Category Archives: Cookbook Review

Kosher By Design “Brings It Home” {Review and Giveaway}

Kosher By Design brings it home

I am so overwhelmed by this post right now I don’t even know where to start! A cookbook review, a new recipe, a huge giveaway…aaah! First of all, Susie Fishbein, a kosher cookbook legend and one of my personal idols, is back with her final installment of the Kosher By Design series. Kosher By Design Brings It Home: picture-perfect food inspired by my travels (affiliate link) is the grand finale, if you will,  and it is filled with recipes and stories inspired by Susie’s travels around the world.

What I love about this cookbook already (…and I’ve only seen a preview!) are the gorgeous color photos that accompany each recipe. I love seeing these photos because not only do I know what my dish will look like, but just thumbing through a gorgeous cookbook is enjoyable! To me, cookbooks are more than just a resource, they are a work of art, and this cookbook series proudly sits on my bookshelf!

Another thing I love about Susie’s cookbooks is that although her recipes are delicious and perfect for presentation, she makes the cooking process accessible and easy to understand. Many of her recipes are quick an easy, some are for the more seasoned chef, but there is something for everyone. In her most recent cookbooks and especially in “Brings It Home”, there are new and interesting ingredients introduced from around the world. Susie introduces new ingredients through dishes that sound exciting and will have you running to to the store to sample those new flavors.

The official release of this beautiful cookbook is Thursday, February 25, 2016 but I got a sneak preview and I’m finally able to share a recipe with you! I can’t wait to get my hands on my own copy but until then please enjoy this recipe for halvah baklava reproduced from Kosher by Design Brings it Home, by Susie Fishbein, with permission from the copyright holders, ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications. You don’t have to wait for the release, you can preorder your copy right now! I made it easy for you, just follow my affiliate link and place your order asap- Kosher By Design Brings It Home: picture-perfect food inspired by my travels.

Halva Baklava |Kosher by Design Brings it Home

Kosher By Design "Brings It Home"
Serves: 10-12 Servings
  • 15 sheets (from a 1 pound box) phyllo dough, defrosted overnight in the refrigerator
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 1 cup roasted pistachios
  • 1 cup roasted almonds
  • 1 cup roasted pecans
  • 1 pound halvah, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Honey Syrup
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a jellyroll pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
Prepare the filling
  1. Place the pistachios, almonds, pecans, halvah, and vanilla into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal "S" blade. Pulse until ground but not a paste. Set aside.
Prepare the syrup
  1. Place the sugar, honey, water, and lemon juice into a medium pot. Over medium heat, bring just to a boil. Turn down to a simmer; cook for 10 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Place a sheet of phyllo lengthwise on the work surface. Brush with canola oil. Top with another layer of phyllo. Brush with canola.Top with a third layer of phyllo and oil. Roll all four edges ½-inch inward to make a frame. Brush rolled edges with oil.
  3. Spread a thick layer of nut filling over the phyllo. Starting with a short end, roll up, jellyroll fashion; transfer to prepared sheet. Repeat, making 4 more rolled logs. Brush the logs with oil. Using a serrated knife, cut 4 diagonal slits across the top of each log.
  4. Bake, uncovered, for 12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and immediately spoon syrup over the logs. Slice each log into 4-5 slices. Serve 2 slices to a plate. Drizzle with more syrup around the plate.

Now on to the giveaway! This giveaway is open to US mailing addresses only. Giveaway will end in one week from today. Please don’t forget to enter! Do it now!

Artscroll/Mesorah Giveaway

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Something Sweet Cookbook {Review and Giveaway}

Something Sweet Cookbook | Lil Miss Cakes

If I were to write a dessert cookbook, I would want it to be exactly like this one. My friend and fellow food blogger, Miriam Pascal, has worked tirelessly for months on her gorgeous cookbook debut. I had been talking to Miriam throughout the process and am blown away by how much work it takes to put this all together. Miriam shares her kitchen talents on her blog Overtime Cook. She understands that nobody has time to spend hours in the kitchen and tailors her recipes to be quick, simple and impressive. Over the years she not only perfected some amazing recipes, but she also honed her photography skills and took every photo in her cookbook.

Here is some exiting trivia for you: I baked 3 of Miriam’s recipes for her to photograph for this cookbook! The chocolate celebration cake, bakery style cake donuts, and the cookies decorated with royal icing were all done by me using Miriam’s recipes. How cool is that?! I’m so happy to help and I would love to do it again.

“Something Sweet” is really the perfect baking resource. It includes notes about every essential kitchen tool, recipe ingredient substitutions, and baking tips and tricks. Most of the recipes in this stunning book are new, but Miriam did include a few of her readers favorite recipes that were originally posted on her blog.

While Miriam does it all in the kitchen, this book specifically focuses on desserts which I am really excited about. There really is a lack of good kosher dessert cookbooks on the market. Although all the recipes in the book are strictly kosher, these desserts will appeal to everyone; especially those with dairy sensitivities. Nearly every dessert category is covered from cookies and bars, cakes and cupcakes, muffins and pastries, pies and tarts, desserts and party treats, candy and chocolate, drinks and frozen treats and finally, frosting and toppings. She even included a healthy, dairy-free pie crust recipe!

As a cookbook lover, I have read many, many cookbooks. This one has a perfect layout. The recipes are easy to read and the directions are very clear.  Each and every recipe is accompanied by a high quality color photo. A few of the recipes have step-by-step photos to make those possibly complicated steps really easy to understand.

I can’t wait to dig in to these delicious dessert recipes, but the few that immediately caught my eye are the fruity pebble cookies, snickerdoodle bundt cake, cinnamon cheese buns, cookie dough fudge pie, cookies n’ cream stuffed waffles, and chewy sea salt caramels.

Do you want a preview? This recipe for Neapolitan Trifles from Something Sweet by Miriam Pascal, is reproduced with permission from the copyright holders, ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications.

Neapolitan Trifle Recipe from Something Sweet | Lil Miss Cakes

Neapolitan Trifles | Something Sweet Cookbook
Serves: 12-14
Chocolate Crumbs
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ⅔ cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup oil
Strawberry Mousse
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream or nondairy whip topping
  • 1 cup strawberry pie filling, pureed
  • 8 oz. cream cheese or soy cream cheese
  • ⅓ cup sour cream or soy sour cream
  • 1 tsp, vanilla extract
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
Vanilla Cream
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream or nondairy whip topping
  • ⅓ cup powdered sugar
Prepare the chocolate crumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
  2. Combine all crumb ingredients in a bowl. Mix until combined and the texture of crumbs. (I found it easiest to mix this with my fingers.)
  3. Spread the crumbs in a single layer on prepared baking sheet; bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven; cool completely before assembling the trifles.
Prepare the strawberry mousse
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, on high speed, beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form.Remove whipping cream to another bowl. There's no need to wash the bowl before continuing.
  2. Add pie filling, cream cheese, sour cream, and vanilla to mixer bowl. Beat on medium speed until combined and smooth. Add powdered sugar; beat until incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold whipped cream into strawberry mixture until combined. Set aside.
Prepre the vanilla cream
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, on high speed, beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Reduce mixer speed to low. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until combined.
  1. Place crumbs into a 6-ounce jar or cup, filling it about one-quarter full, Spoon or pipe strawberry mousse over crumbs, filling container a little more than three-quarters full. Pipe on vanilla cream, filling container almost to the top. Repeat with remaining jars.

Plan Ahead: These trifles freeze beautifully. Move them into the fridge for a couple of hours before serving to allow them to soften a bit.

Now for the giveway sponsored by Artscroll/Mesorah Publications!  One lucky reader will win a free copy of Something Sweet.  Contest open to US mailing addresses only.  One winner will be chosen at random. Giveaway ends  at 11:59PM EST on Monday, December 28, 2015. Please provide a valid email address; winner will be notified via email. Winner has 24 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. Good Luck!

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Secret Restaurant Recipes Cookbook {review and giveaway}

Secret Restaurant Recipes

I’m sure by now you have heard of this exciting new cookbook!  Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek, authors of the “Made Easy” cookbooks are back with an exciting new cookbook concept!  Leah and Victoria go into the kitchens of more than 70 top kosher restaurants for all over the world to share the recipes behind the dishes that keep us coming back for more. Not only does this book share secret recipes, but these famous chefs share tips, tricks, and techniques that every home cook would love to learn!

What really draws me to cookbooks these days, are the photos included, and this cookbook does not disappoint.  There is  huge color photo for every recipe in this book!  I have already made a few dishes from this book, and they came out exactly as pictured!

I was expecting this gorgeous book to be filled with complicated recipes, but there is a nice range of recipes from simpler to slightly more complex.  A beginner cook will find plenty of recipes to try and can work up to more complicated recipes and techniques.  Some of the recipes require a bit of ingredient sourcing, but as a foodie, this is not a drawback!  I love learning about new ingredients and given a great recipe, I learn how to use these ingredients.  With kosher supermarkets really catering towards kosher foodies, it is not too hard to find new and interesting ingredients.

I love to cook, but as a pastry chef, I am always drawn to the dessert section of cookbooks.  While this book does not offer a huge selection of desserts, the recipes that Leah and Victoria do share look incredible.  Artscroll/Mesorah Publications has given me permission to share this decadent dairy dessert recipe for Praline Brownies from Bagels ‘N Greens.

Praline brownies

Praline Brownies
Serves: 24-30 bars
  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1⅓ cups (11 oz) sugar
  • 1 cup (5 oz) flour
  • ½ cup (2 oz) cocoa
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp nut extract (optional)
  • 2 tsp praline extract (optional)
  • 7 oz white chocolate, coarsely chopped
Chocolate Frosting
  • 10 oz milk chocolate
  • 4 Tbsp praline paste
  • 4 oz mixed crunchy nuts
  • chocolate and white chocolate curls
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line a rimmed 9 x 13-inch baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Melt chocolate with the butter.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip eggs and sugar at high speed for 5-6 minutes.
  4. Carefully pour in melted chocolate mixture. Sift in flour, cocoa, and salt. Mix until mixture is smooth and shiny, about 4 minutes. Add in extracts, if using. Fold in white chocolate.
  5. Pour batter into prepared baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes (the edges should be hard, top cracked, and middle soft).
  6. Prepare the frosting: Melt chocolate over a double boiler. Add praline paste and mix until combined. Gently pour over the top of the cake. Tilt the pan sideways until entire cake is fully covered. Sprinkle nuts or chocolate curls on top. Refrigerate for 15 minutes, until frosting is set. Let cool before slicing into bars.

Now for the giveway sponsored by Artscroll/Mesorah Publications!  One lucky reader will win a free copy of Secret Restaurant Recipes.  Contest open to US mailing addresses only.  One winner will be chosen at random. Giveaway ends  at 10AM EST on Wednesday, January 15, 2015 Please provide a valid email address; winner will be notified via email. Winner has 24 hours to respond or another winner will be chosen. Giveaway is over! Congrats to Manda!
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