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Cherry Jubilee!

July 27th, 2015
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Montmorency cherries!

Montmorency cherries!

For the past couple of weeks, we’ve been crazy for cherries. The Montmorency tree we put in a few years ago (or was that 6?) has gradually increased its yield and is finally producing a significant harvest. These are sour cherries, perfect for cooking but too tart to eat. (Unless you’re Sadie, and are so blinded by their ruby perfection that you overlook the puckery part and gobble them by the handfuls.)

In any case, we’ve been putting cherries into everything, from syrup (snow cones! homemade cherry soda!) to muffins to galettes to this yummy coffee cake the girls and I came up with the other morning. It’s a rich, buttery cake that’s perfect for breakfast or an afternoon snack–and gets even better the next day.

You can't see them, but this cake is studded with sour cherries

You can’t see them, but this coffee cake is studded with sour cherries from our Montmorency tree

 

Cheery Cherry Coffee Cake

Makes one 10-inch cake

*

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract

3/4 cup sour cream

3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

1 1/2 cups sour cherries, pitted

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease and lightly flour a 10-inch bundt (or decorative cake pan, like the sunflower pan I used in the photo above).

In a medium-size bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and the baking soda. Whisk to incorporate.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in the vanilla and almond extracts. Add the dry ingredient mixture and beat until combined, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix in the sour cream and Greek yogurt, beating until combined. Stir in the cherries.

Using a rubber spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the thickest part comes out clean. Cool for at least an hour on a rack, then invert onto a plate and dust with confectioners’ sugar.

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Almond Joy Macaroons

April 9th, 2015
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One lonely macaroon (note the new kitchen counter!)

One lonely macaroon (note the new kitchen counter!)

If your only exposure to Jewish holidays is our website, you might think that they revolve exclusively around desserts. Yes, we just baked hamantaschen for Purim, and yes, cheesecake is coming up for Shavuot. Actually, come to think of it, sweets are a big part of many holidays. They’re not defined by their desserts, but most holidays do have an associated treat, maybe to remind us of the sweetness of the seasons: honey cake at Rosh Hashanah, sufganiyot (Israeli jelly doughnuts) at Hannukah, and macaroons at Passover.

This year, we’ve been away for much of Passover, but we got home last night and this morning the girls and I felt like making something sweet, so we scrounged in our new kitchen for kosher-for-Passover ingredients. What we found was pretty meagre–a couple of egg whites and not quite enough shredded coconut for a whole batch of macaroons. We did have some almonds, though, and always a lot of good chocolate, so we came up with the following. One bite, and we knew exactly what they tasted like: Almond Joy!

Almond Joy Macaroons

Makes 1 dozen

*

1 1/4 cups sweetened shredded coconut

1/3 cup almonds, chopped

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup chocolate chips

2 egg whites

*

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients. The mixture will feel like it’s not binding enough, but don’t worry, it will stick together when it’s baked. Drop in large spoonfuls on a parchment lined baking sheet, shaping a bit with your hands to make sure each cookie stays mounded. Bake 15-20 minutes, until sides are lightly browned. Cool on the baking sheet until firm.

Food, Holidays, Judaism, Recipes, Uncategorized