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

ingredients

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

Clues

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.


-yeh!

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

babka straws

Happy Tuesday, friends!! We had a very delightful, very chill weekend at home which I am going to tell you about in list form:

-Watched Whip It, an under-celebrated movie! I was really craving a teen-y bopper early-2000s movie and this hit the spot.

-Visited the New Flavors Food Truck, which had a new chef on board who was cooking up the tastiest Mexican food. Our big yellow town food truck makes me the happiest.

-Engaged in my favorite Saturday routine of Gym and Jimmy Johns, which is something I haven’t been able to do that much with all of our traveling this past month! It was perfect in every way. I listened to Radical Face cover “Jolene,” lightly dipped my toes back into jogging, brainstormed new recipes, and then got cheese and mayo on my regular Turkey-Tom-With-Onions-And-Mustard. Really living life on the edge. 

-Made a brunch for some fronds, which included recipes that I am testing for Unglued Camp: a kale and swiss sourdough strata and a party breakfast sandwich. You know, like a party sub from Subway but a breakfast sandwich. It’s going to be so good!!!! I can’t wait for camp. I will definitely be posting both of those recipes soon. Also, Nile straight up brought a Jell-O salad with sour cream to brunch. We Midwested so hard.

-Supported Eggboy’s Tour de France fanboyness. He really put his all into watching the cobblestone stage and woooooooweee, was it stressful. That’s all. 

-Went on a bike ride with our friend Keith and saw a bunch of spots in Grand Forks that I had never seen before!!! There were beautiful parts of the Red River, cool new houses, and the butt of the golf course which is apparently about to employ a beer drone delivery service?! I love living in the future. We also kept getting whiffs of everyone grilling outside so the whole ride smelled like a burger. Afterwards we had two options: rush home and try to catch my judginess on Food Network Star or go eat burgers at JL Beers. We chose a combination of both and facetimed our friend Zach who held the phone up to his TV so we could watch it from the parking lot of burgers. 

-Saw Girl Meets Farm for the first time in real time on the TV! It was so much fun. I loved reading your posts, comments, and questions about the episode as they came in on IG and Twitter, it was like we were all hanging out!!! A+ Sunday morning, totally worth waking up way earlier than I normally wake up on a Sunday. 😜

Ok so one of the things I served at brunch was a new brilliant invention from the brain of my friend Chani. Yes, Chani of hasselback salami fame!! I’ve long known she was a genius but when I opened up her new book, Millennial Kosher, and found the Malawach Egg-in-A-Hole, I heard a mic drop, all the way from Brooklyn. And then I flipped further and found these babka straws which are absolutely perfect because if I had a dollar for every time I wanted babka but did not have the patience to make a dough, knead the sucker, and let it rise, I would have enough money to charter an airplane directly to Russ and Daughters.

Babka straws use store-bought puff pastry and are covered with crumbly stuff!!! Like an avalanche of crumbly stuff. Inside the pastry is a super simple and delicious chocolate spread which I feel like could be improvised upon if, like, you wanted to stir in tahini or peanut butter or add nuts or--wait for it--sprinkles. The options are endless. They take less than an hour to make and when they’re all baked up, they’re crunchy, flaky, and not too sweet, which I feel like is an under-appreciated characteristic of babka: it’s distinct not-too-sweetness that leaves you wanting more. 

Also, bonus: they freeze well! I made some a while ago, froze them for a few weeks, and then defrosted them and they were perfect!

So bottom line, make these any time you need a quick babka fix or an easy cute dessert or want to experience a crunchy flaky babka. And buy Chani’s delicious book!!!! I am giving away a copy over on Instagram later this week too :)


Babka Straws

yields 4 dozen

from Chani Apfelbaum’s Millennial Kosher

Ingredients

for the chocolate filling:

1 c (120g) powdered sugar

1/2 c (40g) cocoa powder

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/8 tsp cinnamon 

pinch sea salt

1/4 c (50g) canola oil

3 tb water

 

for the sweet crumbs:

1 c (130g) flour

1 c (200g) sugar

1/2 c (100g) canola oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

pinch sea salt

 

2 sheets (490g) puff pastry, thawed

1 egg + 1 tb water, for egg wash

Clues

line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper (work in batches, if necessary). set aside. preheat oven to 375°f. 

prepare the chocolate filling: in a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, cinnamon, sea salt, oil and water. stir until creamy.

prepare the sweet crumbs: in a second bowl, combine flour, sugar, oil, vanilla, and salt. mix until crumbly.

prepare the babka straws: working with one sheet of puff pastry at a time, roll the dough out to form a large rectangle, about 12x17 inches. with the short side facing you, spread half of the dough with the chocolate filling; fold uncoated half over chocolate side.

using a pizza cutter, cut the pastry into 1/2-inch strips. twist the ends in opposite directions to give the straws a spiraled look. transfer each strip to one of the baking sheets, spaced an inch or so apart. refrigerate for 10 minutes. while straws are chilling, repeat with second sheet of puff pastry and the remaining chocolate filling.

remove pans from the fridge; brush straws lightly with egg wash. sprinkle with sweet crumbs.

bake until puffed and golden, about 20 minutes.

note: if the dough becomes too soft to twist, place into refrigerator about 10 minutes to firm up.


cheesecake eggs with shortbread soldiers

i found the town bookstore!! this whole entire time i thought that the closest bookstore was an hour and a half away in fargo, but it turns out that i just assumed that because of eggboy's barnes and noble obsession. (every time we go to fargo, eggboy does not allow us to leave until we have spent ample time at the barnes and noble.) but so on valentine's day, when the sunday political shows ended and after we'd had our cake, he suggested that we go to the university of north dakota book store to get some fiction for some upcoming trips and it blew my mind! i mean, it's not a full blown barnes and noble, but it had enough to keep us occupied for the afternoon until we got hungee. i bought room

and then we made zucchini noodles and watched the terrifying season one finale of jane the virgin. so that was our valentine's day! how was yours? did you eat enough chocolate?

we are spending the next few days in some warmer climates. not that i don't like the beautiful snow that has melted just enough so that macaroni have enough courage to take their little field trips out the tree in the yard and the other tree in the yard. but some vitamin d could do me some good right about now. 

oh, and before i get to this egg recipe! some bits and bobs:

-i will be speaking at sxsw this year! i've never ever been, so i am equal parts nervous and excited. come say hello if you are there!

-there are just a couple more spots available for the australia workshop that i am hosting with luisa and sophieso if you want to come make cake and hang out with koalas*, sign up now! (*i don't actually think koalas are coming to the workshop, but i'll be arriving in sydney early to go meet some and you are invited to come to that too.)

how many dollars do you think i could make if i bred macaroni to start laying eggs filled with whipped cheesecake and lemon curd? do you think willy wonka would want to be my friend? could he loan me an oompa loompa or 12??? whoa that escalated fast.

eggboy and i are officially freaking out over these cute little eggies, which are from aimee twigger's new book, love, aimee x. this is definitely something you should bookmark for your easter table, but i wanted to show you now because her book just came out in the states and it is such a gem! everything in it is as cute and creative as these eggs, it's like a crafting book on steroids where everything is edible. there's chocolate salami, eton mess cupcakes, and bakewell tart ice cream!!! if ever you feel like you're in a dessert rut, get this book because it is all sorts of inspiring. congratulations, ms. aimee!!!! 


cheesecake eggs with shortbread sliders

slightly adapted from aimee twigger's love, aimee x

makes 12

ingredients

12 eggshells

cheesecake:

1 c whipped cream
3/4 c cream cheese, softened
1/4 c confectioners' sugar
zest of 1 lemon

1/4 c lemon curd or marmalade

shortbread:

1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c cornstarch
1/3 c sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c unsalted butter, cold and cubed

 

 

clues

pull out the filmy part from your eggshells and wash them in boiling water to kill any germs. allow to air dry.

to make the cheesecake, put the whipped cream and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer and fold in the confectioners' sugar. whip until thick and fluffy and stir in the lemon zest. 

spoon the mixture into a piping bag and pipe some into each eggshell. add a teaspoonful of lemon curd or marmalade for the egg yolk.

to make the shortbread, preheat the oven to 350ºF and line an 8" square baking tin with parchment. 

combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. add the butter and pulse until the dough comes together. press the mixture into the baking tin. slice into rectangles, poke with a skewer, and bake for 30 minutes. remove from the oven, re-cut the rectangles, and cool on a rack. 

dip the shortbread soldiers in the eggs and enjoy! 

(ooh! and i added just a teensy bit of nutmeg on top to look like black pepper!)


-yeh!

glazed apple cider donuts

i went to portland for 1.5 seconds this weekend! what a neat-o, beautiful place. i had only been to the pacific northwest once before, a very very long time ago for like the 1997 eugene bach festival or something, so my clearest reference point for what the pacific northwest looks like was actually that zach efron movie, charlie st. cloud. it is a very weird movie but it has a wildly hunky dark moody forest-y hilly scenery, and i got to experience that in person this weekend! i totally now get why my entire instagram feed is so in love with the p.n.w. 

and it was the loveliest backdrop for the hello sessions, a new blog conference that i hope was the first of many because joy and melissa did such a great job with it! when i wasn't food styling and schmoozing with the hello sessioners, i was snooping around the pearl district, touching all of the cookbooks in the middle eastern section of powell's, eating tasty quiche, and searching for the perfect full body sweater. i found an ok one, it was just a little bit too wooly scratchy.

and then! on saturday night, i ventured out into oregon wine country for an amazing meal hosted by chelsey and maggie in the newspaper printing warehouse that's been in chelsey's family for four generations. it was so cool. and tasty (thanks to letumeat!) and local. i loved it.

now i am back on the farm, adjusting to post-harvest life and working on my hotdish skills. 

how was your weekend?!

i have some big news i need to share: i've surrendered to baked donuts. for quite some time, i was on the fence about them: are they really donuts? or are they just donut shaped muffins? are they hiding something? or are they real, honest desserts?

my skepticism was more or less 100% brought on by the fact that i didn't yet own a donut pan, so even if i wanted to, i couldn't join in on the fun. but all of that has changed, thanks to the good people at king arthur flour. i'm a new woman. and i have found that the shape of a donut, the ratio of surface area to glaze, and the instagrammability (😂 sorry, i had to) indeed makes the experience of a baked donut different than that of a muffin. so to begin this new baked donut phase of my life, we have a classic soft apple cider donut that goes the non-traditional route of having a white glaze. nothing against the traditional cinnamon sugar coating, i just love the texture and sweetness of a glaze and its ability to keep the sprinkles on.


glazed apple cider donuts

makes 10-12

ingredients

1/2 c sugar

1 1/4 c all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp kosher salt

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tb apple pie spice

1 large egg

1/2 c whole milk

1/4 c flavorless oil, like canola

3/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 c boiled cider or thawed apple juice concentrate

glaze:

1 c powdered sugar mixed with 5 tb heavy cream

decorations:

sprinkles + cinnamon sugar

clues

preheat the oven to 375ºf. grease a 12-cavity donut pan and set it aside.

in a large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. in a separate medium bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients. add the wet ingredients to the dry mixture and stir to combine.

Fill a piping bag with the batter and pipe the batter into the donut pans, filling each cavity halfway.

Bake for 12 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a donut comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Remove to a rack and cool completely.

To decorate the donuts, dip them halfway into the glaze and then allow excess glaze to drip off. Sprinkle the tops with sprinkles and/or cinnamon sugar and enjoy!


i used the following king arthur products in this recipe: boiled cider, all-purpose flour, apple pie spice, donut pans, vanilla extractcinnamon vanilla sugar, caramel sugar, rainbow sugar, and perhaps the quirkiest sugar i ever did taste, butternut sugar! these are all ingredients that i would recommend and i am so excited to be partnering with them on this post and on some upcoming posts! thanks so much, king arthur

-yeh!