chocolate sea salt rugelach

Even though it’s already Hanukkah, I feel like we never fully debriefed from Thanksgiving! How was yours? Did the stuffing taste good? Was there family drama?? Our beachside situation was as strong as possible. We hung out with all of our little cousins (who are not so little anymore), played card games by the pool, and ate a deeeelicious feast. I lived in my maternity bathing suit!! And Eggboy became BFFs with my uncle, I couldn’t believe the bromance forming before my very eyes. By far one of my very favorite parts of our trip, however, was when my mom strolled down to the pool with a gigantic container of her homemade rugelach. It was the best thing ever. They were so tangy from the cream cheese and soft on the inside (my mom bakes them at a cool 350ºf and the insides stay delightfully soft this way), and the Florida sun warmed them just the teensiest bit, which made them even softer and melted the chocolate just perfectly. 

It occurred to me that I haven’t had rugelach that much since my college days when my mom would send me huge care packages of it. I’d walk around to my friends’ practice rooms and pass them out and we’d eat them together in the hallway. The arrival of “Jody’s Arugula” became the perfect occasion to just sit and commiserate about how hard playing the xylophone can be. 

Our poolside Thanksgiving rugelach was so similar to my college care package rugelach because in both cases it had been sitting in a container for a couple of days, which emphasizes that certain special homemade quality. You know what I’m talking about right?? Where the texture isn’t perfectly crisp and they’re a little bit crumbly but that’s 100% ok because you can taste all the love and coziness in them?? What I’m getting at is that I feel like rugelach is a perfect holiday cookie because it stays great for a good few days, so you can send it in the mail or bring it with you on your travels this season. 

Speaking of travels, Eggboy and I are making the miniature trek to Fargo this week for the annual sugar beet farmers’ meeting. It’s called a meeting, but it’s actually more of a party because the farming season is dunzo and school’s out for the summer (errr, well, you know what I mean). So we’ll get dressed up and mingle with other farmers and eat cute hors d’oeuvres… one of our favorite parts about the meeting though is that it’s held *right* next to a Barnes & Noble. We don’t have a very big bookstore in Grand Forks, so having this in Fargo is theee best. I don’t think Eggboy has ever in his life been able to walk by a Barnes & Noble without going in for hours. So I mean, do we ever sneak out of the sugar beet party early to go sit in the aisles in our fancy clothes and read and put together a stack of books for presents for ourselves and our family until the store closes? Yes, yes it happens every single year. It’s the best place to get our holiday shopping done. So it’s perfect timing that I’m partnering with Barnes & Noble on this week’s blog post to help spread the word about their #MyCookieStory contest which starts today! It is a super fun contest because the winner will have a version of their cookie sold at Barnes & Noble in the 2019 holiday season! (So I’ll be able to eat it during next year’s sugar beet meeting :). Scroll to the bottom of this post for details for the contest!

Here is the recipe for this sea salty chocolate rugelach, inspired by my mom’s. I love rugelach because the dough isn’t too sweet, and it’s just like a pie dough that’s been enriched with cream cheese. To help get those pie dough-like flakes, you want the ingredients to stay cold and you don’t want to over-mix the dough (some clumps of butter and cream cheese are a good thing). Also, the refrigerator is your friend while you’re making these, so clear some space. Since the dough is not too sweet, you can control the sweetness based on the kind of chocolate you use. I love using milk chocolate, but for a less sweet option, go with semisweet or darker. You can also choose to sprinkle the tops with sanding sugar, turbinado sugar, any kind of sprinkle (duh), or do what my mom does and simply dust them with powdered sugar after they’ve been baked. I know I said that my mom bakes at 350º but lately I’ve been bumping that up to 375º to get a bit more golden color. I dunno, it depends on my mood. Either way works. Oh and one more thing and then I’ll shut up: grating marzipan or almond paste over the melted chocolate is a welcome addition. Just a thought!

chocolate sea salt rugelach

makes 24 cookies


2 1/2 c (325g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1/4 c (50g) sugar

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 c (226g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed

8 oz (226g) cream cheese, straight from the fridge

2 large egg yolks

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract, optional

1 1/2 c (260g) chocolate chips or chopped chocolate, I prefer milk but any type will do!

Egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with a splash of water

Flaky salt

Sprinkles, sanding sugar, or turbinado sugar


To make the dough, combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle. Add the cubed butter, distributing it all over the top of the dry ingredients, and dollop in the cream cheese (1” dollops should do it, but it doesn’t need to be perfect). Turn the mixer on low and stir until the mixture is mostly mealy and there are still some larger clumps of butter and cream cheese in tact. Continue mixing and add the yolks, vanilla, and almond extract, if using, and then continue mixing until the dough comes together. Divide the dough in half and shape into discs. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to two days.

To form the rugelach, melt the chocolate in a double boiler while stirring or in a microwaveable bowl in 30-second increments, stirring after each. Set aside to cool briefly while you roll out the dough. Working with one dough disc at a time, roll it out on a lightly floured surface, dusting with flour as needed to prevent it from sticking, until it is a wide rectangle, 18” by 9”. Use an offset spatula to spread on half of the chocolate in a thin even layer, leaving a 1” border along the long edge that’s furthest from you. (Try to work kinda quickly so the chocolate doesn’t harden.) Brush the 1” border with a thin layer of egg wash and then start on the end closest to you and roll the dough into a long tight log, placing it seam side down. Transfer to a cutting board or baking sheet and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to two days (depending on fridge space, you might want to cut the log in half so you’re dealing with four shorter logs as opposed to two really long ones). If you’re only refrigerating for an hour or two, no need to cover the logs. If longer than that, cover with plastic wrap. 

To bake, preheat the oven to 375ºf and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Brush the logs with a thin layer of egg wash, sprinkle with a few pinches of flaky salt, and a ton of sprinkles or sugar. Cut into 1 1/2” slices and transfer to the baking sheets, 1” apart. Bake until golden brown on top; begin checking for doneness at 24 minutes. (You might notice that the cookies seem to sweat and leak out some fat while in the oven, this is completely normal.) Let cool on the pans for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Or enjoy them warm! Leftovers can be stored at room temp for several days.


Thank you, Barnes & Noble, for sponsoring this post! Barnes & Noble is full of stories, and this year they’re asking you to share the story of your favorite holiday cookie along with the recipe for their #MyCookieStory contest. The winner will receive $5,000 and their cookie will be sold at Barnes & Noble during the 2019 holiday season! The contest runs from December 4-17 and you can enter here!

photos by chantell and brett quernemoen

saffron baked marzipan

I witnessed the most Minnesotan thing in the world this weekend: at our lil hotdish Hanukkah party, there were just enough pigs in a blanket to take us until the last hour or so. And then for the last hour there sat exactly one pig in a blanket in the center of the tray. Nobody would take it. I couldn’t believe my eyes: the best food in the world was left there out in the open and no one was taking it, but of course, this is how things go here. In any other situation I would have taken it, obviously, but I was curious to see how long it would go and also I had already had like a million, so I just watched it for a while as I sipped my vodka-y hot chocolate and thought about how you would never ever in a thousand years find one single pig in a blanket all by itself at a party in New York. Am I right??? Here, there’s this system. Someone might come over to take half of it and then someone else would come over to cut off half of the remainder and then another person would cut off half of that, etc., etc., to infinity until nothing but a microscopic dot of a pig in blanket was left. This pattern, the non-finishing of a dish by many people who refuse to have the last bite, is one truly charming phenomenon of Midwestern party food.

[Finally I opened my big mouth and addressed it so that we could discuss this single pig and then Ben From Wisconsin bit off half and handed it to me. I bit off half of that and then handed it back, excited that this was about to become a thing, but then because apparently he was feeling sassy and in the mood for a laugh he popped the rest in his mouth, just like that. People cheered, I frowned.]

Which is all to say that we threw a lovely party, complete with fireside chats and lefse, old friends and new, and I didn’t even have a headache the next day. 

Who all is ready for a holiday break?? I am! Not in like a burnt out way, just in the way that I would kind of like some time to binge Mrs. Maisel and fold laundry. I would also like more time to make boxes of colorful cookies as that’s become one of my favorite holiday things in the last few years. This season I’ve been filling boxes with a lot of sandwich cookies and wreath cookies and of course there always has to be marzipan in some form. 

So today I have for you something that’s inspired by three different cookies: these almendrados, a chewy baked marzipan that Alana and I had by a pool in Malta a long time ago, and the marzipan balls from Breads Bakery that look like they’re going to be boring but taste freaking fantastic. Usually when you think of marzipan you think of kind of a raw dough situation but imagine now that it has a crisp exterior shell and a little more chewiness, thanks to some quick time in the oven. So satisfying! I love these little guys, you can just pop them in your mouth or pile them high into a cookie box because they are so sturdy. 

Making them is a very simple process: whereas most homemade marzipan recipes call for blending nuts into oblivion in a food processor, this recipe skips that step and uses Bob’s Red Mill Almond Flour, which is just blanched almonds blended into a fine meal. So no need for a food processor. (If we were making marzipan cake decorations we would want to go the food processor route since the end result is a much smoother dough but in this case, the slightly coarser texture works beautifully.) Saffron adds a bit of very special saffron-y-ness, and they’re actually not complete without a swim in some sprinkles. Sprinkles aren’t optional, you need that extra sweetness and crunch for these to be at their height of tastiness. If you’re fresh out of sprinkles, a coating of turbinado or granulated sugar will be fine too. 

saffron baked marzipan

makes about 50 little balls


1/8 tsp saffron, crushed in a mortar and pestle
1 tsp hot water
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 c (224g) bob’s red mill almond flour
3/4 c (150g) sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Zest of 1/2 lemon
1 large egg

sanding sugar or other sprinkles, for topping




in a small bowl, combine the saffron, hot water, and almond extract and set aside to steep.

in a medium bowl, whisk together the almond flour, sugar, salt, and lemon zest. add the egg to the bowl with the saffron and whisk to combine and then pour the egg mixture into the dry mixture and mix together to form a dough. It might seem like there isn't enough egg mixture to bring it all together at first but just keep on mixing. 

Press the dough into a ball, cover it with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. 

Preheat the oven to 350ºf. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll heaping teaspoons of the dough into balls and dip them in sugar. Place on the baking sheets and bake for about 10 minutes, or until the bottoms of lightly browned. Let cool and enjoy!


Thanks to bob's red mill for sponsoring this post!

latke hotdish

Made a latke hotdish because I couldn’t not, right?? And also because hotdish Hanukkah is the theme of this year’s holiday party. I probably won’t do this ever again unless you pay me a million dollars but that’s just meant to say more about my current overwhelming desire to be lazy, nothing about whether or not this is good or not. 

This is in fact very good!!! It’s meat and potatoes at its best: hella braised brisket and fried potatoes. There is nothing not to like.

Why is this hotdish different from all other hotdishes?

1. Obvious: it’s topped with latkes!! Tater tots are basically little latkes already so this route essentially just makes our favorite hotdish topping even better. It takes a lot more effort. But as someone who is royally dreading having to shred potatoes again this weekend, I can tell you that you definitely should at least try a brisket juice covered latke once in your lifetime. And I mean, if you’re going to be making latkes anyway, it really would behoove you to make a few extra, throw them on this hotdish, and then freeze it and reheat it for the last night of Hanukkah when you are totally done with flipping latkes. 

2.   It is dairy free!! While the traditional hotdish contains meat and creamed soup, it has also been important to me to find good dairy free/kosher options. In Molly on the Range, one recipe goes the coconut milk route, and I’ve made my classic hotdish a few times using olive oil in place of butter and stock in place of milk. But my new favorite option, I just realized, has been staring me right in the eye since Eggboy and I first started dating! The first recipe that Eggmom ever sent me (before we had ever even met I think) was her tomato soup that is thickened with squash puree. It is delicious and has proved to be one of the most popular recipes in MOTR. So thickening this tomato-based hotdish mixture with butternut squash puree is exactly what I’ve done here and the squash adds the most delicious warming undertones that make me forgive it for being such an easy vegetable to get sick of. 

3. It’s got an apples! Which is a nod to latkes + apple sauce, h/t to Kristin for this connection.

4. And rosemary and red wine and all sorts of things that will make your house smell so good that your guests will have no choice but to melt right down into the holiday spirit. I suck at decorating for the holidays but what I lack in greenery and tiny light up houses, I make up for in house smells. And that’s just as important, right??

Q: Omg you want me to braise a brisket, roast a squash, puree it, shred potatoes, and fry latkes all at once? Is this The Onion?? 

A: You can totally make the braised brisket mixture (including the part where you stir in the squash) a day in advance. It’ll probably even taste better that way. The latkes can also be prepped ahead. Assembly can also be done ahead. That’s one of the most beautiful things about a hotdish, it can all be prepped in advance and the only thing that really changes is how much time it spends baking. If you’re baking from the refrigerator, it’ll probably just need a few more minutes. If baking from frozen, cover with foil and bake at 350º for an hour, and then uncover and then increase the heat to 400º and bake for another 20-30 minutes, until the innards are heated through. 

latke hotdish

serves 6


2 1/2 tb canola or vegetable oil, divided

2 lbs brisket, cut into 2” pieces

Kosher salt

Black pepper

1 large onion, sliced

2 carrots, chopped into 1/2” coins

2 celery stalks, chopped into 1/2” pieces

1/2 c red wine

1 tb brown sugar

2 tb tomato paste

1 (14-oz) can chopped tomatoes

2 c beef or vegetable stock

Leaves from 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped

2 apples, cored and sliced

1 small (2-2 1/2 lbs) butternut squash, halved and deseeded

A good pinch of crushed red pepper

1 batch latkes, recipe follows

Chopped fresh parsley, to serve, optional (if you’re feeling fancy)


Heat 2 tablespoons canola oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add the brisket, season with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and a few turns of black pepper and cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion, carrots, and celery and cook, stirring, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the red wine and cook for a few minutes until it’s reduced by half. Add the brown sugar, tomato paste, canned tomatoes, stock, rosemary, and apples and simmer uncovered for 2 1/2-3 hours, stirring occasionally, until meat is tender. You want this to reduce and get quite thick and saucy, however if it reduces too far to where it’s more gloopy than saucy, add a bit more stock. 

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375ºf, brush the innards of your squash with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of oil, sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt and a few turns of pepper and roast until a fork pokes easily into the center, begin checking at 1 hour. Puree the squash and then stir it into your hot dish mixture with crushed red pepper. Taste and adjust seasoning

Increase the oven heat to 400ºf. 

Transfer the mixture to an 8” by 12” casserole dish and top with latkes lined up in nice neat rows. Bake until the mixture is bubbly and the latkes are deep brown, about 45 minutes. Let cool slightly and then top with chopped parsley, if using, and serve. 


Makes enough mini latkes for this hotdish, plus a few more to nosh on as you’re cooking


1 1/2 lbs russet potatoes

1 large yellow onions

3/4 tsp kosher salt

2 large eggs

1 tb lemon juice

1/3 c (43g) all-purpose flour

Black pepper


Canola or vegetable oil, for frying


Shred the potatoes and onions in a food processor or with a grater or mandoline. Place in a strainer that’s been lined with cheesecloth. Toss with salt and let sit over a bowl for 30 minutes. Gather the top of the cheesecloth and then use your hands to squeeze out as much excess moisture as you can. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the eggs, lemon juice flour, and a few turns of black pepper. Heat a skillet with a 1/4” oil until shimmering. Working in batches as not to crowd the pan, fry up loosely packed rounded tablespoons of the latke mixture until browned on both sides. Add more oil to the pan as needed. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate and set aside until ready to use. 


rose jam sufganiyot with vanilla glaze and pistachios

2017: the year I used up all of my rosewater

I never thought I’d do that because when I first bought it I’d occasionally add a couple of drops here and a couple of drops there but over time I learned to just start pouring in it. Or maybe it was that over time my one bottle of rosewater started weakening and I needed to be adding more. Oh shit. 

(No, I think it’s ok, its expiration date wasn’t until like 2019...)

I’m going to order some of this rosewater now which was recommended to me twice in one weekend, by Maureen and then by Zach, two people I’d trust my floral water life with.

This is part two of my sufganiyot double feature (see part one, starring savory onion jam sufganiyot here) and it contains a dough that you will want to poke your nose straight into. It’s a buttery rich dough scented with cardamom, cinnamon, and orange zest, and after getting fried and filled with raspberry rose jam, it gets a vanilla glaze and crushed pistachios. And rose petals because we are getting fancy. The flavors are inspired by malabi, a Middle Eastern milk custard that’s topped with rose syrup, pistachios, and sometimes a little cinnamon, and I will never stop singing praises about this combo. It is floral and warm and I love it.

A couple of notes:

Rather than piping in the jam from the side, I'm opting to go the top-down route for two reasons, 1) they looks like boobs and you get to call them boobganiyot, and 2) if your jam is on the thinner side, this is a great way to prevent it from spilling out all over the place. 

And just like the onion jam sufganiyot, these are indeed best within a few hours of being made, so for tips on making this as easy as possible and doing prep work ahead of time, see the notes in that onion jam sufganiyot post.

rose jam sufganiyot with vanilla glaze and pistachios

makes 18


2 1/4 tsp (1 packet) active dry yeast

1/2 c (120g) warm milk, 105º-110ºf
1/4 c warm water, 105º-110ºf

1/4 c (50g) + 1 teaspoon sugar

1 tsp kosher salt

3 1/2 c (448g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Zest of 1/2 an orange

1 large egg + 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla

6 tb (85g) unsalted butter, softened
canola or vegetable, plus more for frying

1 c (304g) raspberry jam
1 tb rosewater


1 1/2 c (180g) powdered sugar
2 tb whole milk
1 tsp vanilla
A pinch of kosher salt


Crushed roasted pistachios
Dried rose petals




in a medium bowl, combine the yeast, warm milk, water, and 1 teaspoon sugar and give it a little stir. let it sit for about 5 minutes, until it becomes foamy on top. 

meanwhile, in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together the salt, flour, cardamom, cinnamon, orange zest, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar. add the eggs, vanilla, and yeast mixture and mix to form a very very stiff dough. it will seem like the dry ingredients aren’t all going to get incorporated but try as best you can. knead for a few minutes and then with the mixer on, begin gradually adding the butter, tablespoon by tablespoon. this, too, will seem like it isn’t going to incorporated into the dough but keep on mixing for about 8-10 minutes more, scraping down the dough hook occasionally, until your dough is smooth and slightly sticky. transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature (or in the fridge, see notes) until it has doubled in size, about 2 hours. 

turn the dough out onto a work surface and roll it out to 1/2” thickness. cut out 2 1/2” circles and transfer them to a baking sheet lined with parchment. when re-rolling scraps, first press them together and then allow the dough to sit for about 10 minutes before proceeding. cover the circles with plastic wrap or a dish towel and let rise for another hour, until doubled. 

in a large heavy pot fitted with a thermometer, heat 3-4” oil to 350ºf. fry the donuts in batches of 3 or 4, for 1 1/2 minutes on each side. transfer to a wire rack to cool.

meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the jam and rosewater. Taste and adjust as desired. Fill a squeeze bottle or piping bag with the jam. 

To make the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt until smooth. It should be the consistency of a slightly thicker glue, if it’s too thick add a little more milk, and if it’s too thin add a little more powdered sugar. Dip the cooled donuts into the glaze and let any excess drip off (if the glaze has a hard time sticking to the donuts, that means it’s too thick and that you should add more milk). Stick the squeeze bottle straight down into the center of the donut, wiggle it around to make space, and fill it up with jam. Top with a sprinkle of pistachios and rose petals and enjoy!


photos by chantell and brett!

p.s. some quick things!

-i have joined the lineup of speakers at pesach on the mountain, in whistler! i'm so stinkin excited and have made a promise to myself to get o.k. at skiing by then. so if you need me during any weekend over the winter, i will probably be at the bemidji ski hill. and if you are looking for an amazing passover program, i have heard such amazing things about this one. so let's hang out!

-tickets for my class in sioux falls, south dakota are now on sale. i cannot wait to visit the other dakota for the very first time!