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

ingredients

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

 

 

clues

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!

-yeh!

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

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

ingredients

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

Filling:
1 c (304g) raspberry jam
1 tb rosewater

Glaze:

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

Topping:

Crushed roasted pistachios
Dried rose petals

 

 

clues

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!

-yeh!

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! 

 

onion jam sufganiyot with za'atar, sumac, and yogurt powder

Hello! How was your weekend?? We had such a jolly holiday time tooling around town. We saw the community theater’s performance of White Christmas, had a great brunch at the town fancy restaurant that just started brunch, and did the holiday home tour where you get to tour a bunch of houses that are all dressed up for the holidays. It was so lovely and especially educational in our house planning stage. Eggboy got one of those laser measuring devices so anytime we found ourselves in a nicely sized living room, not too big/not too small/just the right amount of cozy, he would inconspicuously measure it go-go-gadget laser style. It was so cool. Then we came home and drew on graph paper and made hot cocoa with our espresso steamer. Excellent chill weekend!

Welcome to my first annual sufganiyot double feature, starring one savory recipe, one sweet recipe, and one silly sweater that I rented from the internet! Today I’m sharing the savory recipe which includes a buttery garlicky za’atar speckled dough that’s filled with sweet onion jam and dusted with vinegary sumac and yogurt ~powder~ that I had leftover from yogurt book testing. Yogurt powder is a lot like macaroni and cheese powder but tangier and less salty (but do you know what would work great in the absence of yogurt powder, should you not have time to amazon it?? Macaroni and cheese powder.) 

This one is for those people who would rather have a pile of cheese fries than a birthday cake (me). Or who want a next level garlic knot or savory monkey bread or any round bulbous soft hot bread thing (me me me). 

Early next week, right in time for Hanukkah, I’ll be sharing a rose jam sufganiyot recipe that follows the same general method so that you can get two great flavors for the price of one deep frying session. How long has it been since I complained about deep frying, am I due for a kvetch?

Actually on second thought, no time for that, I have to go order some books for Eggboy. The other day I half jokingly suggested that we do “Book Hanukkah” and gift each other one book for each night of Hanukkah (new, used, homemade… I think those are all the options). It was after we drew a two-story library into our home plan. I forgot about Book Hanukkah until a huge Amazon box arrived yesterday that was filled with books that I wasn’t supposed to see. So, ok, gotta go figure out what Eggboys read!!

A couple of notes:

-These are by far the best within a few hours of making them so if you’re looking to prep ahead, here are some tips: make the filling in advance (this can be made a few days in advance). For the first rising, the dough can stay in the fridge for a good day or two. Let it come to room temperature before stamping out your circles. Once you have your circles stamped, you can keep them in the fridge for up to 3 hours. Fry them right before your party, and then maybe hand off the job of filling them to that friend who arrives at the party looking for a job to do in the kitchen. 

-I like frying in cast iron! It does a nice job of maintaining the temperature of the oil.

-You can use any onion jam of your choosing here. I've linked to a super tasty recipe that tastes rather sweet on its own, but once it's in the donuts, it really balances out quite nicely.


onion jam sufganiyot with za'atar, sumac, and yogurt powder

makes 18

ingredients

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

1/2 c warm whole milk (105-110ºf)

1/4 c warm water (105-110ºf)
2 tb + 1 tsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt

Black pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 tb za’atar
3 1/2 c (448g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 large egg + 2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
6 tb (85g) unsalted butter, softened

canola or vegetable, for frying

filling/topping:

about 1 c onion jam

a few tb yogurt powder, for dusting 

sumac, for dusting

clues

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, a few turns of black pepper, garlic powder, za’atar, flour, and remaining sugar. Add the eggs 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, fill a piping bag fitted with a large round tip with the onion jam. Using a skinny knife, poke holes into the tops of cooled donuts and rotate the knife to create space for the jam. Pipe the jam into the holes. Dust the donuts with a light dusting of yogurt powder and sprinkle with za’atar and sumac. Enjoy! 
 


-yeh!

photos by chantell and brett!

gingerbread chicken coops + white house scenes

seven things i learned about the white house!

1. it is way smaller than i thought it would be. i envisioned a huge building with millions of hallways to get lost in and a state dining room the size of alaska, but that’s not the case! it’s like polly pocket. with a kitchen that is only about twice the size of mine (but then again they do have a separate pastry kitchen and meat room…). 

2. they make 25,000 cookies every holiday season and some of their most popular ones are in the shape of bo and sunny, the white house pups.

3. bo walked by. eggboy saw him. i did not. i was too busy giggling and cookie decorating with joy and ashley, and eggboy didn’t get the memo that you’re supposed to tell everyone else in the room when a white house pup walks by. eggboy is fired.*** 

4. the walls of the white house gingerbread house get baked for eight hours at a very low temperature. this helps them get super duper sturdy and allows them to remain completely flat and not curvy. otherwise the humidity could make them warp. 

5. susie, the white house pastry chef, has been there for 21 years and is a wizard of sugar! the bottom of the white house gingerbread houses are reinforced with a layer of melty sugar that hardens and looks like glass. and all of the trees around the house are also made of sugar. no green frosted ice cream cones in sight.

6. The security men in the little security house that you have to go through to get onto the grounds burn sugar cookie scented candles. idk if this is the norm but when we walked in all of the lights were off and it smelled of cookies and the big beefy security men who were ushering us through the metal detectors seemed to really appreciate it when we complimented them on their candle.

7. the news briefing room is exactly what it looks like on veep and designated survivor

***eggboy edit: he wants you to know that he is 99.9% sure that is was bo and is reserving .1% for the possibility that this could have been a bo decoy and eggboy doesn’t want to get arrested if this was classified information. hiiii white house! 

even though we spent less than 48 hours in d.c., we had the gosh darn loveliest time! aside from spending an afternoon at the white house, we hung out with the super awesome ladies of pineapple d.c. at on rye (which is the most insanely delicious new jewish deli (they have babka ice cream sandwiches!!!)), poked around the smithsonian and saw julia child’s old kitchen and got a tour from our new friend jessica, met our congressman who we learned is also a musician, and saw some extremely wonderful old friends!! everybody we saw had so much pride in d.c., and i certainly saw why. it is such a beautiful city with so many cool historical things, which i guess is exactly what you want in a capitol. that’s all i have to say about that, i wish i could say more, we tried to extend our trip because at the end of it we still had a list of people to see and things to eat, but then eggboy got food poisoning and barfed his brains out so we had to leave. he was officially forgiven for not telling me about his bo sighting. 

all of susie’s gingerbread got me inspired to come home and make my own gingerbread houses! it was the first time i’d had any desire to do that since i burnt myself out on making our gingerbread farm. i figured i should ease into it with something on the smaller, simpler side, so here are some gingerbread chicken coops! i searched high and low for chicken cookie cutters but couldn’t find a small enough one, so the official story here is that all of our chickens are dressed up as other animals. 


gingerbread chicken coops

makes 4 small houses

ingredients

for the gingerbread:

1 c dark corn syrup, molasses, or a mix of the two (corn syrup for lighter colored walls, molasses for darker walls)

3/4 c dark brown sugar

3/4 c margarine or butter

4 c all-purpose flour

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

for the gingerbread house glue:

3 large egg whites

1/2 tsp cream of tartar

4 c powdered sugar

for decoration:

candy, sprinkles, shredded coconut, marzipan, chocolate, or other edible things you can find around your kitchen

clues

for the gingerbread:

In a medium saucepan or microwave-safe bowl, combine corn syrup or molasses, brown sugar, and margarine or butter. Heat over medium heat on the stove or in the microwave for 1-minute increments, stirring in between each, until the margarine or butter is melted and the sugar has completely dissolved.

In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Stir in the sugar mixture until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and let cool at room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350° F and get your stencils ready. You can either make them or find them onlinethe coops pictured are about 2 3/4" wide and 4 1/4" tall at the tallest point.

Roll your dough out onto a piece of parchment paper that will fit on your cookie sheet. Lightly flour the dough and place your stencils on top (leaving 1 inch in between them) and use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to trace around them. Remove excess dough, slide the parchment onto your cookie sheet, and then bake until the edges just start to brown. Begin checking for doneness at 15 minutes. If you'd like a darker brown color, you can leave them in there for up to 45 minutes. You can re-roll your dough scraps a few times. If it starts to feel dry, microwave it for 30 seconds or so.

allows the walls to cool and then assemble using gingerbread house glue...

for the gingerbread house glue:

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat together the egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar. Beat on medium high for 7 to 10 minutes, until very fluffy.

Immediately spoon into a piping bag and use. Any frosting that's not being used should remain under plastic wrap (the plastic wrap should touch the surface of the frosting), so that it doesn't dry out.

to assemble the coops:

use the glue like mortar, pasting together the walls. reinforce every corner on the inside with more glue. prop them up to dry before gluing on the roof.

once all of the coops are assembled, let them dry for about 15 to 20 minutes. then, use your remaining glue to decorate! 


-yeh!