matcha, red bean, and almond rainbow cookies

I was a total blob this weekend as I came down off of this month of filming! I made snickerdoodles and then ate snickerdoodles, watched the UND hockey team score a million goals against Wisconsin, baked an extra buttery loaf of Alexandra’s bread, and discovered the brilliance that is Cynthia’s ginger chicken and dumplings. If you need proof that magic exists, just boil some chicken with tons of scallions and ginger, that’s it. Omg, it’s the best thing in my chicken life since Melissa Clark’s salt and pepper chicken. And then add a double batch of chewy dumplings and eat it while binging Three Wives, One Husband, and when those episodes run out (there were only four?!), embark on the holiday spirit.

I really can’t say that I’m glad that filming is over, because having the crew in my house and cooking all of my favorite winter foods rocked, but I can say that sitting on the couch and not thinking about anything except for snickerdoods and dumplings for a good few hours was deeply clutch.

Now that that’s out of my system though I’m beginning to think about Chrismukkah cookies and all of the cute boxes of them that I’m going to assemble over the coming season for various reasons (parties and gifts) and non-reasons (they look cute and are fun to make). Rainbow cookies are always a hit because they’re not only fiercely almondy and tasty but they also have a nice shelf life because of how moist they are. And I especially love them because, well, they’re actually cake.

I’m starting to exhaust variations on them (cake, gelato sandwiches), but wanted to drop these into the Chrismukkah lineup because they’re extra special! The green layer is actually matcha (an a+ pairing with the almond base), and the red layer has red bean paste (nutty and slightly fruity, also great with almond). I worked these up when I was developing a Chinese Jewish menu for an event next week in Baltimore. While matcha is typically thought of as a Japanese tea, it actually originated in China! And red bean paste is something that I grew up eating at dim sum in the center of Jian Dui, or fried sesame balls. I was afraid of it until Stoop told me that it tasted like peanut butter, so then I liked it. Classic rainbow cookies have Italian roots, but Jews love em. They end up on lots of our holiday dessert tables and I’m totally obsessed with their colorful, soft almondiness. This version doesn’t look too far off from the traditional but the added matcha and red bean paste add unexpected dimension and beautiful natural color. They are a perfect addition to any holiday cookie box!


Rainbow Cookies

Makes 16 cookies

ingredients

3 large eggs, separated

2 tb (13g) sugar + 1/2 c (100g) sugar

1 c (226g) unsalted butter, softened

6 oz (173g) almond paste, chopped

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 1/2 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 1/3 c (174g) all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp matcha powder

1/4 c (68g) fine red bean paste

Red food coloring

3 tb (64g) apricot or raspberry jam

4 oz (114g) dark chocolate

clues

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease three 8” by 4” loaf pans and line them with parchment paper that comes at least 2” up the sides of the pan (these little wings will help you lift the cookie out of the pan). If you don’t have 3 loaf pans, you can bake the layers in batches. 

In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites to soft peaks, and then with the mixer running on medium, gradually add the 2 tablespoons sugar. Increase the speed to medium high and beat to stiff peaks. Set them aside.

In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter, almond paste, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar on medium high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium and add the yolks, one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in the lemon juice and almond extract, and then reduce the speed to medium low and gradually add the flour. Mix to combine. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the whites. Transfer a third of the mixture to one of the loaf pans and use a small offset spatula to spread it out evenly. Transfer another third of the mixture to a separate bowl and fold in the matcha powder. Fold the red bean paste and a couple of drops of red food coloring into the remaining third. Transfer these into the remaining 2 loaf pans, spread them out evenly and then bake until the tops are just set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Begin checking for doneness at 12 minutes. Let cool in the pans for 5 minutes and then lift them out and place on a wire rack to cool completely. 

Stack them up with 1 1/2 tablespoons jam between the layers. Wrap the loaf firmly in plastic wrap, weight it down with a couple of heavy cookbooks, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. 

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or by microwaving it for 30 second increments, stirring after each, until it’s smooth. Remove it from heat and stir continuously until it is no longer hot. Spread it over the top and sides of the cookie cake loaf and stick it in the refrigerator to firm up for about 15 minutes. Cut width-wise into 1” slices and then cut each of those slices in half to make 16 cookies.

Store at room temperature in an airtight container. 


-yeh!

p.s. Watch the season premiere of Girl Meets Farm this Sunday at 11am/10 central!!! We’re making goulash, chocolate hazelnut donuts, hawaij apple pie, and brussels sprouts!!

overnight cinnamon rolls with tahini cream frosting and pistachio rose dukkah

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Helloooo, vest weather!!!!! It's here! It's here! I got off the plane yesterday from L.A. and there was a cool refreshing chill in the air, the kind that says cozier days are a comin'! I promptly put on my vest for our evening walk and did a happy dance because vest weather (and quarter zip fleece pullover weather) is the best weather. 

Now I'm just doing all of my laundry and packing right back up again to head to Unglued Camp for the weekend but before I leave I want to talk about these cinnamon rolls that I'm going to be making for all of the campers! (I also wanted to post these in time for Yom Kippur break fast menu planning purposes since the fact that these can be prepped a day in advance makes them perfect for that meal!)

In my kitchen, tahini and cinnamon function together in a similar way that chocolate and espresso, broccolini and lemon, and melon and salt work. In each of these pairs there’s one true star and the other enhances. You add espresso to make chocolate more chocolatier, a squeeze of lemon over broccolini brightens it into its truest best self, and behind every great bite of melon there is some salt (or salty meat). When you add a little bit of cinnamon to anything with tahini, its warmth adds depth to the flavor that’s subtle but great. 

With these rolls though this relationship has been inverted and it works just as well: in their heart, they are cinnamon rolls. Buttery, soft, doughy, delicious classic cinnamon rolls. It’s cinnamon’s time to shine! The tahini plays the roll of support, offering its seedy richness to an otherwise very tangy cream cheese topping. That nuttiness bridges the gap between sweet, tangy, and cinnamony for a beautifully autumnal swirl of tastiness. And a pinch of cardamom also adds a very special something. On top, I like to finish these with a dukkah that's heavy on the crushed pistachios and rose petals, for color and crunch!

You can prep these a day in advance or--if you're up before the roosters--you can make them in a few hours. And if you don't have tahini (why don't you have tahini???) peanut butter or almond butter or pistachio butter would be dope in its place. 


Overnight Cinnamon Rolls with Tahini Cream Frosting

Serves 8

Ingredients

1 c (236ml) whole milk

1/2 c (113g) unsalted butter

4 1/2 c (585g) all-purpose flour

1/2 c (100g) sugar

1 tsp kosher salt

a pinch of cardamom

2 1/4 tsp instant yeast

2 large eggs, room temp

 

Filling

1/4 c (67g) unsalted butter, melted

1 c (200g) brown sugar

2 tb cinnamon

1/4 tsp kosher salt

 

Frosting

1/4 c (67g) unsalted butter, softened

4 oz (113g) cream cheese, softened

1/4 c (64g) tahini

2 c (240g) powdered sugar

A pinch of kosher salt

1/2 tsp vanilla

 

Sprinkles and/or pistachios, rose petals, sesame seeds, turbinado sugar, and flaky salt

Clues

Combine the milk and butter in a large saucepan and heat over medium, stirring gently, until the butter is just melted and then remove from heat. It won’t be very hot, just warm. Set it aside to cool slightly while you combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Once that’s combined, check on the milk/butter mixture to make sure it’s just lukewarm or slightly warmer than room temp- you don’t want it to be hot otherwise the eggs will cook. Add the eggs to the mixture and whisk to combine. Stir this mixture into the dry ingredients and then knead, either on a work surface or with the dough hook, adding more flour as needed, until the dough is smooth and slightly sticky, 7-10 minutes. Place in an oil bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for 1 1/2-2 hours, or until doubled in size. 

Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and roll it out into a large 16” x 14” rectangle. Brush it with the melted butter and sprinkle evenly with the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Roll it up tightly the long way, and pinch the edges to seal. Cut into 8 rolls and place in an 8” x 11” baking dish. (Alternatively you can roll it out into an 18” x 12” rectangle, cut 12 rolls, and place them in a 9” x 13” baking dish.) Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or let rise at room temperature for another hour and then go directly to the baking step.

When ready to bake, remove the rolls from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours, until puffy. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Remove the plastic wrap and bake until the rolls are lightly browned; begin checking for doneness at 30 minutes. 

While the rolls are baking, make the frosting: beat the butter, cream cheese, and tahini together in a mixer fitted with a paddle. Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth and creamy. Beat in the salt and vanilla. 

Spread the rolls with the frosting right when they come out of the oven. Sprinkle with sprinkles, pistachios, rose petals, sesame seeds, turbinado, flaky salt, and any other pretty toppings you’d like, and serve. Enjoy!


-yeh! 

photos by chantell and brett quernemoen

necklace by marian bull // dress by whowhatwear // glasses by warby parker

orange juice challah

I realize that posting a Rosh Hashanah recipe almost a month in advance is a bit… much… but Christmas decorations are out before Halloween now, so just give me this, ok??? I’m excited. The older I get and the less I care about presents (unless it’s a Caboodles), the more I care about holidays that revolve around big feasts and merriment and being cozy and autumnal, so Rosh Hashanah: check. Thanksgiving: check. Beet Harvest party: check. And wheat harvest has begun, so we are on the fast track to fall and all of my favorite days. It’s on like donkey kong, fronds!!!!

First we did have to endure a couple of weekends in the 90s though, which I’m hoping will be dunzo asap because this coming weekend I’m judging a hotdish competition outside, and surely a hot hot hotdish competition would have less than optimal comfort. However, rain or shine or shvitz, I’m willing to put myself second in the name of choosing an East Grand Forks hotdish champion. There better be a tater tot entry this year. I couldn’t believe there wasn’t one last year.

This past weekend we had visitors! The Butnick Cohens of Manhattan came over and we ran through wheat fields, ate cheesy pickles, made challah, spent good quality time in the climate controlled indoors, and attended the Prince cover band street dance and it was all extremely fun!!!!! I got Stephanie a Caboodles and she got me one so now we have Friendship Caboodles and my life is complete. I organized all of my nail polishes in mine. 

Speaking of 90s things, this challah is inspired by a thing my mom used to do in the 90s, which was pour a bunch of orange juice into bread dough. It sounds weird, but it works! It makes the bread slightly tangy, sour, and sweet. And it’s oddly good with turkey sandwiches. Kind of in the same way that cranberry sauce works with turkey. The OJ bread my mom used to make was just a simple white sandwich bread, but this year for Rosh Hashannah I figured what better way to ring in a sweet new year than with OJ challah?? The hit of citrus in this is subtle and great. It would be equally at home as a turkey sandwich or as a sweet french toast, it’s a versatile little loaf! I’ve made eight mini loaves here, but you can totally make fewer larger loaves, just increase the baking time.

L’shana almost tovah!


orange juice challah

makes 8 little loaves (or fewer, bigger loaves)

ingredients

2 1/4 tsp (1 packet) active dry yeast
1 c (236ml) warm water
1/2 c (118ml) orange juice, from about 2 oranges
6 c (780g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 c (50g) sugar
Zest of 1 orange
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2/3 c (132g) flavorless oil, such as canola or vegetable oil
2 large eggs
Egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 tb water
Sesame seeds, for sprinkling
 

clues

In a medium bowl, combine the yeast, warm water and orange juice. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, until slightly foamy. Meanwhile, in a large bowl or the bowl of stand mixer, combine the flour, sugar, orange zest, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together oil and 2 eggs.

Add yeast mixture and egg mixture to the flour mixture; stir to combine. Knead, either by hand on a floured surface or with a dough hook on medium speed for 7 to 10 minutes, adding more flour as necessary (but resist any urge to add too much!), until you have a smooth and slightly sticky dough.

Transfer dough to a large oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until doubled in size, about 2 hours. (Alternatively, chill dough in refrigerator overnight, then let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before shaping.)

Divide dough into 8 pieces. Divide each into 4 logs and shape according to the gif above (alternatively you can make mini swirls or mini 3-strand braids or even just blobs!). Place on 2 baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing evenly apart, cover loosely, and let rise 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375ºF. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining egg and 1 tablespoon water. Brush rolls with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake until they are golden and have an internal temperature of 190ºF; begin checking for doneness at 18 minutes. Transfer to a wire wrack to cool slightly and enjoy. 

Challah is best eaten within 24 hours, after that it’s ok if you toast it or use it for french toast. It also freezes well!
 


kale matzo pizza with garlic, lemon, and almonds

A truth about matzo pizza that I only recently learned is that it has the ability to take on the life of a very tasty cracker crust pizza and become something that is delicious enough to have year-round and, in this case, healthyish enough to have for lunch pizza. You have to do the following though: use a fresh cheese (like fresh mozzarella) that will lend some of its excessive moisture to the dry matzo and soften it slightly, salt the shit out of it, and brush it with olive oil so the edges get just slightly kind of fried and light and crispy. I believe that the world is your matzo pizza kosher oyster when you do these things and I’m going to demonstrate it with this tasty recipe inspired by the broccolini and preserved lemon pizza at the hip joint Young Joni, in Minneapolis. That Young Joni pizza has my favorite flavor combo: green + lemon + garlic, and then it also has almonds! Which turns out is a brilliant way to add protein to a vegetarian pizza. I’ve used kale instead of broccolini here because the dainty matzo wanted a daintier topping than broccolini and also I opted to go with lemon zest instead of preserved lemons because I think I’ve recently overdosed on preserved lemons. But you can use them if you want! 


kale matzo pizza with garlic, lemon, and almonds

makes 4

Ingredients

4 slices of matzo (egg matzo or gtfo)
Olive oil
6 oz (170g) fresh mozzarella, torn
Kosher salt
1/3 c (40g) sliced almonds
4 cloves garlic, sliced
4 oz (113g) kale, thinly sliced
1/4 tsp dried thyme
Black pepper
Zest and juice from 1/2 lemon
Parmesan, for serving
Sriracha, for serving, or other spicy stuff
 

Clues

Preheat oven to 425ºf.

Place the matzo on baking sheets lined with parchment and brush all over with a thin layer of olive oil. Top with the fresh mozzarella and a few good pinches of salt. Distribute the almonds all over. In a large bowl, combine the garlic, kale, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and a pinch of salt, and massage it for a minute or two to soften the kale and get it evenly coated in olive oil. Pile it onto the pizza. It is a lot of kale (and a lot of garlic) but it will cook down in the oven and also a lot of kale is good! Sprinkle with the thyme, a few turns of pepper, and the lemon zest and bake for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the edges of the matzo are brown. 

Finish with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a shower of shaved parmesan, and some very good drizzles of sriracha or other spicy stuff and enjoy! Yogurt ranch is also good drizzled on this.
 


-yeh!