Recipes

sufganiyot

Sufganiyot are delicate, airy little rounds of sweet dough, deep fried, filled with jelly and dusted with powdered sugar. They are traditionally served in Hanukkah because they’re fried in oil, and Hanukkah is a celebration of the “Miracle of the Oil.”

Sufganiot (pronounced soof-guh-nie-yowt, with an emphasis on the last syllable) are quite different than American jelly donuts, in taste and in texture. They are similar to berliners, if you’re familiar with those. You basically make a sweet yeast dough, shape it into rounds, deep fry, fill with jelly, then dust with powdered sugar.

Sufganiyot are sinfully delicious and (needless to say) not exactly a health food. It’s a good thing we only make them once a year.

Jelly Donuts (Sufganiyot) Bread Machine Recipe

Recipe makes 20 sufganiyot

Ingredients
1 1/3 cups reduced fat milk – heat it for 50 seconds in the microwave
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 large egg
4 cups bread flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 envelopes rapid rise yeast (make sure it’s fresh)
2 quarts canola oil for deep frying
Strawberry jelly (use smooth jam or jelly, not chunky preserves)
Powdered sugar

Directions
1. In a bread machine pan add the milk, egg, butter, flour, sugar, salt and yeast in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Set machine to the dough cycle. Check the dough after 5 minutes or so to make sure it’s no too wet or dry. It should have by now formed into a smooth, elastic dough ball that moves freely in the bread machine pan. If too dry or too wet, add flour or water, a tablespoon at a time.

2. When dough cycle is complete, heat oven to 350 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove dough from machine onto a lightly floured surface. Knead it a few times, then roll to 1/2-inch thickness. Dough will be difficult to roll. Keep at it, letting the dough relax periodically, and also after you’re done rolling – otherwise you’ll get oval-shaped, rather than round, doughnuts. Actually, at least half of mine end up oval-shaped anyway, probably because the dough relaxes some more after I cut the sufganiyot out. They’re still delicious, so I don’t worry about it, and just remind myself that homemade is not *supposed* to be perfect.

3. Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut as many circles as you can, then gather, knead and re-roll the scraps one more time and extract a few more doughnuts. I usually manage to re-roll twice and use up most of the dough, but the last few ones tend to not look pretty – my daughter says they’re “gnarly.” :) They’re still delicious, though.

4. Place circles on the prepared baking sheets. Cover with clean towels and place next to the oven to ensure a warm environment for the second rising. Allow to rise 30 minutes. The sole purpose of heating the oven is to provide a warm environment for the second rise, so it’s optional, but I always do it.

5. Heat oil in an electric deep fryer to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Fry one layer of doughnuts at a time, 2 minutes on each side, turning with a slotted spoon. I actually fry for slightly less than 2 minutes on each side – 1 minute 50 seconds seems to be ideal.

6. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Allow sufganiyot to cool for a couple of minutes, until easier to handle. Fit a pastry bag with a thin, elongated tip – I use tip #230 from this cupcake decorating kit. Fit the tip into the side of each doughnut and pipe 1 teaspoon of jam into doughnut. Alternatively (this is what I often end up doing, it’s less messy than piping sticky jam into the doughnuts), use a sharp paring knife to make a small slit at the side of each sufganiya. Use a small teaspoon such as a baby spoon to insert the jelly into the donut. Generously dust with powdered sugar and serve.

More Hanukkah Recipes:
Baked Donuts
Baked Latkes
Potato Latkes

fried green tomatoes

I tasted fried green tomatoes for the first time in New Orleans, in 2007. Even though post-Katrina New Orleans seemed a bit run down, a little frayed around the edges, I loved everything about the city – the laid back atmosphere, the amazing jazz clubs, the parks, the unique architecture, the dirty, noisy, colorful Bourbon street, and especially the food.

We had sweet, warm beignets accompanied by coffee and chicory at Cafe du Monde. We tried turtle soup (it’s like chicken soup but made with turtle meat). I tried Hurricane cocktail for the first time (too sweet!). And I discovered two dishes that I absolutely love: Jambalaya (loved the Cajun jambalaya at K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen), and fried green tomatoes.

Since I never make complex, multi-ingredient recipes, jambalaya isn’t something I am willing to prepare at home. Fried green tomatoes, however, are easy to make. I make them whenever I can find firm, green tomatoes – usually at the end of summer. It’s one of those smart recipes that makes a delicacy out of something (in this case, unripe tomatoes) that otherwise would have been thrown.

Fried Green Tomatoes Recipe

Ingredients:

- 4 large green tomatoes
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cornmeal or plain breadcrumbs
- Vegetable oil for frying

Directions:

1. Slice unpeeled tomatoes 1/2 inch thick.

2. Pour egg mixture into a plate. Scoop flour onto a second plate, and cornmeal/breadcrumbs onto a third plate.

3. Dip tomatoes into flour to coat. Then dip into the eggs. Finally, dredge in cornmeal/breadcrumbs to completely coat.

4. In a large skillet, pour vegetable oil and heat over medium heat. Place tomatoes into the frying pan in batches, frying until they are golden brown and crispy, then flip and fry on the other side. Drain on paper towels.

Serve immediately.

honey cupcakes

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is nothing like New Year’s. It is a solemn holiday, “The Day of Judgment,” when, according to tradition, God examines our deeds over the past year and decides – but does not yet seal – our fate for the upcoming year. We then have ten days – the Days of Repentance – to pray and repent our sins. Ten days after Rosh Ha’shanah, on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, God seals our fate.

I often say, only half-jokingly, that Jews have a way of taking life way too seriously, but Rosh Hashanah is not just about praying and repenting. It is also about renewal, hope, and celebrating the New Year.

One of our Rosh Ha’Shana customs is eating sweet foods, such as apple slices dipped in honey and honey cakes. When eating these sweet foods, we say a blessing that goes something like, “May Our New Year Be As Sweet as Honey.”

Honey cake is a moist, dense, dark colored cake, sweetened with honey instead of sugar and flavored with spices such as cinnamon, allspice, cloves or nutmeg. If you like spice cake, you will probably like the Jewish honey cake. Personally, I’m not too fond of the traditional honey cake, and my kids feel the same, so I’ve developed a recipe for frosted honey cupcakes that are closer to traditional cupcakes than to a traditional honey cake, although they still have a distinct honey flavor, and a denser texture. If you like honey, the frosting is absolutely phenomenal.

I am closing comments on this post because Rosh Hashanah begins tomorrow night, and I’m insanely busy preparing. Whether you celebrate the holiday or not, I wish you a happy, sweet New Year.

Recipe: Honey Cupcakes with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting

Makes 18 cupcakes

Ingredients
Nonstick cooking spray
1.5 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey (215 grams)
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted in the microwave, then slightly cooled
1/3 cup whole milk

Frosting:
8oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons honey

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit  (160 degrees Celsius).

2. Line muffin tin with liners and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.

4. In a large bowl, beat eggs using a hand whisk. Gradually add the following ingredients, one by one, and keep mixing until blended: sugar, honey, butter, and finally milk.

5. Gradually whisk in the flour mixture.

6. Fill muffin cups half full. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. (I baked mine 22 minutes). Cool in pan about 10 minutes, then remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

7. Frost with honey cream cheese frosting: Using an electric mixer on medium setting, beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and beat until combined, then add the honey and beat until combined, creamy and fluffy.

These honey cupcakes keep well in the fridge for several days. Just take them out of the fridge an hour before serving to maximize texture and flavor.

fluffy pancake stack

This pancake recipe is the result of mixing and matching different recipes from many different sources. It is the result of trying and failing so many times, that I almost declared pancakes as the one breakfast recipe I couldn’t master. But I persisted, and this recipe is perfect – as perfect as a pancakes recipe can be, because making pancakes does involve frying, and frying is something that each of us needs to play with. It changes depending on your type of stove (gas or electric), on how hot the skillet is, and on how evenly hot you manage to keep it while frying multiple batches.

But the instructions here are as close as it gets to “perfect,” and the result? Truly fluffy, puffy pancakes that are never heavy or dense and that are flavored with a pleasant vanilla aroma and taste.

This recipe makes 16-18 pancakes. The four of us eat 2-3 each, and the remaining freeze very well. The next morning I gently thaw them in the microwave and they’re almost as good as fresh.

Fluffy Pancakes

Makes 16-18 pancakes.

Dry Ingredients
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1.5 tablespoons baking powder (make sure it’s fresh)

Liquid ingredients
1 large egg
2 cups minus one tablespoon reduced fat (2%) milk
2 tablespoons melted butter, slightly cooled
1 tablespoon high quality vanilla extract

Directions
1. Mix the dry ingredients well, with a fork.

2. Beat egg. Add milk, vanilla and butter, and mix well.

3. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients mixture. Slowly pour the liquid ingredients mixture into the well, gently mixing as you pour, using a fork. DO NOT OVER MIX. Batter should be thick and lumpy.

4. Heat two 12-inch skillets over medium heat for about 4 minutes. Add a little oil to each skillet and brush to coat. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto three spots on each skillet. Cook until large bubbles begin to appear, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook the other side until golden brown, about 1 more minute.

5. Keep prepared pancakes on a wire rack while you’re making the second batch. This helps them stay fluffy and non-soggy. Some recipes suggest placing them in a 200-degrees oven while you make the second batch, but personally I find this dries them a bit, just enough that they’re not perfect anymore ;).

Serve with warm maple syrup and berries. These pancakes taste so good that you don’t really need to serve them with butter.

(Just in case) –> More Pancake Recipes:

Three-Ingredient Banana Pancakes
Fluffy Whole-Wheat Pancakes
Pumpkin Pancakes
Oatmeal Pancakes

marshmallow sandwich

Playing on the idea of grilled cheese sandwiches, I occasionally make grilled marshmallow sandwiches for breakfast, especially during summer break or on the weekend, when the guilt is less intense because at least the poor kids don’t have to go to school and attempt to concentrate on their studies with all this sugar floating in their veins.

I use frozen, sliced white bread, spread one slice of each sandwich with unsalted butter, place them on a warm skillet, butter side down, generously spread tiny marshmallows to cover each slice, then place an unbuttered slice of bread on top of each sandwich and press it down with a spatula or a heavy pot.

Marshmallow Toast

After about 2 minutes, when the bread is golden brown, I spread butter on the top slices, carefully flip the sandwiches with a spatula, and brown the other side for 1 more minute.

Generously dust with powdered sugar for a sweet, gooey, melt-in-your-mouth, healthy (wink wink) breakfast.

I know that some like to make these with chocolate and peanut butter too, for a truly rich treat, but that would be too heavy for breakfast, plus then you wouldn’t really taste the marshmallow – it would just add chewiness. We like to taste the delicate sweetness of the marshmallow.

I don’t do giveaways often, but this is a product that I really like. So yes, (disclosure) I was given a slew of free products:

Voskos Greek Yogurt Selection 2

And I was also compensated for writing this review, but I love love LOVE Greek yogurt and Voskos is a great brand, so I’m happy to promote it here.

Greek Yogurt vs. Regular Yogurt

I tried Greek yogurt for the first time about a year ago, and immediately fell in love. Regular yogurt is a bit too runny for my taste, the plain variety tastes bland and the flavored is too sweet. But Greek yogurt is different. It is thick and creamy – even the nonfat Greek yogurt. Eating flavored Greek yogurt is a bit like eating dessert, while eating plain Greek yogurt gives you a similar experience to eating sour cream, but it’s a lot healthier.

Greek Yogurt Health Benefits

Of course, yogurt in general is very healthy. It is a good source of protein and calcium, and contains live active probiotic cultures, but until I discovered Greek-style yogurt, I couldn’t bring myself to eat yogurt regularly.

Voskos Greek Yogurt – the plain nonfat variety – is especially healthy. It contains twice the protein per ounce compared to regular yogurt, live and active probiotic cultures, no gums, starches or added sugars and no added flavors. I do love the full fat Voskos Greek yogurt even more, it tastes just like lowfat sour cream but is healthier, although the full fat yogurt does contain saturated fat and less protein than the nonfat yogurt.

My Take

My main reason for choosing Greek yogurt in general, and Voskos in particular, is the taste and texture. The health benefits are a nice bonus though. As for specific flavors, my absolute favorite is the Voskos Nonfat Greek Yogurt with Greek Honey:

Greek Honey

It’s amazing! Creamy and tasty and satisfying and the list of ingredients is very clean – just milk, honey and cultures. It does contain 17 grams of sugar per serving. Alternatively, you can mix 1 tablespoon honey with 6oz of the nonfat plain yogurt. Delicious.

So, What Do You Do With Greek Yogurt?

Just like any other yogurt, you can just eat it as a snack. Greek yogurt is an excellent snack becuase it is very filling. The sweetened varieties are great just the way they are. The Voskos full fat plain Greek yogurt is great as it is too. It’s incredibly rich and flavorful. As for the low fat and nonfat Voskos yogurt, you can add fruit, granola, a little honey or jam, and you can also use plain Greek yogurt in many recipes. My favorite recipe is Tarator, a Bulgarian yogurt and cucumber soup.

Tarator Recipe

This easy recipe calls for just six ingredients:

Tarator Ingredients

16 oz (one large container) Voskos plain yogurt (I like to use the full-fat variety but the nonfat works great too and is of course healthier)
2 cloves garlic, minced (I use a garlic press)
1 large cucumber, peeled, coarsely grated – I just grate by hand and place in a strainer to get rid of excess water:

Grated Cucumber

1 tablespoon high quality olive oil (if using nonfat yogurt, consider using 2 tablespoons olive oil)
1 teaspoon white vinegar
A little salt (about a quarter teaspoon) and white pepper (optional)

Place all ingredients in a medium bowl, mix well with a fork, cover and place in the fridge for an hour to allow flavors to blend. This recipe makes two servings.

Tarator 1

Tarator is amazingly refreshing and perfect for alfresco dining in the summer:

Eating Tarator Al Fresco

The Giveaway

Voskos would like to offer five of my U.S.-based readers coupons for free yogurt. If you’re interested, please post a comment below that tells me which Voskos flavor you would most like to try. I’ll pick five winners to collect 10 coupons each next Tuesday.

To get extra entries, you may also:

1. Follow Voskos on Twitter (1 extra entry – leave a comment to let me know that you have).

2. Tweet: “A sweet #giveaway! Win FREE product coupons for delicious Voskos Greek Yogurt from @GoVoskos and @vered http://bit.ly/bHU5HT” (1 extra entry – leave a comment with the tweet link.)

3. If you’re a fan of Voskos on Facebook, let me know in a separate comment for an extra entry.

No purchase necessary. Open to US residents only, 18 years of age or older. Comments to this post will be closed and winners will be picked on Tuesday, July 20th 2010, at noon PDT, via random.org so please leave a separate comment for each extra entry. This will increase your chances of winning. Each winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email and give me their address before I use random.org to pick a new winner. MomGrind is not liable for any loss or damage of giveaway prizes sent through the mail, or for any warranty, costs, damage, injury, or any other claims incurred as a result of usage of a prize once possession has been taken of the product by a winner. To learn more about MomGrind giveaway rules, click here.

Good luck!

peanut butter cookies

I love peanut butter cookies because they are simple, fairly healthy and of course chewy. I much prefer chewy cookies to crunchy cookies.

My kids love these cookies too, which you may think is not surprising since they are, after all, COOKIES, but you need to know that my kids can sense a “healthy treat” from a mile away, and once they sense it’s not completely junky, they often flatly refuse it.

Not so with these cookies: they love them. I rarely need to store these cookies – between the four of us, we usually polish them off on the day I make them. This recipe makes about 20 cookies, so if you need more, double the amounts.

Ingredients:

1 + 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 large egg
1/2 TBS vanilla extract

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder , baking soda, and salt.

3. Beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and continue beating until fluffy. Beat in the peanut butter, the egg, and the vanilla.

4. Mix the dry ingredients into the peanut butter mixture until well incorporated. Dough will be a bit crumbly.

(Now comes the fun part, especially for the kids.)

5. Roll the dough in your hands into 2-inch balls. Each ball contains about 2 TBS of mixture – you can measure them if you’d like.

6. Place the dough balls on the baking sheet, about 2 inches apart, and flatten them gently with a fork, making a crisscross design:

shape-cookies1

7. Bake for about 10 minutes. To make sure they are chewy, the cookies’ edges should be slightly browned, but the top should not look completely baked. That’s OK: we want to let them finish baking outside of the oven.

8. After removing from the oven, allow cookies to remain on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.