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! 

 

tahini puppy chow

hello from hawaii where we are celebrating eggboy’s 30th birthday!! we came here right after a quick couple of days spent in new york for the today show and the launch of my taim falafel and it was so much fun! i got to make tater tot hotdish on air with al roker and harry connick junior, and they and everyone else at the show were so gosh darn sweet! i was so nervous but made sure to eat a good breakfast at ess-a-bagel before and then i managed to squeeze in a mention of our town tater tot factory during the segment. new york actually felt balmy when we got there since it was -20 when we left grand forks. it was perfect walking weather, so i was able to easily avoid the subway and log a zillion steps per day. 

anywho, about a month ago my bb kristin texted me a very important text message:

tahini puppy chow?????

yassssss!!!!!! ever since chanie posted a recipe for it i've been eyeing it up and down.

the last time i’d had puppy chow was probably also the last time i wore limited too and was obsessed with lime green and those little rhinestone accessories that stuck onto your hair by way of velcro. (do you remember those? what were we thinking?) puppy chow was the best soccer game half-time snack, tied with firmly packed rice krispies treats. and it is best eaten by shoveling it into your mouth, creating a powder sugar mustache that, now that i have grown out of my limited too phase, begs for a cocaine joke.

when kristin arrived at our house for our annual chrismukkah slumber party, she brought:

chex

powdered sugar

my favorite m&m knockoffs which i think you can only get in the whole foods bulk section (the colors are the prettiest)

tahini for the puppy chow

more tahini for my personal use because my stash got dangerously low and good tahini does not exist in grand forks

and then we went to town and made what seemed like way too much puppy chow at the time but after a couple days of steady noshing it was gone and we got really sad. it’s ok though because the recipe is right here! we improvised on kristin’s classic peanut butter recipe, essentially just swapping out the peanut butter for tahini, adding a bit of cinnamon to enhance the flavor and finishing it with toasted sesame seeds, those pretty m&m knockoffs, and some chopped halva that i've had in my freezer from when ruth gifted me halva kingdom halva in tel aviv! it is perrrrfect to have around in a cute container for when you need just a little bite of something sweet.


tahini puppy chow

makes about 8 cups

ingredients

1/4 c butter

1/2 c tahini

a couple pinches of cinnamon

a big pinch of salt

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 c chocolate chips

6 c chex cereal

1 1/2 c powdered sugar

2 tb sesame seeds

1 c chopped halva

a few handfuls of m&ms

clues

in a small saucepan over medium low heat, melt butter. stir in the tahini, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla. add the chocolate chips and stir until the chocolate is fully melted. remove from the heat.

in a large plastic bin or bowl with a lid, combine the chex and tahini mixture, stirring gently to keep the chex from breaking. stir in half of the powdered sugar and then add the rest of the powdered sugar and the sesame seeds, snap on the lid and shake, shake, shake! taste and add more powdered sugar as desired.

finally, fold in the chopped halva and m&ms and enjoy! 


-yeh!

blueberry cream cheese donuts + a giveaway!

i slept through half of the macy’s parade and then played defense against eggboy, who kept trying to change the channel to the godfather, then we made potatoes and a turkey bird and a pie that was the most rustic pie i ever done seen, and then we put up our chrismukkah bush which was still fully decorated from last year (?!) and missing two of its big light bulbs because i never replaced the ones that i grabbed in lieu of a glass to smash on the way outside to get married, and then we watched elf (sup, tyrion lannister in a suit). so, it was low-key and great. how was yours?? did you have a good black friday, small biz saturday, something something monday? i think the only thing i bought throughout all that was a shit ton of chocolate lip balm because the winter is coming and so are my gross dry lips. 

thankfully all of the thanksgiving leftovers are pretty much gone by now and in eggboy’s belly, giving us just enough calm before the hanukkah storm to go to fargo and celebrate the true end of the farming season. every december there is a big multi-day beer-filled holiday inn bash for farmers in the area so, uh, wish us luck? i’ll actually be spending my fargo days scribbling away at my book while eggboy schmoozes about tractors, and then we’ll be back in time for latkes, menorahs, and sufganiyot this weekend. yipee!

idk if it was obvious or not but these past few months i’ve fallen so hard for baked donuts that i almost forgot about reeeeeal friiiiied donuts. omg they’re so good. thank you, hanukkah, for giving me reason to recall this! so as we head into sufganiyot season, i am 1) presenting you with a classic jam donut that gets a lil unsolicited help from my good friend cream cheese, and 2) going to teach you something i learned recently when i spent the better part of last month deep-frying foods: deep frying in cast iron is the best way to keep the heat of the oil at a consistent temperature. before i discovered this, i thought i was going crazy when i had to constantly adjust the heat knob in order to keep the oil at a fry-able temperature (about .00001% of you are going to relate to this, but it was like riding the pedal while playing on crappy out-of-tune balance-action timpani). so now i have converted to only frying in cast iron and it’s a darn good thing because i have this pretty new magic* dutch oven from lodge that is perfect for all of my hanukkah/frying needs. and i’m giving this puppy away, so scroll past the recipe for more deets!


blueberry cream cheese donuts

makes 12

ingredients

2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup + 1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 eggs
1/3 cup flavorless oil, like canola or vegetable, plus more for frying


8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup blueberry jam
powdered sugar

 

clues

In a medium bowl, combine the yeast, warm 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 a large bowl or the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together the salt, flour, and remaining sugar. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and oil.

When the yeast is foamy, add it to the dry mixture immediately followed by the egg mixture and stir to combine. Knead, either by hand on a floured surface or with a dough hook for 7-10 minutes, adding more flour as necessary (but try not too add too much), until you have a smooth and slightly sticky dough.

Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature until it has doubled in size, about 2 hours. 

Fill a large heavy pot fitted with a thermometer with 2” of oil and heat over medium high heat to 360º F.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/2” thickness. Use a biscuit cutter to cut out 3” circles, re-rolling scraps until the dough is used up. Cover the circles with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 more minutes. Fry in batches for 1-1 1/2 minutes on both sides and use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a wire rack.

To make the filling, mix together the cream cheese and blueberry jam. When the donuts are cool enough to handle, use a skinny knife to poke a hole in the sides and rotate it to create space for the filling. Use a piping bag to pipe the filling into the donuts, dust with powdered sugar, and serve. 

*this new lodge dutch oven, which is part of a new entire line from lodge, is a heat-treated cast iron pan of ***magic*** because the heat-treated part means that it’s rust resistant, which means you can soak it! until now i’ve bestowed the job of cleaning the cast iron on eggboy because i am too terrified to ruin it, but with this new dutch oven that is basically impossible to ruin, i might have to take some responsibility for my messes…?? anyway, there are five new pieces in this heat-treated line, which are available at macy’s, and they have a slightly curvier design than the classics. super cool. to enter this giveaway, check out the line (9” skillet, 11” skillet, grill pan, griddle, and dutch oven) and leave a comment here telling me which piece you’d like if you won and what you’d make in it first! open to u.s. residents. a winner will be chosen at random next week! update: this giveaway is now closed.

-yeh!

thank you so much for sponsoring this post, lodge