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Orange Pistachio Dark Chocolate Rugelach

Rugelach is a Jewish dessert that I saw on Molly Yeh’s blog. We were also gifted some over Christmas from J’s coworker and it was SO good. I decided to make it last night and put my own spin on it! One of my best friends gave me some amazing smelling stovetop holiday potpourri for Christmas which inspired a lot of the flavors in this.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cup (325g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/8 cup (25g) sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup (226g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
8 oz (226g) cream cheese, straight from the fridge
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract, optional
1 1/2 cup (260g) dark/bittersweet chocolate
Zest of 1 small orange, optional
Roasted pistachios, ground, optional
Sanding sugar and Maldon salt, optional
Egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with a splash of water

Instructions:

  1. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle. Add the cubed butter, distributing it all over the top of the dry ingredients, and dollop in the cream cheese (1” dollops should do it, but it doesn’t need to be perfect). Turn the mixer on low and stir until the mixture is mostly mealy and there are still some larger clumps of butter and cream cheese in tact. Continue mixing and add the yolks, vanilla, and almond extract, if using, and then continue mixing until the dough comes together. Divide the dough in half and shape into discs. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to two days.
  2. To form the rugelach, melt the chocolate in a double boiler while stirring or in a microwaveable bowl in 30-second increments, stirring after each. Mix in the orange zest. Set aside to cool briefly while you roll out the dough. Working with one dough disc at a time, roll it out on a lightly floured surface, dusting with flour as needed to prevent it from sticking, until it is a wide rectangle, 18” by 9”. Use an offset spatula to spread on half of the chocolate in a thin even layer, leaving a 1” border along the long edge that’s furthest from you (try to work kinda quickly so the chocolate doesn’t harden). Brush the 1” border with a thin layer of egg wash and then start on the end closest to you and roll the dough into a long tight log, placing it seam side down. Transfer to a cutting board or baking sheet and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to two days (depending on fridge space, you might want to cut the log in half so you’re dealing with four shorter logs as opposed to two really long ones). If you’re only refrigerating for an hour or two, no need to cover the logs. If longer than that, cover with plastic wrap.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375ºF and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Brush the logs with a thin layer of egg wash, sprinkle with ground pistachios or a few pinches of flaky salt and sanding sugar, if using. Cut into 1 1/2” slices and transfer to the baking sheets, 1” apart. Bake until golden brown on top; begin checking for doneness at 20 minutes. Let cool on the pans for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely or enjoy them warm! Leftovers can be stored at room temp for several days.

Adapted from Molly Yeh

Homemade Hummus

For some reason, homemade hummus has always sounded daunting to me. But whenever I really thought about it, I knew it was probably the easiest thing to just blend everything together in the food processor. My thinking was right, but it does take a lot of time to end up with a batch of hummus (if you used dried chickpeas). I think it’s strictly the convenience of buying a tub of hummus at the store that kept me doing that. Now that I’ve finally made it at home, I think I’ve been converted.

Purists say that you can only used dried and cooked chickpeas to make authentic hummus. Again, for convenience sake, a lot of bloggers say that canned chickpeas work just fine and don’t really make a difference in the outcome. I used dried and cooked chickpeas for this hummus because J bought a ton on sale at the grocery store, but you do you! Whatever works best.

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Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas (15 oz), drained and rinsed or 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup water (and more as needed)
  • 1 large garlic clove or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • juice of 1 or 2 lemons, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • Smoked paprika, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in food processor and blend until desired consistency. Taste as you go and add more garlic, lemon juice, salt, water, tahini, based on your desired tastes and consistency.
  2. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil, paprika, and herbs. Serve with pita, veggies, or what have you.
  3. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to a week.

     

    You can easily make this hummus into whatever you want. If you’d like to add roasted garlic, do it! Or add some roasted red peppers. Or substitute some chickpeas for other beans. Honestly, you can experiment with whatever flavors you want.

Beet Red Velvet Cake

Red velvet cake is my guilty pleasure. Which is always interesting to me and most people because I’m a huge advocate for natural things…which red velvet is most certainly not. Every time I make traditional red velvet, I shudder at the entire bottle of red dye going into it. But something about the luxurious color and flavor (probably from the food dye lol) makes it so enticing for me.

I’ve been trying (with not much success) to naturally dye red velvet or leave the dye out. Natural dyes don’t do much and I end up with a strange brown color that’s not “chocolate” enough to look normal. Leaving the dye out somehow changes the experience and the flavor.

Enter in, BEET red velvet cake. I finally had a leftover beet to use to make this cake that I’ve been wanting to try for forever. It has a lovely, moist crumb and a tangy and earthy flavor. This will probably be my go-to red velvet now that I know I can leave out the food dye!

P.S. Roast the beets in the oven, even though it takes forever. I tried to microwave them and I almost set my microwave on fire, all the while making my entire kitchen smell like awful smoke for hours. The microwave still has a lingering smoky smell to this day…whoops.

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Ingredients

  • 3 medium beets
  • ¾ cup (170 grams) butter, softened
  • ¾ cup (180 milliliters) buttermilk, room temperature
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (200 grams) cake flour (sift before measuring)
  • 3 tablespoons (24 grams) Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 ⅛ teaspoon (6 grams) baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon (6 grams) salt
  • ½ teaspoon (3 grams) baking soda
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 3 eggs

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Wash beets and wrap in aluminum foil. Bake until the tip of a knife slides easily into the largest beet, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool until beets can be handled, then peel. (This may be done up to a day ahead.)
  2. Butter and flour two 8 inch or 9 inch cake pans.
  3. In a food processor, chop beets to pieces about the size of finely diced onions. Measure 1 cup and set aside (remaining beets can be reserved for another purpose). Return cup of beets to the food processor. Purée with buttermilk, lemon juice, vinegar and vanilla until smooth.
  4. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter until soft. Slowly add sugar and beat until creamy. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
  6. Alternate adding flour mixture and beet mixture to butter mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, and beating for 10 seconds after each addition. Scrape down the bowl after each addition of the wet ingredients.
  7. Divide batter between prepared cake pans, smoothing the tops. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the cake comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Remove pans from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.
  8. To assemble, place cake layer flat side down on a serving platter. Drop icing onto cake and, using a flat spatula, spread evenly over top. Place second layer flat side down on top of first layer. Use remaining frosting to cover top and sides of cake.

Adapted from NYT Cooking.

Beet and Sweet Potato Galette with Almond Crust

Galettes are just rustic one crust pies. Or at least that’s what I think. They’re my lazy, often savory, pies.

I’m a huge lover of buttery crust so I’m always on board when a dinner is tasty and has a ton of crust. It’s probably not the most healthful thing, but oh well, I’m eating all my veggies too in this one!

In order to make myself feel slightly better, I made the crust with mostly almond flour. You can let me know whether or not that’s actually “better.” 🙂

Ingredients

For the crust

  •  cups almond flour
  • ½ cup tapioca or all purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • tablespoons cold grass-fed butter, cubed
  • egg cold

For the filling

  • 4 oz softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 small sweet potato
  • 1 medium beet, peeled
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • Salt and pepper and thyme, for garnish
  • Feta or goat cheese, optional
  • Honey, for drizzling, optional

Instructions

  1. Combine the almond flour, flour, seasonings, salt and butter in a food processor, or use a pastry blender in a bowl. Pulse or blend until the texture of coarse meal.
  2. Add 1 egg and pulse/mix again until dough comes together. If you’re mixing in a bowl, you may want to use your hands to bring the dough together at the end. Turn out the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
  3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375°F.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, paprika, thyme, garlic, and salt. Set aside.
  5. Thinly slice the sweet potato and beet in rounds.
  6. Roll out the dough into a rough circle about 1/4″ thick and place onto a parchment or silicone mat-lined baking sheet.
  7. Spread the cream cheese filling on the bottom, leaving about 1″ of dough around the circle.
  8. Arrange and layer the sweet potato and beet slices over the filling, piling it up in the center. Sprinkle the sliced onions on top and the cheese if using.
  9. Gently fold the edges up, creasing the dough together as you go. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and thyme.
  10. Bake the galette in the oven for approximately 40-60 minutes until sweet potatoes and beets can be pierced with a knife. This largely depends on how thinly you sliced them and how full your galette is.
  11. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before digging in! Feel free to drizzle some honey if you like the flavor combo.

Black Sesame Cake with Raspberry Filling

This is currently my new favorite cake of all time. I love it so much. I tried it originally because I was interested in the beautiful natural charcoal color of the cake and I had some leftover raspberry jam. I’ve been familiar with black sesame as it is a popular ingredient in Asian desserts, but this is the first time I’ve ever worked with it in dessert form.

I made this as a dessert for J’s work potluck dinner. It was a huge hit! I got a lot of questioning eyes when I said “black sesame,” but I think its subtle enough of a flavor that even the most picky people would enjoy it. It’s ever so slightly nutty, but not overpowering.

This recipe also uses the egg whipping technique for the cake, which I believe produces such a nice crumb texture. It reminds me a lot of the chiffon cakes I grew up on. I think I’m almost sold on doing this method for all my cakes going forward, even though it takes a lot more time/effort…we’ll see if it sticks.

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Ingredients

Black Sesame Cake

  • 1/2 cup black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) + 1 tablespoon organic pure cane sugar, divided
  • 2 cups (240 grams) cake flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature

Raspberry Filling

Cream Cheese Swiss Meringue Buttercream

  • See recipe here, substituting 16 oz of butter for softened cream cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 6 inch cake pans.
  2. Blend the black sesame seeds and 1 tablespoon of sugar in a food processor until finely ground.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, sift together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. Then with the mixer still on, start adding in 1/4 cup of granulated sugar one tablespoon at a time. Keep mixing until stiff peaks form. Transfer whipped egg whites to a clean bowl.
  5. In the same stand mixer bowl, this time fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and remaining 1/2 cup sugar on medium high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape down the bowl, and add egg yolks one by one then add the vanilla. Scrape the bowl again and add the black sesame sugar. Alternate between adding the dry and wet ingredients, starting and ending with the dry, making sure not to overbeat with each addition and mix until just combined. Gently fold the egg white into the batter until no streaks remain. Split the cake batter evenly between the three cake pans and bake at 350 degrees F for 25 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  6. Let the cakes cool on wire rack. Once the cakes are at room temperature, wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and freeze until firm but not completely frozen, 1 to 2 hours.
  7. Take the cakes out of the freezer. If they are too firm, let them soften at room temperature until you can slice them with ease. Using a sharp serrated knife, level the cakes then split them in half—you should have four layers. Place the first layer on a cake round and spread a thin layer of buttercream on top. Pipe a ring of buttercream around the edge, then spread a thin layer of jam inside the ring. Place the next layer of cake on top and repeat the process until you have assembled all the pieces. Frost the outside of the cake with the remainder of the buttercream. Enjoy!

Adapted from O + O Eats.