All posts by Melissa

Challah Bread {Recipe}

Challah Bread | Lil Miss Cakes

I have been talking about my challah recipe for weeks and weeks. Maybe even years? But I wasn’t quite ready to share it until now. I have been tweaking it each time I baked it, and now I’m pretty sure it’s perfect! I’ll explain my process as well as tips and tricks I use to make my challah picture perfect.

Lets talk about yeast. I buy active dry yeast in bulk. I store it in an airtight container in the back of my fridge. It stays fresh for months that way. You can also store it in the freezer. Then when I’m making challah, cinnamon buns, vanilla rugelach, or anything else that calls for yeast, I’m ready to go. Here are some tips for using active dry yeast. When mixing your yeast with water and sugar, that is called proofing. When proofing your yeast, if your yeast mixture is not puffy or bubbly after 5-10 minutes it is probably dead. Please discard it; your bread will not rise. Your yeast could have been old, or your water could have been too hot or cold. The water temperature should be between 105 and 110 degrees F. If you don’t have a thermometer, run the water over your wrist. If it feels warm, it’s just above body temperature (98.6 degrees F) and should work perfectly to proof your yeast.

If you buy instant yeast, you can proof it first, but you can also  just add it directly in with the flour; there is no need to proof it with water. Then continue the recipe as normal. If you buy rapid rise you should add it directly to your flour. You should then technically knead the dough and immediately shape the bread. Then allow to rise and bake. The rapid rise yeast is not meant to rise twice. I would stay away from it altogether just because it makes things more complicated and you may have different results.

I like to mix my dough until it just comes together, leaving out the salt. Then I allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. This gives the flour some time to absorb the liquids in the dough. I find that if I mix it all right away, I need to add more and more flour to make the dough stop sticking. By allowing the flour to properly hydrate, the dough doesn’t usually need extra flour. I live in New York and this recipe works for me, but if you live in a higher elevation or very different climate, you may need to adjust your flour amounts, rising, or baking times and temps.

Once your dough is mixed and smooth, place it in an oiled bowl. Rub a thin coat of oil all over the dough. I like to lay a piece of plastic wrap directly over my dough. Then I add a second piece of plastic wrap over the entire bowl, completely sealing it. You can also just rest a clean kitchen towel over the bowl. Allow the dough to rise in a warm place until doubled. If it is a hot summer day, it may double in 45 minutes. If it is really cold in your kitchen, it could take up to 2 hours. If it’s a cold day, I like to turn my oven on very low, place my dough on top and sometimes even crack the oven open slightly. Or I will run my dishwasher and place the dough nearby so it benefits from the warmth. Just be careful not to overheat your rising dough. Do what works for you!

If you have mixed your dough but don’t have time to bake it, place it directly in the fridge. Do not allow it to rise first. The dough will rise in the fridge, it will just rise very slowly. You can even allow it to rise in the fridge overnight. Just make sure to bring the dough to room temperature before continuing. Your dough may smell extra yeasty or l ike alcohol. This is okay! Your dough just had extra time to ferment and let off extra alcohol gasses. Do not allow your dough to rise on the counter overnight, you have eggs in the dough which are perishable.

When I make this recipe, I divide my dough into 6 equal pieces, 6 equal challahs. Then I braid each challah and bake them in greased Magic Mill oval challah pans, size 8 (8″). If I want larger challahs, I divide my dough into 3 loaves and bake them in Magic Mill oval challah pans, size 10 (10″). If I doubled my recipe, (and it does double beautifully) I would bake 6 loaves in the size 10 challah pans. The pans that I use are technically non-stick, but I like to grease my pans with cake release before placing my braided dough inside. You can use cooking spray, but I find that it leaves a sticky residue behind.

Once my challah loaves are braided, I brush them with egg wash and cover them loosely with a clean kitchen towel. Then I preheat my oven. Allow the bread to rise until doubled in size. This can take anywhere from 30 minutes, to 1 1/2 hours. You can test your dough by pressing your finger into the bread slightly. If your dough springs back, it’s not ready yet. If your indentation stays, your dough is ready for the oven. You can carefully brush with egg wash again and then bake.

Bake for about 30 minutes until the bread is evenly browned and the challah sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.  Baking time can vary depending on the size you shaped your bread. Allow to cool and enjoy!

Once my challah bread is baked, it freezes beautifully, just make sure to wrap it well in plastic wrap and a freezer bag.

Challah Bread {Recipe}
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups warm water
  • 2 packages active dry yeast (4½ tsp.)
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ------------------
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup oil
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2.5 pounds flour (7-8 cups)
  • 1 Tbs. salt
Instructions
  1. In a medium sized bowl mix the warm water with the yeast and ½ cup of sugar. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside to proof for 5-10 minutes.
  2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, add the eggs, oil, sugar, and flour. Turn the mixer to low speed and pour in the yeast mixture. Mix for a minute or two until the dough just comes together. (It will look shaggy and messy). Turn the mixer off and allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes.
  3. After 10 minutes, add the salt then turn the mixer back on and mix until the dough is smooth and shiny; about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Once the dough is smooth, transfer to a large oiled bowl. The bowl should have enough room to allow the dough to double inside. Make sure the dough is completely covered in a thin coat of oil. Then cover and allow to rise. It needs to double in size. This can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours.
  5. Once risen, divide the dough, braid, and egg wash. Cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel.
  6. Allow to double in size again. This can take 30 minutes to 1½ hours.
  7. While the dough is rising for the second time, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  8. Once risen, carefully brush with more egg wash and bake until golden brown. Baking time varies depending on the size that you shaped your bread.

 

Perfect for Pesach Cookbook {Review and Giveaway}

Perfect for Pesach

Naomi Nachman aka “The Aussie Gourmet” is out with her debut cookbook “Perfect for Pesach”. This cookbook is geared toward Passover cooking and baking, but according to Naomi, the recipes are so good, you’ll want to make them all year. 120 of the recipes are gluten free which makes this cookbook perfect for those with gluten dietary restrictions. When I asked Naomi why she chose to write this specific book she noted that she really wanted to break the mold of Passover cooking. It doesn’t have to be all meat and potatoes.

Not only does this cookbook contain 125 recipes, it is also a great Passover kitchen resource. It starts off with an entire page breaking down 6 cooking oils you may come across at the supermarket and why certain oils are chosen for certain recipes. Naomi includes a breakdown of her essential kitchen tools which is a perfect checklist for anyone cooking for Passover. She also includes tons of freezer tips because nobody wants to spend the entire holiday cooking in the kitchen.

The book is then broken up into classic categories: appetizers, dips ad salads, soups, fish, poultry, meat, dairy, sides, and desserts. Each recipe has a little note from Naomi, as well as a clear list of ingredients and a step by step method for preparing the dish. There are also cooks tips such as ingredient substitutions or different cooking methods that can be used. Many of the recipes also include ways to prep the recipe in advance. This sets you up for success in the kitchen. And although these recipes can be prepared as is for year round use, there is a page of non-Passover substitutions that can be used in place of Passover specific ingredients.

The best part of any cookbook, in my opinion, is the pictures. And this cookbook has a gorgeous full page color photo of every recipe. Miriam Pascal the Overtime Cook did all the photography for this book. She really knows how to make the food pop off the page.

So many of the recipes look amazing, but the recipes I really want to try first are southwestern chicken egg rolls, hush puppy potato knishes, quionoa “hummus”, charoset salad, goat cheese salad with raspberry vinaigrette, flanken butternut squash soup, meat and cabbage soup, pistachio crusted salmon, braised chicken with apples and sweet potatoes, citrus glazed duck breast, cranberry glazed turkey and spinach meatloaf, maple glazed rack of ribs, veal roast with mushroom sauce, pastrami meatballs, almond butter banana pancakes, cheesy hash browns, apple kugel muffins, blueberry cobbler, and fudgy chocolate bundt cake with coffee glaze. Lucky for us, with permission from Artscroll/Shaar Press/ March 2017 I am able to share Naomi Nachmans Passover recipe for fudgy chocolate bundt cake with coffee glaze!

fudgy chocolate bundt cake with coffee glaze

Fudgy Chocolate Bundt Cake with Coffee Glaze
Author: 
 
Ingredients
Cake
  • 2½ cups almond flour
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup potato starch
  • 1 Tbs. instant coffee granules
  • 1½ tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ½ cup oil
  • 1 Tbs. imitation vanilla extract
  • 6 eggs
Coffee Glaze
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbs. brewed coffee
  • 1 tsp. oil
Instructions
Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a Bundt pan well; set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together almond flour, coca powder, potato starch, coffee, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, vanilla, and eggs. Add dry ingredients; stir to combine.
  4. Pour batter into Bundt pan; bake 40-45 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely in the pan. Remove from pan; glaze with coffee glaze.
Coffee Glaze
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together all ingredients to form a glaze. If the glaze is too thick to pour, add water, ½ teaspoon at a time, until desired texture is reached.
  2. Pour glaze over cooled cake.

I was generously given a review copy of Perfect for Pesach by Naomi Nachman from Artscroll/Shaar Press/ March 2017 and they have agreed to give one away too! To win your very own copy of Perfect for Pesach by Naomi Nachman, head over to my Instagram @lilmisscakes to enter. US mailing address only.

Macy’s Shopping Bag Cake

Macys Shopping Bag Cake | Lil Miss Cakes

This cake was made for a lady who loves shopping. What better way to celebrate than with a shopping bag cake! I built the cake pretty tall in a rectangle shape. Then I paneled the cake with white fondant.

Macys Cake Rose | Lil Miss Cakes

I added some gum paste roses to the side of the cake, I love how they look. They really balance out the cake.

Macys Cake Handles | Lil Miss Cakes

To make the handles I took some thick wire and  bent it. Then I wrapped it with white fondant before inserting it into the top of the cake.

Macys Bag Tissue Paper | Lil Miss Cakes

I rolled out tons on red fondant using my pasta roller to get the pieces very thin. Then I cut small rectangles of fondant and ruffled them by folding them up and allowing them to dry slightly before attaching them to the cake.

Gymnastics Sheet Cake

Gymnastics Cake | Lil Miss Cakes

Going through some older photos I found this cake I made 3 years ago! I’m pretty sure I have never shared it until now. The design is still in style this cake could have been made today. I love this cake style and I think it’s safe to say it’s still trending. This is a simple style but still so perfect. The cake is covered in buttercream rosettes made using either a Wilton 1M or 2D tip. I don’t remember which one I used here but I often switch off depending on my mood. The pink color gets lighter with each layer. A simple fondant topper finishes off the look.

This post contains affiliate links. I have linked to the piping tips I love listed on Amazon. Purchasing through my links supports my shop and allows me to share all my tips, tricks, and recipes with you. Thanks for your support!

The Silver Platter: Simple Elegance {Review and Giveaway}

The Silver Platter: Simple EleganceThe Silver Platter: Simple Elegance is the second book by Daniella Silver. After the success of her first cookbook, The Silver Platter: Simple to Spectacular, Daniella has yet again teamed up with cooking guru Norene Gilletz. These two ladies make an amazing team and have put out another winning cookbook. Daniella comes up with impressive dishes with simple ingredients and Norene gives some really interesting and helpful tips for each and every dish. This book contains over 160 new recipes with tricks and techniques for planning, prepping, and serving stunning dishes for any occasion.

I love the layout of this book. Each recipe has a small introduction. The ingredients are clearly listed, and the directions are easy to understand. Each recipe includes “Norene’s Notes” which can be anything from make ahead tips, to substitutions,  leftover ideas, Passover options, preparation tips, and even nutritional information. Every recipe is also paired with a gorgeous color photo to give you an idea of what your dish will look like as well as plating ideas. The cookbook itself is nice and big and is just gorgeous to flip thorough-it makes a beautiful coffee table book and makes the perfect gift.

The book is broken up into categories: appetizers, soups, salads, fish, poultry, meat, dairy, grain side dishes, vegetable side dishes, cookies and treats, and cakes. I like how easy Daniella and Norene make it to be healthful. Not only are the recipes lightened up when possible, but at the end of the book you will find a clear breakdown of the nutritional information for each recipe.

Some recipes I’m excited to try: roasted eggplant salad, pulled BBQ beef nachos, sweet potato and kale soup, cheesy potato leek soup, balsamic spinach salad with carmelized onions, honey garlic herbed salmon, chili lime fish fillets, smoked turkey cabbage slaw, asian flavored miami ribs, quinoa pizza ramekins, spinach cheese bites, candied cauliflower with almonds, peanut butter cookie brownies, brown sugar peach crisp, and salted chocolate ganache tart.

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cake

I am excited to share this recipe for Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cake from THE SILVER PLATTER SIMPLE ELEGANCE: Effortless Recipes with Sophisticated Results by Daniella Silver and Norene Gilletz reproduced with permission from the copyright holder, Artscroll, November 2016.

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cake
Author: 
Serves: 2 Loaves
 
You can’t beat the combination of fruit and chocolate in this fragrant cranberry loaf. Perfectly tart and sweet, it’s a great cake for breakfast, brunch, or an after-dinner treat. It makes two loaves, so freeze the second one for another occasion.
Ingredients
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • 1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ½ cups orange juice
  • 2 ½ cups flour (or gluten-free flour with xanthan gum)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (no need to thaw)
  • 1 ½ cups mini chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat eggs with sugar, oil, and vanilla on medium-high speed for 3-5 minutes, until light.
  3. Reduce mixer speed to low; gradually blend in orange juice.
  4. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until combined. Fold in cranberries and chocolate chips.
  5. Divide batter evenly between prepared loaf pans; spread evenly. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out dry.
  6. Allow loaves to cool for 20 minutes. Invert onto serving platters.
Norene's Notes
  1. Muffin Variation: In Step 5, scoop batter into muffin pans coated with nonstick spray or lined with paper liners until ¾-full. Bake at 375°F for about 25 minutes. Yields 18-24 muffins.
  2. Frozen cranberries don’t need to be thawed. Just rinse and pat them dry with paper towels before folding them into the batter.

Want to win your very own copy? Artscroll has offered to give one free copy of The Silver Platter: Simple Elegance to one of you! Head over to my Instagram @lilmisscakes for a chance to win! US mailing addresses only.

DIY Cake Release

Cake Release | Lil Miss Cakes

Cake release, also known as cake goop, is kind of a bakery secret. Ever have a cake stick in the pan even though you sprayed an entire can of cooking spray before baking? You could brush butter, then coat with flour. That will definitely do the trick, but then you may have a coat of flour on the outside of you cake, not to mention the mess involved in the process. Cake release is a mixture of equal parts shortening, oil, and flour, used to coat any baking pan before filling with batter. I always keep a jar of it on hand, ready to use to coat any baking pan. It kind of seems like magic when my cakes just slide right out of their pans.

Cake Release | Lil Miss Cakes

The recipe is equal parts oil, vegetable shortening, and flour. I add 1 cup of each into the bowl of my mixer and beat until smooth. It takes a bit of time to work out the lumps but it’s necessary. Once smooth, store your cake release in a jar or container until ready to use. It can be stored at room temperature for a few months. I use mine all the time, so it never lasts that long.

Brushing Cake Release | Lil Miss Cakes

To use, just take a pastry brush and coat your entire pan. Easy peasy! Hope this helps take your baking to the next level!

Apple Cider Muffins {Recipe}

Apple Cider Muffins | Lil Miss CakesI’m really excited about this recipe. It’s perfect for this time of year, and really any time of year actually. But these definitely do remind me of fall, when the leaves are changing and the sweaters and boots come out.

Apple Cider Muffins | Lil Miss Cakes

I got a frantic call from a devoted mom trying to pull off the perfect autumn themed bake sale. She was planning to have warm cider and spiced apple cider donuts, but couldn’t source the perfect donuts anywhere. She had 2 days until the event when she called me. I told her there was no way I could pull off making 100 fresh donuts, but how about muffins? Perfect-muffins will be great! The only problem was I had never made apple cider muffins. I scoured the internet for a recipe and came across this one from New England Today’s Food section. It sounded like a winner. With a few tweaks I adapted the recipe to be dairy-free, perfect for my needs. These muffins promised to be better the next day and they sure do deliver!

Apple Cider Muffins {Recipe}
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12-18 Regular Sized Muffins
 
Ingredients
Muffins
  • 2 cups sweet apple cider, reduced to 1 cup
  • ¼ cup oil
  • ¼ cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Topping
  • ½ cup margarine (I like Earth Balance)
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 Tbs. cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Measure the apple cider and pour into small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook until the cider is reduced to 1 cup. Allow to cool. This can be done in advance and stored in the fridge until ready to use.
  2. Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
  3. Spray regular or mini muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  4. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the oil, apple sauce, and sugar until blended.
  5. Add in the eggs one at a time and mix until blended.
  6. Add in the vanilla.
  7. In a separate bowl combine the flour, fresh nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir the dry ingredients to combine.
  8. With the mixer running on low add the dry ingredients to the mixer alternating with the reduced and cooled apple cider, starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
  9. Once the batter comes together, spoon the batter into prepared muffin pan. I like to fill mine half way (for 18 regular muffins) but you can go ¾ of the way up for a larger muffin (12 regular muffins). You can also make minis, just reduce the baking time.
  10. Bake for about 15 minutes until the muffins spring back to the touch. Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before adding the topping.
  11. In small bowl melt the margarine. In a second bowl combine the sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
  12. Once the muffins are cool enough to handle, brush the muffins with the melted margarine on all sides, then roll in the cinnamon-sugar.
  13. Store in an airtight container. They are perfect right away but are even better the next day.

Cookie Butter Crispy Treats {Recipe}

Cookie Butter Crispy Treats

Cookie butter is all the rage right now. I love the speculoos cookies, but the cookie spread is a little too sweet to eat on its own. I know that’s not the popular opinion, but it’s mine and I’m sticking to it! So I keep trying to use it in different desserts. Some have been successful and some have flopped. This recipe is a definite success. It’s also a no bake recipe, which is why I tried it in the first place. I was preparing dinner, pot roast. I was so proud of myself, I prepped early! But as I was putting my roast in the over for 3-4 hours on 275 degrees F, I realized I couldn’t bake anything else! Cookie butter crispy treats to the rescue.

Cookie Butter Drizzle | Lil Miss Cakes

This recipe is super easy and quick. You need a bit of patience to get it right, but it’s worth the minimal effort! I used to use marshmallow cream to make traditional crispy treats. Don’t get me wrong, they taste great, but they were always gooey and messy. Plus they would fall apart, and I wanted these to hold their shape. I asked my friend Rebecca of I Want That Dessert fame, for her tips and tricks. She always posts these perfect looking treats and I just had to know how she does it! Cookie Butter Treats | Lil Miss Cakes

Rebecca had a few very key points for success. In order to make perfect looking dairy free kosher marshmallow treats: use Paskesz brand mini marshmallows. According to Rebecca, these are the best ones to use, they melt really nicely. (This is not a sponsored post, I’m just sharing my preferred brand with you!) Also, use the microwave! Melt the margarine (or butter) in a large bowl in the microwave. I added the cookie butter in  at this point as well. Then dump in the marshmallows and stir. Heat the marshmallow mixture for 10 seconds at a time mixing in between. It will take some time here. You may think this will never work. You may want to give up. DONT! Do not give up. Keep heating and mixing. The marshmallows will melt. As soon as the mixture is smooth and gooey pour in the rice cereal. Mix quickly and carefully, this will be hot! Pour the mixture into a prepared pan and press flat. I lined a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper and got flatter treats. For thicker treats use an 8×8 inch or 9×9 inch square. To help press into the pan, spray your hands with cooking spray so the treats won’t stick. Once the treats are firmly packed, allow to cool and then cut into squares. Easy, amazing, dairy-free, no-bake perfection! Cookie Butter Crispy Stack | Lil Miss Cakes

The cookie butter crispy treats are perfect as is, but my husband needed more cookie butter intensity. In that case, just melt some extra cookie butter and drizzle it down on top!

Cookie Butter Crispy Treats {Recipe}
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 24 squares
 
Ingredients
  • 4 Tbs. margarine
  • ⅔ cup crunchy or smooth cookie butter (such as Lotus Brand)
  • pinch of salt
  • 8 oz. package of Paskez mini marshmallows
  • 5 cups crispy rice cereal
Instructions
  1. Line a baking pan with parchment paper and set aside. For thinner treats use a 9x13 inch pan. For thicker treats use an 8x8 or 9x9 inch pan. Set aside.
  2. Measure out the rice cereal and set aside.
  3. In a large microwave safe bowl (large enough to accommodate all the cereal), melt the margarine, cookie butter, and salt.
  4. Once melted, pour in the marshmallows and stir to coat.
  5. Continue microwaving on high for 10 seconds at a time, stirring in between. This process could take 2-3 minutes but will ensure success.
  6. Once completely melted, pour in the cereal and quickly stir to combine.
  7. Pour cereal mixture into prepared pan and press firmly into place.
  8. Allow to cool and then cut into squares.

Chocolate Sugar Cookies {Recipe}

Chocolate Sugar Cookies | Lil Miss Cakes

When a recipe for chocolate sugar cookies from Handmade Charlotte showed up on my Instagram feed, I knew I had to try it. I’ve been craving a chocolate sugar cookie for as long as I could remember and this cookie looked perfect.. But if you have been here before you know I specialize in dairy free desserts so I had to adapt the recipe to fit my needs. I also added a pinch of cinnamon for a bit more of a complex flavor. You won’t really taste it but it gives a nice background flavor that pairs nicely with the chocolate.

Chocolate Sugar Cookie Bite | Lil Miss CakesThese cookies are chocolate heaven. They are intense but also sweet. The sugar coating adds a really nice crunchy coating while the inside is chewy and tender. To get the cookies this really deep almost black color I used Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa. It’s a combination of regular cocoa powder and dutch process cocoa powder and I’m kind of obsessed with it lately. I find it in my local supermarket but I’ll include an affiliate link in case you can’t find it locally: Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa, 8-Ounce Container (Pack of 2). You can probably use regular cocoa powder but your cookies will look a lot lighter in color. They also freeze well! Here is my dairy-free recipe adapted from Handmade Charlotte.

Chocolate Sugar Cookies {Recipe}
Author: 
Serves: 36
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups + 2 Tbs. flour
  • ¾ cup Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 4 Tbs. margarine
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • ¼ cup sugar for rolling
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.
  2. In a medium sized bowl combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine and set asode.
  3. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the shortening, margarine, and sugars until smooth.
  4. Add in the eggs one at a time making sure to combine well after each addition.
  5. Add the vanilla and cinnamon and mix to combine.
  6. With the mixer on low add in the flour mixture and mix until the cookie dough comes together.
  7. Using a medium sized cookie scoop, form balls of batter. Roll in the sugar and set each cookie on the prepared cookie sheet.
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the cookies are flat and cracked on top.
  9. Allow to cool on wire rack before enjoying!

Here’s an affiliate link to my favorite cookie scoop and the size I used in this recipe:

Our Table Cookbook {Review and Giveaway}

Our Table by Renee Muller

 

 In Our Table, food stylist and recipe columnist Renee Muller shares her simple and delicious kosher family recipes. Each recipe calls for everyday ingredients, all easily accessible, and is accompanied by full color photos. Both of those components as well as the easy to follow directions and tips make this cookbook perfect for a beginner in the kitchen as well as a great resource for the seasoned chef. The cookbook is not only for the kitchen, it makes a stunning coffee table book. Renee brings her expert food styling skills to each and every photo. This is something I really look for in a great cookbook. I love looking at beautiful food and love seeing what the recipe will look like.

The book is filled with recipe tips, suggestions, and techniques to help in the kitchen. Some of the recipes also include links to online video tutorials. As Renee was writing she wished she could be there with her readers in the kitchen. “Many times while writing down recipe instructions, I wished I could just invite my readers to join me in my kitchen and cook with me.  That thought led me to create a variety of videos of some of the recipes so you can view them as you want and see some of the techniques I use when cooking my recipes.”  I love this idea, it’s like getting personal cooking classes with Renee Muller!

The categories in the cookbook include Appetizers, Soups & Salads, Fish & Dairy, Meat, Chicken & More, Snacks & Sides, Bread, Cakes & Cookies, and Desserts. Each recipe is labeled as Meat, Dairy,  or Pareve as well as Freezer Friendly or Gluten Free. There is even a Pesach (Passover) guide with substitutions so many recipes can be used over the holiday as well.

I have already made the Belgian Birthday Waffles  and My Most Favorite White Flour Challah which were both a huge hit! I cant wait to try Mommy’s Stuffed Cabbage,  Mushroom Barley Soup Done Right,  Lo Mein, Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Tart, Sweet and Tangy Spare Ribs, Oven Baked Honey Mustard Chicken,  Babka Swirls, Just Right Cookies, and Malky’s Old Fashioned Apple Bake.

Apple and Honey Rosh Hashanah Muffins | Renee Muller

I am delighted to share this recipe for Apple and Honey Rosh Hashanah Muffins from Our  Table by Renee Muller reproduced with permission from the copyright holder, ArtScroll Publications, October 2016.

Apple and Honey Rosh Hashana Muffins
Author: 
Serves: 48
 
At our house, Rosh Hashanah cannot happen without honey muffins. At least, that’s the way my kids see it. It’s a family project, and by now, a family tradition, too. This recipe was given to me by a relative in Israel who bakes them all the time and claims that no matter how many batches she bakes, there are never enough. She’s absolutely right. We once baked a quadruple batch of these (sans the apples) for a bake sale on our block and we were left without a crumb!
Ingredients
For The Apples
  • 2 Tablespoons butter OR margarine
  • 4 Granny Smith apples, diced
  • 4 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
For the muffins
  • 2 cups prepared tea, lukewarm
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups oil
  • 2 cups honey
  • 12 eggs
  • 6 cups flour
  • 2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 heaping Tablespoons cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.
  2. Prepare the apples: In a saucepan, melt butter over a medium-low flame. Add apples, sugar, and cinnamon; cook until apples are fragrant and soften a bit, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. Prepare the muffins: In the bowl of a stand mixer, on medium speed, combine tea, sugar, oil, honey, and eggs. Mix until smooth. Reduce speed; gradually add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed.
  4. Fill each muffin cup halfway with batter. (I like to use a cupcake pen for this; I find it very helpful.) Top with a teaspoon of prepared apples. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out almost dry with some moist crumbs attached.
note: The apples are optional; I find that some children prefer the muffins plain. We add the apple for Rosh Hashanah (very loudly singing, “Dip the apple in the hooooneeeyy” as we do so) but throughout the year, we bake them plain.
tip: I recently discovered an amazing gadget called “The Cupcake (or Muffin) Pen.” It really removes the whole messy aspect of filling cupcake pans with batter. Look for it in specialty equipment stores.

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