rose rose cake

We had our first Bagel Sunday at Amazing Grains this weekend!! Robert, one of Grand Forks’ resident bagel experts came in and we spent the weekend making plain and onion bagels. He hadn’t made bagels in 19 years and I hadn’t made bagels in, well, probably 19 years too, so we hacked our way through our first couple of batches and they miraculously turned out so deliciously dense and doughy, just the way I like them. I was so pleased! We used Robert’s recipe that he used when he owned his bagel shop in boise. It doesn’t have barley malt in it, just a nice amount of brown sugar, and we made them so pleasantly plump. (I have never been bound to my bagels having a well-defined hole, is that ok??) We offered three basic options: salmon and cream cheese, egg and cheese, and just cream cheese, and sold out in an hour and a half!! It was so much fun. Sundays are my new favorite. In future weeks I’d like to do pizza bagels, fancy avocado toast bagels, maybe even bagel dogs. But first I really need to improve my bagel rolling skills because mine came out bumpy and lumpy. 

After Bagel Sunday we got a snowstorm and it was so cozy inside. I made a big sunday supper of tahdig (my first try!) and the fava bean meatball dish from Jerusalem, which I loved except for the unshelled fava bean part. I still have a bunch of favas left though so I think I’ll put some on a pizza and then make ful with the rest.

When I wasn't shelling fava beans or rolling bagels these past few days, I was practicing my buttercream roses. Part of me thinks I should just stick to using marzipan since my clumsy hands can handle that so much more easily than buttercream, but I’ve found that once I kind of get into the rhythm of things, I can churn out buttercream roses way faster than marzipan roses (even if they are a little rustic... but that’s why I’m practicing).

And I’ll indeed need to up my speed because I am planning to cover enough cake for 400 million people with buttercream roses for Eggsister’s wedding in July. That's the whole reason I'm on this buttercream rose kick! The idea came after she decided that all of the bridesmaids and eggboy (the man of honor) would wear something flowery. I thought that with a floral theme, a whole table of floral-inspired cakes would be appropriate. So over the next few months I plan to: figure out recipes for a hibiscus cake, an orange blossom carrot cake, a chocolate lavender cake, and any other flowery cakes that eggsister and eggsisterfiancé want (got any suggestions??), and then also improve my buttercream roses and succulents. I tackled this vanilla rose cake first since rose is a flavor I’ve been comfortable with ever since I realized that you only need the teensiest bit of rosewater to have a great effect. 

I watched a bazillion video tutorials on how to make buttercream roses and also looked at instagram accounts like brooklyn floral delight. I figured out a few things:

-American buttercream probably isn’t the best for this since it can get a little bit flimsy. I’m including the recipe for it here since it’s my go-to buttercream when frosting cakes and if you’re just doing a basic frosting job for this, it does the trick, is easy to make, and is tasty. I haven’t yet experimented much with Italian buttercream but that’s what I’m going to use for my next rose practice session.

-It’s important to get one of these thingies and a few of the proper tips (and I’ve been using couplers so that I can switch the tips easily between colors). 

-I found that it was easiest to pipe the roses onto a little square of parchment (stick the parchment onto the metal thingy with a blob of frosting) and then transfer the parchment with the rose on it to a sheet pan. Freeze or refrigerate the sheet pan until the roses are firmed up and then pick em up with your hands, peel off the parchment, and just plop them right down onto your cake. From there you can fill in any empty spaces or clean up the edges with any reserved frosting in your piping bags. One pan of roses made enough to fill up this whole sheet cake, so I’m thinking that I’ll want to pipe about six full pans of roses in preparation for eggsisterwedding. I’m hoping that by that time I’ll be able to bang em all out the day before and then hold on to the extra frosting that’s still in the piping bags at room temperature so that I can fill in any holes the morning of the wedding. I’ll plan to bake the cakes three days out, frost them with a base layer two days out, do the roses the day before, assemble the morning of, and then party my tuchus off. 

-Best not to watch Bojack or anything else that is funny while you’re piping because laughing leads to ruffled petals. Which is fine if you’re going for that look, but I have to get a handle on clean petals before I can start taking artistic liberties.

Alright, gotta go make spätzle! My second rose practice session is in a few weeks, I’ll report back.

Here's a rosewater cake that's got the body of a vanilla cardamom cake but the sparkle and shimmer that only a drop of rosewater can add:


rose rose cake

makes one 9 x 13" cake

ingredients

for the cake:

1 3/4 c sugar

2 1/2 c all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

2 large eggs

1 c buttermilk

1/2 c flavorless oil, like canola

1 tb vanilla extract

1/2 tsp rosewater

1/2 tsp almond extract

3/4 c water

 

for the frosting:

1 c unsalted butter, softened

3 c powdered sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

a couple of drops of rosewater

a pinch of kosher salt

2 tb heavy cream

clues

for the cake:

preheat the oven to 350ºf. line a 9 x 13" baking pan with parchment and set aside.

in a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cardamom. in a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla extract, rosewater, almond extract, and water.

whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. pour batter into the prepared cake pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. begin checking for doneness at 35 minutes.

let the cake cool in the pan before frosting.

for the frosting:

in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, rosewater, and salt and mix until combined. mix in the heavy cream.

frost as desired! you certainly don't need to cover the whole darn thing in roses, but if you'd like to, see notes above and then here are a few reference videos: 

video 1

video 2

video 3

video 4


-yeh!

mint chocolate chip cookies

all of my dreams right now are filled with mayonnaise and salami sandwiches on brioche and pizza corner pizza at judy’s tavern and chicken pot pies, and no amount of butter fried matzo and gruyere sandwiches will fix this. what are the rules about it being sundown *somewhere*? can i have chametz if it’s sundown in australia right now? can i crawl into a bed made of steamed bun and donut???

*googles images of bagels*

on the bright side, i have fallen in major wuv with this matzo chilaquiles recipe and am planning to make it with flour tortillas after today. also fargo passover was a great success and i got down with some serious shakshuka this weekend because my friends san fermin stopped by on the way from their show in minneapolis to their show in winnipeg. it was so silly and great seeing them romp around on the farm and i feel like such a mom but they’ve definitely all gotten taller, or i’ve shrank. they gave me a cassette (a cassette!) of their side project, stereo trash, which according to them is supposed to be pretty bad, but eggboy and i listened to it in our buick on the way to drink cider with sheila and dave and it brought us both back to an alternate high school reality where we’re kind of punk-ish and too cool to care about anything, i dunno, i was into it.

speaking of eggboy, he’s really been smelling like spring lately (sweat + dirt) so spring planting should begin here any day now. it was supposed to begin yesterday but there’s rain in the forecast so he’s been putzing around the shop and driving tractors around the yard and coming in for chilaquiles and jelly beans every few hours. maybe we’ll get to see beauty and the beast before planting starts, that or donnie darko. we meant to watch donnie darko on easter because of the easter bunny appearance in it but it turns out it's not on netflix or amazon prime or anywhere (?) can someone loan me the dvd?

not only will i be ending passover tonight with salami, brioche, pizza, pie, banh mi, bagels, and/or donuts, but i’ll also be engaging in these fresh mint infused chocolate chip cookies from andrea’s delightful new book, dishing up the dirt. i love this book! it has this great approach to seasonal cooking that is refreshingly honest, unfussy, and down-to-earth, and andrea’s descriptions of farm life are so beautiful and timeless that they make me want to actually get in the fields and get all dirty and stuff. bonus: so many of the recipes are heavy on the tahini, yay! 

these cookies are basically a really fantastic soft chewy chocolate chip cookie that remind me of the cookies from my junior high cafeteria (which is a really good thing), and they’ve been infused with mint! you know how i feel about chocolate and mint. the extra step of infusing butter with mint makes your kitchen smell sooo good and it eliminates the need to wait for your butter to soften so it is a big win in the world of chocolate chip cookies. they’re the type of thing that you can scoop into balls, freeze, and bake one-by-one as needed. and next time i think i’m going to try infusing them rosemary! that would be good, right??


mint chocolate chip cookies

makes about 12 large cookies

from dishing up the dirt by andrea bemis
 

ingredients

1/2 c (1 stick) good-quallity unsalted butter, chopped into small pieces

1/2 c firmly packed fresh mint, roughly chopped

1/2 c firmly packed dark brown sugar

1/2 c granulated sugar

1 egg, at room temperature

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp fine sea salt

heaping 1/2 c semisweet chocolate chips, plus additional for topping cookies

clues

place the butter and mint in a small saucepan over medium heat. melt the butter, swirling the pan occasionally. the butter will foam and froth, then crackle a bit as it cooks. a few brown bits may form, and that's totally fine. once the mint is fragrant (after 2 to 3 minutes), set the mixture aside to cool for 30 minutes (you don't want it to solidify, just to cool down and let the mint infuse the butter). strain the butter through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to press into the mint leaves to extract any juices.

in a large bowl, beat together the butter and both sugar until the mixture is completely smooth and creamy, 3 to 5 minutes. add the egg and vanilla, beat for 1 minute longer.

in another large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, scraping down the bowl as needed. fold in the chocolate chips and continue to mix until well incorporated.

scoop the dough into a ball; place it on a piece of parchment paper, wax paper, or plastic wrap; and flatten it slightly into a thick disk. cover and refrigerate it for 1 hour. about 15 minutes before you're ready to begin baking, place racks in the center and upper third of your oven. preheat the oven to 350ºf and line two baking sheets with parchment.

use a scant 1/4-cup size scoop to form the dough into mounds on the prepared baking sheets, placing no more than 4 cookies per sheet. leave about 3 inches between each cookie; they'll spread while they bake.

top each cookie with a few extra chocolate chips and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking, until they're golden and lightly brown on the bottom. let the cookies cool for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack. let one baking sheet cool to room temperature before reloading with the remainder of the dough.

store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze them for up to a couple of months.


-yeh!

spinach and white cheddar baked matzo brei

passover days 1-2.5:

-ate lots of almond butter matzo sandwiches
-became not so weirded out by cauliflower rice after mum insisted on a cauliflower rice tabbouleh. with enough acid, salt, and herbs, it turns out it does not taste like mushy farts as undercooked cauliflower is so wont to do.
-stoop kicked my ass on a four mile run, i decided i should start running again but got nervous at how wildly bored i get on runs. tried to calculate how much i'd have to kickstart to fund unorthodox's increase from a weekly podcast to a daily podcast because i wouldn't get bored on runs if i could just listen to unorthodox the whole time.
-ordered our garden seeds finally! i added chioggia beets to the order not because i like eating them but because they look pretty (and because they look so pretty i'm going to learn to like eating them)
-discovered the new millennial pink dishes at ikea. also bought about 12 packs of these cute napkins. eggboy and i are planning a scandinavian tea party themed bridal shower for eggsister and these are truly perfect for it. 
-fell back in love with this roasted vegetable stock. i don't know what my beef is with parsnips but every time i see them listed on an ingredients list or menu i kind of gloss right over them as if they were a less than worthy vegetable but they're a great addition to this stock and i'm going to try to treat them with more respect
-went to tuesday night's chicago symphony performance and sat really close. close enough to wonder how truls' face stayed so matte during the dvorak cello concerto (note to self: listen to that second movement again to appreciate more of its prettiness). for the second half they played prokofiev 5, which i love for the crunch and woodblock, and while the speed wasn't as aggressive as when jaap does it, it certainly did not disappoint.
-listened to a lot of nelly furtado and san fermin! love their new albums.

currently:
-about to leave for fargo for tonight's fargo seder. i have 150 malabi macaroons in tow. 
-wondering how many days will pass before i give in and make matzo crack.

i am not yet tired of matzo brei but in the event that you are and are stressing out over what to make for brunch this weekend, i have two ideas for you. one is matzo chilaquiles, which i'll be making since i spent the better part of late march testing my other idea: this baked matzo brei. which, to be honest, probably prefers to identify as a frittata or crustless quiche since those more closely represent the texture, and i find it's usually the texture that people tire of when they're sick of matzo brei. this is basically a quiche with a matzo crust but instead of the crust on the outside, it's broken up and dispersed throughout the filling so it gets nice and soft and mingles with the cheese. my favorite part about it is the purple onions that go on the bottom of the pan when you cook it because then when you serve it, it gets flipped over and is like a savory upside down cake.

you can serve this hot or make it the night before and serve it at room temp. a handful of fresh herbs at the end make it party ready (and instagrammable??)! happy weekend everyone! 


spinach and white cheddar baked matzo brei

serves 4-6

ingredients

6 large eggs

1/2 c heavy cream

4 sheets matzo, broken into 2-3” pieces

Olive oil

2 c packed fresh spinach

Kosher salt

Black pepper

1 small or 1/2 large purple onion, thinly sliced

1/2 c herbs (any mix of cilantro, parsley, mint, and/or chives), finely chopped, plus more for serving

3 ounces white cheddar, shredded, plus more for serving

2 tsp za’atar

1/2 tsp sweet paprika

Plain Yogurt, for serving

Harissa, for serving

Fresh lemon, for serving

Sumac, for serving

clues

preheat the oven to 350ºf.

In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and the cream. fold in the matzo and set aside.

Heat an 8” oven-safe nonstick skillet (like a cast iron pan) over medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. Cook the spinach until wilted, season with salt and pepper and set aside to cool slightly. Add 2 more tablespoons of olive oil to the pan, let it get hot (you can increase the heat to medium high as long as you keep an eye on it so the olive oil doesn’t burn), and then add the sliced onion and a pinch salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions begin to brown. 

While the onions are cooking, add the herbs, cheddar, za’atar, paprika, 3/4 teaspoon salt, a few turns of pepper, and the wilted spinach to the egg mixture. When the onions are browned, spread them out evenly in the skillet and then pour in the egg mixture and spread it out evenly. Cook for 3 minutes and then stick it in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, until just set. Let it cool for a couple of minutes in the pan and then carefully run a rubber spatula around the edge to loosen them from the pan. Cover the pan with a plate and then turn it over to flip it onto the plate. 

Top with more cheese, a few dollops of yogurt, a bit of harissa, a squeeze of lemon, a sprinkle of sumac, and a handful of fresh herbs. Enjoy! 


-yeh!

malabi macaroons

happy almost passover!! i spent the weekend in new york trying to get as sick of chametz as possible by way of dizengoff pita, breads bakery bourekas, xi’an dumplings, and funfetti cake!! spoiler: i didn’t get sick of chametz and i don’t think i’ll ever get sick of it.

it was a 1 1/2 day trip that was supposed to be more like three. oops! but if you’re going to have an unintended 30-hour layover due to batshit weather delays, i couldn’t possibly think of a better way to spend it than with my minneapolis homies, over pizza and pastries. so in the end i had the loveliest unexpected few days.

i was in new york for the cherry bombe jubilee, which was just as sweet and delightful as it sounds. is the word jubilee not the best? it was packed with hugs, with old friends, with new friends, and with friends i’d internet fangirled over for such a long time but had never actually met. i demoed a funfetti splatter cake with my new friend jen, and then also sat on a panel about blogging with daphne, joy, jocelyn, lyndsay, and deb! it was nerve-racking to be in front of such a huge room of people and i almost dropped a glass bottle of kombucha up on stage but we had a great time and decided we should probably start a band. 

one of the questions that daphne asked was about our go-to hostess gifts. i had macaroons on my mind because i’d just come down off of a week of making them every single day, so i said macaroons. they travel well, they come together extraordinarily quickly, they’re fit for gluten free and k for p friends, and they don’t have to be eaten immediately if by chance you're way too stuffed for dessert. like all of the macaroons that i make these days, they are inspired by the recipe in danny macaroons’ book. danny’s were the macaroons that made me love macaroons and get over those canned manischewitz plops that i grew up with. they are crispy on the outside, chewy and moist on the inside, and a standard for passover desserts that is so high, you won’t even want to stop making them once passover ends.

these guys are flavored like malabi, the middle eastern rosewater milk pudding. i like mine with toasted pistachios and a bit of cinnamon and cardamom, and here i’ve added a little bit of sour fruitiness from some raspberry purée (bonus: it turns the glaze millennial pink-ish). they are rich, floral, warm, and bright, all at the same time and they are exactly what you need to fuel a fierce afikoman hunt! 

alright, i'm at mum's house in chicago now and we have a billion people coming over tonight, so i gotta go start the brisket! 


malabi macaroons

makes 16 - 18

ingredients

1 c sweetened condensed milk (reserve the rest of the can to add to your morning coffee!)

1/8 tsp cardamom

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp rosewater

2 tsp vanilla

14 ounce bag sweetened shredded coconut

2 large egg whites

1/4 tsp kosher salt

 

for the glaze

2 ounces fresh raspberries (or sub 2 tb raspberry jam)

About 1 c powdered sugar

1/8 tsp rosewater

a pinch of kosher salt

 

chopped toasted pistachios, for topping

clues

preheat oven to 350ºf. line two baking sheets with parchment and set aside.

in a large bowl, combine the condensed milk, cardamom, cinnamon, rosewater, and vanilla. mix in the coconut and set aside.

in a separate bowl, beat the egg whites and salt until stiff peaks form. 

fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture and then spoon 2" balls of it onto the baking sheets, 1" apart.

bake until golden brown, begin checking for doneness at 18 minutes. remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes on the pans. transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

for the glaze:

Place raspberries in a fine mesh sieve and give them a rinse. Place the sieve over a bowl and use a stiff rubber spatula or wooden spoon to smash them and press the juices and purée through the sieve into the bowl until you’re just left with the seeds in the sieve. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the sieve to get the stuff that’s sticking to that down into the bowl. You should be left with about 2 tablespoons of seedless puree. If it’s a tiny bit more or a tiny bit less, that’s fine. Add 1 c powdered sugar, rosewater, and salt and mix to make a thick glaze. If it's too thick, add a few drops of water to thin it out, and if it's too thin, add a few more spoonfuls of powdered sugar. it should be the consistency of a thick glue. 

spoon the glaze over the tops of the macaroons and top with a sprinkle of pistachios. enjoy!

they can be kept at room temperature for about 3 days or in the fridge for up to a week.


-yeh!