Sunday, March 27, 2011

Apple Walnut Spice Cookies

After bringing in cookies a few times to group meeting and seeing how much my group members enjoyed my baking, I decided that it would be fun to bring in a treat each time we had a birthday. For my boss's birthday in January, I brought in chocolate chip cookies. Recently, I decided that it would be an even better idea to have the birthday person choose their favorite cookie, brownie, bar, muffin, etc, and I would bring it in for their birthday. Shufeng's birthday was the first one on the list and he wasn't sure what kind of cookies he liked. Luckily his wife helped him find some recipes online and he sent me a few. I chose cookies called "apple hermits," a cookie that I probably wouldn't have tried otherwise. They turned out really well- spicy from the cloves and nutmeg, soft from the apples, and they were a huge hit at group meeting. I sent a dozen home with Shufeng, and he said that his wife and son loved them too. I can't wait to make the next birthday treat!

Apple Walnut Spice Cookies
2 C all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C (1 stick) butter, softened
1 1/2 C packed brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup peeled, chopped granny smith apples

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt.
3. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and beat to combine.
4. Gradually add dry ingredients to butter mixture until fully incorporated.
5. Fold in apples and walnuts by hand.
6. Form dough into 1 tbsp balls by hand (dough was fairly crumbly, so press the balls together)
7. Bake at 350 for 12-14 minutes until golden. Cool on a wire rack.
8. Enjoy! (Note: Best to eat within 1-3 days as the apples start letting out moisture)

Difficulty: Medium
Debbie's Rating: 9
Shufeng's Rating: "It just tastes far beyond what I can imagine"

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ice cream cake

Hirsh and I wanted to make a fun dessert for our dinner club so Hirsh thought of making a homemade ice cream cake. I searched the internet for assembly instructions and found some really strange suggestions like making the cake out of ice cream sandwiches and cutting ice cream in half with dental floss. After more searching, I found these directions. While it was pretty time consuming due to all of the freezing steps, it turned out really well and tasted really good! I know we will be making this one again, and with different cake, ice cream and icing flavors, the possibilities are endless!

Ice Cream Cake
1 recipe or mix for 9 in round layer cake
1/2 gallon ice cream of choice (we used Edy's slow churned cookies and cream)
Icing and topping of choice
(layer cake and icing recipes here)

1. Soften ice cream at room temperature until soft, but not melted.
2. Line 1 round cake pan with saran wrap, enough to cover ice cream.
3. Press ice cream into pan with a flexible spatula and cover with saran wrap. Put ice cream in freezer to harden in pan.

4. After a few hours, take ice cream wrapped in saran wrap out of pan and store flat in the freezer. Make layer cake in 2 cake pans. Cool completely, wrap each layer in saran wrap and freeze for 3+ hours.
5. Make icing immediatley before you are ready to assemble the cake.
6. Place cake layer, ice cream layer and second cake layer in a stack. Trim off any excess ice cream with a sharp knife. Working VERY quickly, frost the cake and decorate.
7. Put cake back in freezer until ready to serve.
8. Take out for a few minutes and then slice and serve!
Difficulty: Medium
Debbie's Rating: 10
Hirsh's Rating: 9.75 (When asked why he didn't rate it a 10, he said, "It's not a 10 because we could have added peanut butter" when I asked "where, in the ice cream?" he responded, "no everywhere!")

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Supper Club at the Goldberg's

Recently we started a "supper club" with a some friends. Each couple takes a turn hosting and makes a big feast for everyone. Hirsh and I brainstormed the menu and decided on brisket, kugel and carrots for the main course. It was definitely a lot of work, but we were able to make most of it the day before and all of the "mmm's" made it very worthwhile. The brisket and kugel recipes I got from my mom and the carrots were from my cousin Marcy. We even got to use my grandma's china and our flatware from our wedding, which made it even more fun and special.

Yummy Brisket
This was our first time making brisket and it turned out to be a lot easier than we thought and tasted delicious! We will definitely make this recipe again.
4-6 lbs brisket (get several smaller flat cut briskets for the best results)
3 packets lipton onion soup
1 1/2 C ketchup
3 C gingerale
1 large covered roasting pan

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Arrange briskets in a large roasting pan.
1. Combine 2 packets onion soup mix, 1 cup ketchup and 2 cups gingerale with a whisk. Pour over briskets.
4. Bake covered at 350 degrees for 2 to 2.5 hours, basting every 30 minutes.

5. Cool until room temperature and then put in refrigerator and chill overnight.
6. Remove any solidified fat (ew gross!) and remove brisket onto a cutting board.
7. Slice against the grain, removing fat and put in a casserole dish in the refrigerator.

8. An hour before you are ready to reheat, take the brisket out of the refrigerator to come to room temperature. Combine 1/2 C ketchup, 1 C gingerale and one onion soup packet to make additional sauce.
9. Reheat at 350 degrees for 1 hour.
10. Serve and enjoy! Makes great leftovers if you have any (which we didn't!)

Sweet Cinnamon Kugel
A classic Jewish dish, this kugel goes great with beef or chicken. Not the healthiest side dish, but for holidays and special occasions it's great.
1 pound (16 oz.) of medium egg noodles, cooked
8 eggs, separated; Use 6 yolks, 8 whites
1 cup sugar
4 oz. orange juice
2 tsp. vanilla
2 sticks butter, softened at room temperature
1 C crushed corn flakes
4 tbsp sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

1. Cream sugar and margarine.
2. Add 6 egg yolks, orange juice and vanilla and mix until combined.
3. Add batter to cooked noodles and set aside.
4. Clean bowl well and whip 8 egg whites to medium peaks (white, puffy eggwhite cloud should fill about 3/4 of the bowl on a kitchenaid mixer.)
5. Carefully fold egg whites into noodles until just combined.
6. Grease 9x13 glass baking dish with butter and add noodles. If you can't fit all of the noddles in, that's okay.
7. Top with crushed corn flakes and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture. Dot with butter.

8. Bake uncovered for 45-50 minutes.
9. Can be stored for 1 day in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature and then reheat at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.
10. Cut in squares and serve.

Orange Ginger Carrots
This recipe was super easy to make an a fun veggie side dish that is different than traditional green beans or broccoli.
2 pounds carrots, peeled, cut diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
1 C orange juice
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tbsp grated peeled fresh ginger

1. Combine carrots, orange juice, sugar, butter and ginger in a large skillet over medium high heat.
2. Heat until boiling, cover and cook for 3 minutes.
3. Uncover and simmer until liquid glazes carrots and carrots are tender, about 10 minutes.
4. Season with salt and pepper if desired and serve.