Monday, September 19, 2022

Honey Muffins

A sweet new recipe for a sweet new year.

It's been quite a while since I've shared a new Muffin Monday recipe around here, but I thought with Rosh Hashana approaching it was the perfect time to share a recipe for the simplest but really delicious honey muffins. 
I know what you're thinking, oh it's another honey cake recipe, but trust me this is nothing like the countless honey cake recipes out there. This is a muffin so texturally it's different than cake and flavor-wise it is nothing like your classic honey cake. Honey cakes often have lots of spices, and other flavorings like cocoa or coffee which are very yummy in their own right, but these muffins are just celebrating the true flavor of honey. There are no other flavorings in these muffins that can mask the beautiful honey flavor. It's just honey and some basic pantry baking staples, that's it.
These muffins are great on their own or slathered in butter, jam, or drizzled with even more honey. 
Make these muffins to have on hand for Rosh Hashana or make a double or triple batch and have them stashed in the freezer to enjoy them throughout the month of Tishrei to start the year on a deliciously sweet note! 


Honey Muffins 

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
3/4 tsp salt 
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil 
1/3 cup honey
2 eggs 
1 cup of milk of your choice 
1/2 cup sugar 

Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C 
Line a standard-size muffin tin with paper liners or coat it with non-stick cooking spray. 

In a large bowl mix together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Mix the oil, honey, eggs, and milk in a liquid measuring cup. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry along with the sugar and mix until combined.
Scoop into the prepared muffin and bake for 14-16 minutes. 

Yield: 12 standard-size muffins 

Like all the muffins on this blog, these should be stored in a zip-top bag or airtight container on the counter for about 3 days (if you don't eat them all before that) they also freeze beautifully. 




Monday, November 8, 2021

Applesauce Muffins

I often talk about that inspiration in the kitchen can come from anywhere: remembering a dish that my mother used to make, reading a book on Shabbat afternoon, or just a walk through the shuk to get my creative juices flowing. This week's #muffinmonday flavor came from walking down the canned foods aisle in the supermarket. I was looking for a can of crushed tomatoes and looked one shelf too early and saw a jar of applesauce and there it was this week's muffin flavor. 

Applesauce adds a delicious sweetness to the muffins and keeps them really moist and tender. These muffins are a great canvas for any add-ins like chopped dried fruit, diced apple or pears, nuts, and frozen berries. Make sure to use unsweetened plain applesauce so you are controlling the sweetness of the muffin and the apple flavor isn't masked by anything.

These muffins also have oats in the batter which adds great texture and make these muffins great for a quick breakfast.  


Applesauce Muffins 

1 3/4 cups flour (all-purpose or whole wheat) 

1/2 cup rolled or instant oats 

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp baking powder 

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon 

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/4 cups unsweetened plain applesauce (3 single-serve 4 oz containers) 

1 Tbsp oil / melted butter 

1 egg 

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/3 cup milk of your choice

3 Tbsp honey / silan / sugar /  maple syrup 

Mixins: 1/3 cup chopped mixed nuts, 1 small diced apple or pear, 1/3 cup frozen blueberries, 1/3 cup chopped dried fruit 

Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C 
Line a standard-size muffin tin with paper liners or coat with non-stick cooking spray. 

In a large bowl mix together the flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a liquid measuring cup or medium bowl mix together the applesauce milk, oil, egg, vanilla, milk, and honey. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and mix until just combined.
Scoop into prepared muffin cups and top with turbinado sugar and/or mini chocolate chips. Bake for 14-16 minutes. 

Yield: 12 standard size muffins 

Like all the muffins on this blog, these should be stored in a zip-top bag or airtight container on the counter for about 3 days (if you don't eat them all before that) they also freeze beautifully. 


Sunday, October 31, 2021

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

It is raining in Jerusalem! 

Fine, it kind of drizzled, only this morning, for a few minutes. 

Ok so maybe it does not really count as a Jerusalem winter rain because it was not that much rain and it definitely is not cold but it is Sunday and it kind of rained so I’m making soup for #soupsunday! 


On Sunday mornings I do not have much going on in my kitchen in terms of produce as most of it has been used up for Shabbat cooking. Today I opened my fridge and found a butternut squash that I bought a few weeks ago and had been meaning to roast with some carrots and onions under a chicken, but that hasn’t happened so I decided to roast the squash and use it for a soup. 

Roasting butternut squash is great for a couple of reasons. First, roasting the squash imparts delicious flavor with pretty minimal effort, the sugars in the butternut deepen and caramelize which adds great flavor to the soup. Another great reason to roast the butternut squash is that you don’t have to deal with peeling and cubing the squash which can sometimes be a frustrating thing to do. As the butternut squash roasts, it softens and once it's cooled you can easily scoop the tender creamy flesh away from the skin. Yes, roasting and cooling the butternut squash does take time, but it is a hands-off step in the recipe and you can even prep the squash up to three days in advance and store it in the fridge or you can roast it, scoop it, and freeze it and defrost when you are ready to make the soup. 



The other ingredients for this soup are things that you most probably have on hand. Onion, carrot, and garlic add great base flavor to the soup. The curveball in the flavor department is an apple, any type will do, this adds a sweet-tart note to the soup and pairs beautifully with the butternut squash. 

There are a few spices in this soup and all of them compliment the sweet and nutty flavor of the squash. Black pepper for a contrasting earthy spice note, cayenne (hot paprika or chili flakes will work too) for a good kick to balance the sweetness, and cinnamon with its warm notes go perfectly with the butternut squash for those classic fall flavors. 

Make this soup today to keep in the fridge all week so you can enjoy a cozy bowl of autumn even if it’s 70°F outside. 


Roasted Butternut Squash Soup 


1 medium butternut squash about 2.5-3 lb.

3 Tbsp olive oil 

Salt 

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 medium onion, peeled and diced 

1 carrot, peeled and diced.

1 apple, any type, peeled and diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

Pinch of cayenne pepper/chili flakes 

1/4 tsp cinnamon 

3-4 cups of water


Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C 

Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seed. Drizzle the flesh of the butternut squash with 1 tablespoon of olive and season with a pinch of salt and the black pepper. Place on a cookie sheet or oven-safe dish and roast for about 45 minutes or until very tender. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes. Once cooled scoop out the flesh of the butternut squash and set it aside. Discard the skin. 

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion along with a pinch of salt. Stir to coat the onion in the oil and salt and cook for 5-8 minutes. Add the carrot and apple and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Add the garlic, cayenne, and cinnamon and cook for 1 minute until fragrant. Add the roasted butternut squash along with enough water just to cover the squash. You might need less than what is listed in the recipe it is always best to err on the side of caution because you can add more liquid you can’t remove. Bring the soup to a boil then reduce the flame, cover the pot and cook for about 15-20 minutes. Using an immersion blender puree the soup until smooth add more water if necessary to reach your desired texture. Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking. Ladle into bowls and top with roasted pumpkin seeds. To store the soup allow it to cool completely and then store it in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to one week or in the freezer for 3 months. 


Yield: 4 portions 




Monday, October 18, 2021

Marble Muffins

Are you team chocolate or team vanilla? Well, when it comes to these marble muffins you don't have to choose! A sweet vanilla batter gets swirled with a rich chocolate batter to make these muffins that will please the chocoholics and vanilla lovers in your house. 
I often talk about the inspiration for muffin flavors and the idea for these marble muffins came from two members of my family. My brother-in-law and one of my sisters-in-law share a birthday which is this week. My brother-in-law loves the classic marble cake and my sister-in-law is the queen of baked goods, loves chocolate, and lives for coffee so when I made the chocolate batter I added some coffee to accentuate the chocolate flavor. 


Marble cake is also the perfect cake to symbolize the relationship with siblings-in-law. When your brother or sister marries someone a new person is joining your family and you gain a new brother or sister. That new person blends into your family and adds another dimension. Much like the chocolate swirling with the vanilla your new sibling brings their amazing qualities to your family. Ok, that marble cake symbolism might have been a bit cheesy and a bit of a stretch, so happy birthday Daniel and Amy! I'm so happy that you married Ayala and Shalom (no backsies - Wendy it's not your birthday but that applies to Eytan too) 

Marble Muffins 
2 cups flour 
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt 
1 cup milk of your choice 
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil 
2 tsp vanilla extract 
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp instant coffee granules dissolved in 2 tsp water 

Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C 
Line a standard-size muffin tin with paper liners or coat with non-stick cooking spray. 

In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a liquid measuring cup or medium bowl mix together the milk, eggs, oil, and vanilla. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry along with the sugar. Mix until just combined.
Pour about half the batter into another bowl don't worry you don't have to be so exact. To the second bowl add the cocoa powder and the coffee. Stir until combined. 
Scoop about 1 teaspoon of the vanilla batter into prepared muffin cups and then top with 1 teaspoon of the chocolate batter add another teaspoon of vanilla batter on top and top off with the rest of the chocolate batter. Using a toothpick or skewer swirl the batter making sure to be touching the bottom of the pan so you are swirling all the layers. Don't over-marbelize the batter you still want to have two distinct colors.
Bake for 14-16 minutes. 



Yield: 12 standard size muffins 

Like all the muffins on this blog, these should be stored in a zip-top bag or airtight container on the counter for 2 days (if you don't eat them all beforehand) they also freeze beautifully.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Pumpkin Spice Latte Muffins

Come September 1st people start talking about fall and all things fall-related even though the official start of fall isn't until 3 weeks later on September 22nd. It's now been almost 3 weeks since the official start of fall and while the weather here in Israel is still quite warm during the day, in Jerusalem I no longer wear sandals in the evening so for me, fall has finally begun. 

Whenever you think that fall begins there is one thing that has become synonymous with the start of fall and that is the pumpkin spice latte. The drink that was made famous by Starbucks (who started selling the seasonal item a bit too early this year on August 24th) is made with coffee, sweeteners, milk, and pumpkin pie spice. There was no actual pumpkin in the pumpkin spice latte until 2015 and it was only added to appease those that wanted to see actual pumpkin in the list of ingredients. Pumpkin spice is a spice mix made of the spices that are traditionally used in pumpkin pie: cinnamon, clove, ginger, and nutmeg. There is no actual pumpkin in the pumpkin spice mix. 

The combination of the warm spices with the bold flavor of coffee is a great combination and is delicious in latte form. But the pumpkin spice phenomenon has gotten a little out of hand with pumpkin spice hummus, dog treats, air freshener, seltzer, and the list goes on. 

I think that pumpkin spice should be used only in pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice lattes, and now pumpkin spice latte muffins! I took the flavors of this cozy fall drink and turned it into a muffin and I went with the original latte recipe and there is no actual pumpkin in these muffins just lots of coffee and pumpkin spice. 

If you don't have pumpkin spice on hand no worries it's simple to make your own blend

Enjoy these muffins with a piping hot latte and enjoy the cozy fall flavors even when it's still 82°F outside. 

Pumpkin Spice Latte Muffins

1/2 cup hot water 
2 Tbsp instant coffee granules 
2 1/2 cups flour 
2 tsp baking powder 
3/4 tsp salt 
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice OR 1 tsp cinnamon + 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg + 1/4 tsp ground ginger + 1/8 tsp ground clove
1/2 cup milk of your choice 
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil 
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar 
2 Tbsp turbinado sugar - optional 
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips - optional 

Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C 
Line a standard-size muffin tin with paper liners or coat with non-stick cooking spray. 

Dissolve the coffee in the hot water and set it aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and spices. In a liquid measuring cup or medium bowl mix together the milk, eggs, oil, and vanilla. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry along with the coffee and the sugar. Mix until just combined.
Scoop into prepared muffin cups and top with turbinado sugar and/or mini chocolate chips. Bake for 14-16 minutes. 

Yield: 12 standard size muffins 

Like all the muffins on this blog, these should be stored in a zip-top bag or airtight container on the counter for 2 days (if you don't eat them all before hand) they also freeze beautifully. 


Sunday, September 5, 2021

Kreplach

Did you know that the singular form of kreplach is krepl, but when will you ever eat just one? 


Every year my mother makes over 160 kreplach using the recipe/technique that she learned from her mother, my Bubby who learned from her mother-in-law, my Savta, the woman I’m named for. 

My first memory in the kitchen is making these kreplach with my mother when I was 5 years old. Every year, until I moved to Israel I would help my mother prepare the kreplach. We would devote a Sunday a few weeks before Rosh Hashana to preparing all of the kreplach that we will enjoy a few weeks later on Erev Yom Kippur. The kitchen becomes a kreplach production line. A very soft dough is made, it is then rolled out by hand, and then circles are cut out using a drinking glass. Each circle is filled with meat that has been cooked for a few hours until it is fall-apart tender (no ground beef here). The circles of dough are then folded around the flavorful meat and sealed with a fork. The kreplach are then boiled for a couple of minutes and placed on a towel to cool. When they are cooled down my father counts them, packages them, and freezes them they are then distributed to our family in the States and in Israel. My mother makes enough kreplach so that everyone in our extended family can continue the tradition of having them in their chicken soup before Yom Kippur (she also makes a few extra so that I can have some in my freezer all year). 


This isn’t so much as a recipe as it is a technique as it is a very Bubby recipe - a little of this a pinch of that, but I hope you take the time and try making your own kreplach, maybe you will even start a tradition for your own family. This recipe makes about 160 kreplach, but you can of course cut the amounts and it won’t take you much time at all to prepare kreplach for your family to enjoy before Yom Kippur. 


Just like this kreplach may we be able to see the hidden brachot in our lives and be sealed in the book of good life!


Beef Filling 

2 medium onions

2 medium carrots 

2 lbs chuck steak fillet (according to the number chart that is a #2 in Israel) but you can use any meat that needs to cook low and slow until tender 


Peel and dice the onions and carrots and place them into a large pot with the meat along with a good pinch of salt and pepper. There is no oil or water added as the meat releases its own fat and the vegetables release their own juices. 

Cook on a very low flame for about 2-3 hours until the meat is fall-apart tender. While the meat cooks prepare the dough (recipe below). Allow the meat to cool slightly and then using a slotted spoon remove it from the pot along with the carrots and onions. Don’t discard the liquid that is in the pot, you will need this as you’re making the kreplach if you see the meat is drying out. Place the meat into a bowl along with the carrots and onions and using a meat chopper chop up the meat, this should take a few moments as the meat is very tender. If you don’t have a meat chopper this can be done on a cutting board with a knife. Set aside and start rolling out your dough (directions below).


My mother found a written dough recipe that is very similar to what my grandmother used to do so I can provide you with exact measurements for the dough. 

This recipe comes from the Ratner’s cookbook - Ratner’s was an iconic dairy restaurant on the Lower East Side. 


6 eggs

1/4 cup oil 

4 tsp salt 

3/4 tsp black pepper (my bubby’s addition) 

2 cups lukewarm water 

9 1/2 - 11 cups of flour 

In a large bowl mix together the eggs, oil, salt, pepper, and water. Gradually add in the flour until a soft dough has formed. You might not need all of the flour so don’t dump it all in at once. Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth and elastic adding more flour if necessary. Brush the dough with oil to prevent it from drying out and set aside for 1 hour. 

My mother likes to cut the dough into a few pieces and wrap it in plastic wrap and that way the dough doesn’t dry out while the other pieces are being rolled out. You can also make the dough in advance and keep it in the fridge for 2 days just let the dough sit on the counter for 15 minutes before rolling out. 

Flour your work surface and take a piece of the dough and roll it out to 1/8 inch thickness. Before cutting out the circles make sure the underside of the dough is not stuck to the board. Using a drinking glass, cut circles out of the dough. Place a teaspoon of meat in the center of the circle and then fold in half pressing around the meat to release any air bubbles. Use a fork to ensure that the edges are sealed well. Gather the scraps of dough and roll it out again until all the dough and filling are used. 

Bring a large pot of water to a boil add a good pinch of salt and a drizzle of oil (that’s what my Bubby did). Carefully place the kreplach in the boiling water and cook for a couple of minutes until they float to the top. If you are making the full recipe you can make about 20 kreplach at a time and while the first batch boils roll out another piece of dough. Remove the kreplach from the water with a slotted spoon and place the kreplach in a colander. Gently rinse with cold water and then place on a kitchen towel to cool and dry. Once the kreplach are completely cool they can be frozen in zip-top bags. On Erev Yom Kippur add the kreplach to your pot of chicken soup a few minutes before you are ready to serve as they don’t take long to defrost. 


To understand the full process check out the kreplach highlight on Instagram. I was in NY this year when my mother made them so I got to record the whole process. 

Monday, July 12, 2021

Cinnamon Bun Muffins

There is really nothing that compares to a piping hot, fluffy, sticky cinnamon bun slathered in cream cheese frosting. However, they are quite a time-consuming thing to make. Totally worth it, but the yeast, the kneading, rising, rolling, rising it can be a little much, and sometimes you just need that cinnamon bun fix without all of the work. These cinnamon bun muffins have the flavor of a delicious cinnamon bun but are ready in 15 minutes. 

These muffins have three simple components. First, there's a vanilla-scented batter, then a mixture of cinnamon, brown sugar, and chopped nuts which plays the rolls of the classic cinnamon bun filling. Some of that is folded into the batter so every bite has the hard-to-resist cinnamon sugar flavor and then the rest gets sprinkled on top for a crunchy caramelized topping. Finally, once the muffins have cooled they are drizzled with a rich cream cheese icing. 


Cinnamon Bun Muffins 

2 cups flour 

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt 

1/4 cup oil

3/4 cup milk of your choice

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract 

1/3 cup sugar 

Mix in and Topping

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup chopped nuts like walnuts, almonds, or pecans - you can use just 1 type, but I recommend a mix of all 3*

1 Tbsp cinnamon

Pinch of salt

2 Tbsp oil 

Cream Cheese Icing 

2 Tbsp room temperature cream cheese** 

1 cup confectioners' sugar 

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Splash of milk of your choice 


Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F 

Grease a standard-size muffin pan liberally with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a liquid measuring cup or medium-size bowl, whisk together the oil, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Add the liquid ingredients to the flour mixture along with the sugar. 

Mix together until just combined, being sure not to overmix as this will result in a dense muffin.

In a separate bowl mix together the ingredients for the mix-in/topping. 

Add 1 cup of the mix-in/topping mixture to the batter and gently fold it in only two or three times just to swirl it in not to fully combine with the batter. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pan and top with the remaining mix-in/topping mixture. 

Bake for 13-16 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Allow to cool for a few minutes in the pan and then pop out and cool on a rack. 

To make the icing mix together the cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla extract. Add a tiny splash of milk and mix adding more milk if necessary until you reach a drizzling consistency.

Drizzle over the tops of the muffins and devour :) 

These muffins will keep for 2 days in an airtight container or can be frozen without the icing. Just defrost them on the counter overnight and then top with the icing when ready to eat. 

Yield: 12 standard-size muffins 

*if you have a nut allergy try using 3/4 cup instant oats in place of the nuts so you won't miss out on the body and texture that the nuts add to these muffins. 

**If you would like to make these muffins dairy-free you can omit the cream cheese and just use more dairy-free milk or use Tofutti cream cheese