down until they are approximately 1/2″ thick. Leave an inch between cookies because they will puff up a little as they bake.

Bake one pan of cookies at a time on the middle rack of the oven for 10 minutes. Turn the pan and bake another 10 minutes or until the bottom and edges have lightly browned.

Makes 24-30 cookies.

Radio Silence and Cookies

16 Dec

Haven’t posted in a while, because I’ve been busy working on recipes for the next book!

Yep, Cookies it is.  These are just a few images of what’s been going on in my home kitchen recently.

Much more to come! And between you and me, this is a really delicious book so far.

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