We in Israel are already seeing bakeries displaying sufganiyot for Hanukkah. No doubt the situation is the same in Vancouver and you’ll have plenty of jelly doughnut options, so here are some other sweets for the holiday.
HANUKKAH PUFFS (makes 3 dozen)
2 cups flour 1/4 cup sugar 1 tbsp baking powder 1 tsp nutmeg 1/4 cup vegetable oil 3/4 cup milk or nondairy substitute 1 egg oil cinnamon sugar or confectioner’s sugar
Warm a substantial amount of oil in a deep pot.
In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and nutmeg. Mix well. Add oil, milk or nondairy substitute and egg. Mix thoroughly.
Drop by small teaspoonfuls into deep hot oil. Fry three minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
Roll in cinnamon sugar or confectioner’s sugar.
COOKIE DREIDELS (makes 5 dozen)
1 cup butter or margarine 8 ounces cream cheese 1/4 cup sour cream 2 1/4 cups flour 2 cups finely ground walnuts 1/2 cup sugar 1 tsp ground cinnamon 1 egg 1 tsp grated orange rind
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two cookie sheets.
In a bowl, beat butter or margarine and cream cheese with electric mixer. Beat in sour cream. Stir in flour until dough forms. Form into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill overnight.
In a bowl, combine nuts, sugar, cinnamon, egg and orange rind.
The next day, divide dough in half, flour a surface, roll out to an eight-inch square, a quarter-inch thick. Spread half of filling on square, roll up jelly-roll style. Wrap in foil, chill for at least one hour. Repeat with other half of dough.
Cut rolls in quarter-inch thick slices. Place half-inch apart on cookie sheets. Reshape into rounds. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until firm and brown.
Cream margarine. Add half the flour, egg, sugar, milk, baking powder and vanilla. Beat in remaining flour.
Divide dough in half. Cover and chill three hours.
Roll out half dough on a floured surface. Cut in Hanukkah shapes with cookie cutters. Place on ungreased cookie sheets. Add coloured sugar on top. Bake for seven to eight minutes.
Sybil Kaplan is a journalist, lecturer, book reviewer and food writer in Jerusalem. She created and leads the weekly English-language Shuk Walks in Machane Yehuda, she has compiled and edited nine kosher cookbooks, and is the author of Witness to History: Ten Years as a Woman Journalist in Israel.
Pumpkin spice snickerdoodles (photo by Greg Dupree, food styling Torie Cox, prop styling Christine Keel / Food & Wine)
November arrives and I think pumpkin. Here in Israel, the d’la’at is amazing. Whole, they are huge in size and weight, cream in colour, with stripes all around.
Pumpkins are a variety of winter squash that belongs to the Cucurbitaceae (or cucurbits) family. Melon, watermelon and cucumber also fall into this category. Technically, pumpkins are fruit but, since they are often eaten in savoury dishes, many people refer to them as vegetables. Just about every part of the pumpkin is edible, including the seeds, their shell, leaves and flowers. Pumpkins are a superfood and are high in iron, packed with vitamins and minerals, and considered natural antioxidants.
But, enough about that and on to some recipes. Forget pie, though, and try these treats for your holiday guests.
The first dessert is pumpkin spice snickerdoodles. I was unfamiliar with snickerdoodles until coming across this recipe by Kelly Fields. Probably German in origin, the name of these sugar cookies could be a corruption of the German word schneckennudel, but notice the word schnecken, popular in Jewish cooking. American cookbook author Joan Nathan tells us: “Schnecken – the word means snail in German – are made of a rich and sweet yeast dough enriched with egg, sour cream and butter. The dough is pressed out in a large rectangle shape, sprinkled with sugar, cinnamon, raisins and ground nuts, and rolled up like a jelly roll. Cut on the cross section, the roll is sliced, baked and served open-side up in small coiled rounds.” Here is my version made pareve with slight changes.
PUMPKIN SPICE SNICKERDOODLES (Adapted from Food & Wine. Makes 20 cookies.)
1 3/4 cups sugar 2 tbsp cinnamon 1 1/2 tsp cardamom 1/2 tsp nutmeg 1/2 tsp cloves 2 3/4 cups flour 2 tsp cream of tartar 1 tsp baking soda 1 cup unsalted butter or pareve margarine 2 large eggs 1 1/2 tsp orange blossom water or 3/4 tsp orange extract 1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350°F and line three baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a bowl, stir together 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and cloves.
In another bowl, stir together flour, cream of tartar and baking soda.
Beat margarine and 1 1/2 cups sugar until light and fluffy (four minutes). Add eggs one at a time, then orange extract and vanilla. Add flour in two additions.
Shape dough into 20 balls. Roll balls in spice mixture until coated. Arrange on baking sheets. Bake for six to seven minutes, then switch pans onto different racks, and continue baking 10 minutes. Let cool.
BAKED PUMPKIN WEDGES
(While I found this recipe in a newspaper some 40 years ago, it comes from the 1976 cookbook Pumpkin Happy, written by Erik Knud-Hansen and illustrated by Andrea Grumbine. It makes 6 servings.)
1 4-pound pumpkin, cut into wedges, strings and seeds scraped out 1/2 to 3/4 cup pareve margarine 1/4 cup brown sugar or honey 1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil a glass baking dish.
Make shallow cuts in each wedge.
Melt margarine in a saucepan. Add sugar and cinnamon. Brush over wedges.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until tender.
(This butter is great on toast with cream cheese, according to Kelsey Youngman, writing on Food & Wine’s website. This recipe makes 2 1/2 cups.)
1 3-pound pumpkin, stemmed, halved lengthwise and seeded 1 tbsp vegetable oil 1/4 cup apple cider 1/2 cup brown sugar 3 tbsp honey 1 tsp apple cider vinegar 3/4 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp ginger 1/4 tsp nutmeg a pinch of cloves
Preheat oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Brush cut sides of pumpkin halves with oil. Arrange cut side down and bake 50 minutes, or until tender.
Scoop flesh into food processor. Discard shell. Add apple cider, process one minute. Add brown sugar, honey, apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Process 20 seconds. Transfer to a saucepan.
Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and cook until mixture is reduced by one-third and turns slightly darker in colour, about 25 minutes.
Remove from heat, cool and spoon into jars with lids. Store in refrigerator.
Sybil Kaplan is a journalist, editor of nine kosher cookbooks (working on a 10th) and a food writer living in Jerusalem. She leads English-language Shuk Walks in Machane Yehuda.
These loaded sweet potatoes were satisfyingly filling. (photo by Ingrid Weisenbach)
In a word: yum. I tried out four recipes in The Tahini Table: Go Beyond Hummus with 100 Recipes for Every Meal by Amy Zitelman with Andrew Schloss. All were delicious. All worth making. I will definitely bring more tahini into my life, but not every day, as the meals are somewhat complicated to make; at least they were for me.
Published by Surrey Books, an imprint of Agate Publishing, the cookbook is gorgeous. The colour photos by Jillian Guyette and the overall look and layout make The Tahini Table as much eye-candy as cooking guide. The first chapter is all about tahini – what it is, how to use and store it, with a foray into hummus and halvah and ingredients one should have close at hand, such as avocados, various oils, garlic and onion, yogurt, different vinegars, date syrup, etc. There is a relatively helpful instruction on how to mince garlic and a section on herbs and spices. Each recipe is labeled with the diets with which it is aligned; vegan or gluten-free or Paleo, for example.
There are six chapters, covering sauces, dips, breakfasts, lunch-type food and sides, main courses and, finally, desserts. While Zitelman promises easy and quick recipes – and perhaps they are if you do as recommended and stock up on the sauces, dressings and dips – I was starting from scratch. The two mains – the benedict and the sweet potatoes – each took almost two hours to make. Only once I started did I see, for example, that one of the benny recipe ingredients was pickled red onion, carrot or radish … go to page 127. So, off to make that before I could proceed. Oh, and don’t be fooled, as I was, by the directions for the pickles – for the benedict, you only need to make pickled onions, so adjust accordingly, unless you’re also wanting to have the carrots and radishes for other purposes. (In the end, I was happy to have made all three, but I was quite hangry while making them.)
Zitelman, who is a co-founder with her sisters of Soom Foods, writes in the introduction, “we founded Soom Foods with a vision that tahini would be a staple pantry item in the American market simply because it is a delicious, nutritious and versatile ingredient. Although this ambition was somewhat far-fetched at the time, tahini is increasingly recognized as a superfood that is rich in omega-6 fatty acids, protein and calcium.” More reason, if I needed it, to experiment further with the recipes in The Tahini Table. Here are the ones I’ve kitchen-tested so far, sans Zitelman’s informative and delightful preambles or suggestions, because of space limitations.
TAHINI BENEDICT (serves two)
sauce 2 large egg yolks 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice 1⁄4 cup premium tahini paste 1⁄2 garlic clove, chopped 1⁄4-1⁄2 tsp sea salt 2-3 tbsp boiling water
eggs 1 tomato, cut into 4 rounds 3 tsp extra virgin olive oil, divided fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 1⁄2 tsp ground cumin 1 tbsp white vinegar 4 large eggs
assembly 2 English muffins, split and toasted 1⁄2 cup pickled red onion, carrot or radish (see below)
To make the sauce: Fill a blender with very hot tap water to warm up the container. Wait five minutes, then drain. Add the egg yolks, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, salt and two tablespoons boiling water. Blend on medium speed until just combined, about 30 seconds. If the sauce is too thick, add the remaining one tablespoon of boiling water and blend to combine. Set aside.
To make the eggs: Turn on the broiler to high and position the broiler rack as close to the heating element as it will go.
Coat the tomato rounds with two teaspoons of the oil and set on a broiler pan. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle on the cumin. Broil until the surface is speckled but the tomato is still firm, about three minutes.
Meanwhile, fill a 10- to 12-inch skillet with water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the vinegar.
Crack each egg into a separate cup or ramekin. Gently slip each egg from its cup into the water. Turn the heat to medium-low so that the water in the pan barely simmers.
Poach the eggs until the whites are set and the yolks remain creamy, about two minutes.
To assemble: Put an English muffin on each plate. Top each half with a broiled tomato. Use a slotted spatula to remove each egg from the water, wait a few seconds to let any extra water drain back into the pan, then place it on the tomato. Top each with sauce and a little pile of pickled red onion. Serve immediately.
QUICK PICKLES (makes about three cups)
6 carrots, peeled and julienned 1 red onion, peeled and very thinly sliced 12 red summer radishes, trimmed and thinly sliced 1 1⁄2 cups apple cider vinegar 1 1⁄2 cups water 6 tbsp honey 1 tbsp fine sea salt 1⁄2 tsp crushed red pepper
Put each of the cut veggies in their own pint container.
In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, honey, salt and crushed red pepper and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Pour a third of the pickling mixture over each of the veggies. Let cool for about 30 minutes before serving.
Store in closed containers in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
LOADED TAHINI SWEET POTATOES (serves four)
1 leek, trimmed, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced (white and pale green parts) 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided 1 garlic clove, minced with coarse sea salt 1 tsp ground coriander 1⁄2 tsp ground cumin 1⁄2 tsp smoked paprika pinch ground cinnamon fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 4 medium sweet potatoes, halved lengthwise 1 bunch lacinato kale, coarsely chopped 1 cup orange-rosemary tahini sauce (see below) 12 cherry tomatoes, quartered 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley hot sauce, to taste
Turn the oven to 400ºF.
Toss the leek and chickpeas with one tablespoon of the olive oil on a rimmed sheet pan. Add the garlic, coriander, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, salt and pepper and toss to coat everything evenly. Push the leek and chickpea mixture to the edges of the sheet pan.
Rub the cut surfaces of the sweet potatoes with the remaining one tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Put the sweet potatoes, cut-side down, in the centre of the sheet pan. Bake until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 45 minutes.
While the potatoes are baking, boil the kale in a good amount of salted water until tender, about 10 minutes.
When the potatoes are tender, put two halves on each plate and flatten them with the back of a large fork. Transfer the kale to the sheet pan and toss with the chickpeas and leeks. Drizzle some of the tahini sauce over the potatoes and pile the veggies on top. Top with more tahini sauce and the tomatoes, parsley and hot sauce.
ORANGE-ROSEMARY TAHINI SAUCE (makes about 2 cups)
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves 2 garlic cloves, minced with coarse sea salt grated zest and juice of 1 orange (about 1⁄3 cup) 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice 1 cup premium tahini paste 1 tsp ground cumin 3⁄4 cup ice-cold water
Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat just until warm, less than a minute. Stir in the rosemary, remove from the heat and give it 10 minutes or so to cool down and get flavourful.
Meanwhile, combine the garlic, orange juice and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Let it sit for one to two minutes. Whisk the orange zest, tahini and cumin into the garlic mixture until just combined. Don’t worry if it gets thick and grainy. Whisk in the water, a quarter cup at a time, until the sauce is smooth and creamy. It should be the consistency of a creamy salad dressing, like ranch.
Stir the cooled rosemary oil into the tahini.
Store in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
TEHINA REGINA COOKIES (makes about 40 cookies)
1⁄2 cup premium tahini paste 1 cup granulated sugar 3 large eggs 1 1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract 1⁄8 tsp almond extract [optional, I’d say, as I could barely taste it] 2 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour 2 1⁄2 tsp baking powder 1⁄2 tsp fine sea salt 1⁄4 tsp ground cardamom 1 cup white sesame seeds
Mix the tahini and sugar in a large bowl until well combined. Beat in the eggs, vanilla and almond extract until the mixture is smooth.
Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom in a medium bowl, then stir the flour mixture into the batter just until there are no visible dry spots. The dough will be very stiff. Wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour or as long as 24 hours.
Set two oven racks near the centre of the oven. Turn the oven to 350ºF. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Put the sesame seeds in wide bowl. Scoop the dough with a one-tablespoon measure and arrange as mounds on a big sheet of aluminum foil, plastic wrap or parchment. Wet your hands and roll the mounds into egg-shaped ovals. As each one is made, coat all over with sesame seeds and place on the prepared pans, about one inch apart. You will probably get 13 to 14 cookies per pan.
Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Cool the cookies for two minutes on the pans, then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely. When the pans are at room temperature again, form the remaining batter into cookies and bake in the same way.
Store in a closed container at room temperature for up to two weeks.
Kermit Soup, ready to serve. (photo by Shelley Civkin)
Treat your friends to one little taste of my Kermit Soup (aka kale-and-potato soup) and I guarantee they’ll be green with envy. Granted, it’s an unholy colour, which could be off-putting to some, but don’t dismiss it out of spoon. Even those who vigorously eschew kale (and aren’t partial to green) will be begging for seconds.
During these seemingly endless, dark days of fall and winter, there’s nothing more comforting than a thick, hearty soup. (Unless of course it’s a healthy serving of 15-year-old Balvenie, but that’s just wasted calories.) To me, soups are the bait-and-switch of mealtimes. If you haven’t been shopping in awhile, and all you’re planning for dinner is tuna sandwiches, then a good, substantial soup can easily step up to the plate and take on the starring role. After all, soup has got so much going for it: it’s filling, scrumptious and everything else pales by comparison. Especially if it’s Kermit Soup (you’ll see what I’m talking about soon enough). Don’t feel you need to apologize for its aberrant tint. I mean, just take a look around at the freakish hair colours you see on the streets. Kermit Soup has absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about. Nor do you.
It does help if you have a really good blender to make this soup. In fact, it’s rather essential. I’ve got a Breville at home and that sucker could crush rocks. (I’m pretty sure my blender has a bigger engine than my car.) Yams? No problem. Acorn squash? A joke. Carrots? In its sleep. Not that my recipe calls for any of those. Just saying. So, without further ado – meet the star of the dinner show.
2 cloves garlic 3 small/medium Yukon gold potatoes, diced half a large yellow onion 6 cups baby kale, chopped and lightly packed (the store wouldn’t let me take it without parental permission, so I used adult kale instead) 4 tbsp unsalted butter 1 quart (4 cups) chicken (or mushroom) broth Salt and pepper to taste
Mince the garlic.
Peel and chop the onion.
Peel and cube the potatoes.
Rinse kale and drain it well. Remove the thick stems then chop it up.
Melt butter over medium heat in a heavy soup pan.
Add garlic, onion, potatoes, and salt and pepper to taste.
Stir and cook for several minutes over medium heat.
Add the broth and bring it to a boil. Skim off fat from the top.
Gently simmer with the lid on for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Add the kale and cook without the lid for about three to five minutes or until tender.
Transfer the soup to a blender a few cups at a time and puree. You might want to remove the little circle part of the blender lid to let some of the steam escape (but not while the blender is running). As each pureed batch is ready, pour it into another saucepan.
Ready to serve! It’s even better reheated the next day, and it’s good cold, too. If you’re not too hungry, have some bread with it and you’ve got yourself a light, yet filling fall meal. You’re welcome.
So, by now you’ve devoured your Kermit Soup and tuna sandwiches. To great acclaim. The soup, that is. An hour-and-a-half goes by and you’re jonesing for something sweet. Now what? You could get in your car and drive to some overpriced, hipster dessert restaurant that charges $12.95 for a two-inch purple yam, all-vegan crème brulée. Or, you could rock it old school. In the comfort of your own home. With Weetabix Chocolate Chip Cookies.
Yes, Virginia, Weetabix is more than just a breakfast cereal. Plus, it adds a nice crunchy texture to your cookies that you won’t soon forget (unless you overdo it with that 15-year-old Balvenie I referenced earlier. But that’s on you, not me). I always keep a box of Weetabix around, just in case of a cookie emergency. Which seems to happen with increasing frequency. And there are always chocolate chips hidden in my freezer (as if I don’t know where they are). So, go ahead, don your apron, pretend you’re Suzie Homemaker or Donna Reed and bake your family some irresistible cookies.
WEETABIX CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
4 Weetabix, crushed 1 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt 3/4 cup soft butter or margarine 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar 1/4 cup granulated white sugar 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract 1 egg 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Mix together crushed Weetabix, flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, cream together butter/margarine and sugars. Beat in vanilla and egg.
Add dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips.
Drop dough by tablespoonsful onto an ungreased baking sheet (or line with parchment paper).
Bake at 350°F for 12 minutes (or slightly longer for a crispier cookie).
Eat and repeat. Or eat ’em and weep. I’ll leave that to your discretion. These are so popular that you might want to make two batches at once. Just to be on the safe side. One batch never lasts more than half a day in my home, and there are only two of us. Again, you’re welcome.
These aren’t exactly balabatish recipes. More like nouveau accidental balabusta. But I do stand behind them. You see, I’m channeling my inner balabusta while I make them, and that’s good enough for me. I’ll leave the rugelach, kichele and komish broit to some other ambitious balabusta. On some other day. It just goes to show that food doesn’t need some fancy Yiddish name to taste geshmak. One bite of these Weetabix cookies and one spoonful of this Kermit Soup and you’ll be kvelling all over the place. Just clean up after all that kvelling, OK? Bottom line: it’s all about the heart and soul of the cook.
So, stop kvetching and get thee into the kitchen. Those cookies and soup aren’t going to make themselves. Just promise me one thing – you won’t ask for a refund if you don’t love the Kermit Soup.
Shelley Civkin, aka the Accidental Balabusta, is a happily retired librarian and communications officer. For 17 years, she wrote a weekly book review column for the Richmond Review. She’s currently a freelance writer and volunteer.
Chocolate chips were created when chocolate chip cookies were invented in 1937 – Ruth Graves Wakefield of the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Mass., added cut-up chunks of a semi-sweet Nestlé chocolate bar to a cookie recipe.
The cookies were a huge success, and Wakefield reached an agreement in 1939 with Nestlé to add her recipe to the chocolate bar’s packaging in exchange for a lifetime supply of chocolate. Initially, Nestlé included a small chopping tool with the chocolate bars. In 1941, Nestlé and at least one of its competitors started selling the chocolate in “chip” (or “morsel”) form.
Originally, chocolate chips were made of semi-sweet chocolate, but today there are many flavours of chips, including bittersweet, peanut butter, butterscotch, mint chocolate, white chocolate, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white and dark swirled chips.
Here are some of my favourite recipes.
MOM’S CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES 5 dozen small cookies
1/3 cup oil (Mom, z”l, used 1/2 cup shortening) 1/4 cup brown sugar 1/2 cup white sugar 1 egg 1 package chocolate chips 1/2 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt (I eliminate this) 1 1/8 cups flour 1/2 cup chopped nuts 1/2 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray cookie sheets with vegetable spray or cover with parchment paper.
Combine oil, sugars and egg in a mixing bowl or food processor.
Spoon on cookie sheets with a teaspoon or tablespoon. Bake for eight to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a rack.
ELISHEVA’S CHOCOLATE CHIP OATMEAL COOKIES I tasted these at a Hadassah Israel meeting. They were made by one of our members and I had to have the recipe.
1 cup margarine or butter, softened (I use 3/4 cup oil) 1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar 1/2 cup white sugar 2 eggs 2 tbsp milk (I use Rich’s non-dairy creamer or soy milk) 2 tsp vanilla 1 tsp baking soda 1 3/4 cups flour pinch of salt (which I don’t add) 2 cups uncooked oatmeal 1 package chocolate chips 1 cup coarsely chopped nuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 475°F. Place parchment paper on cookie sheets.
Beat margarine or butter (or oil) and sugars until creamy in a bowl. Add eggs, milk and vanilla. Beat well.
Add flour and baking soda (and salt). Mix well.
Stir in oatmeal, chocolate chips and nuts. Mix well.
Drop by rounded tablespoons onto cookie sheet. Bake for nine or 10 minutes for a chewy cookie, 12 to 13 minutes for a crispy cookie.
DIABETIC (SPLENDA) CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES 30 cookies
2 cups flour 1 tsp baking powder 1 tsp baking soda 1/4 tsp salt (I never add salt) 1 cup melted butter (I use 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp vegetable oil) 1 cup Splenda brown sugar blend 2 large eggs 1 tbsp vanilla extract 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl. Set aside.
Mix butter (oil) and Splenda in a large bowl. Stir in eggs. Add vanilla and mix. Stir in flour mixture. Fold in chocolate chips.
Drop dough by tablespoon onto cookie sheets. Bake for 11 to 13 minutes. Allow to cool before moving to racks to cool completely.
Sybil Kaplan is a journalist, lecturer, book reviewer and food writer in Jerusalem. She created and leads the weekly English-language Shuk Walks in Machane Yehuda, she has compiled and edited nine kosher cookbooks.
Purim is coming the evening of Feb. 28, and if your schedule doesn’t allow time for making hamantashen, try poppy seed cookies. The Yiddish word for poppy seed is mohn, which some say sounds like Haman. Another story says Esther kept kosher and ate as a vegetarian; her diet including seeds, nuts, legumes and poppy seeds, so many Jews serve these foods on Purim. Another tradition says Esther subsisted on poppy seeds during her three-day fast. Whatever the reason, here are a few recipes.
1/2 cup margarine 1/2 cup sugar 1 egg 1 tbsp water 1/2 tsp vanilla 1/4 tsp almond extract 1/4 to 1/3 cup poppy seeds 2 cups flour 1/2 tsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a cookie sheet with vegetable spray.
In a bowl, cream margarine and sugar. Beat in egg, water, vanilla and almond extract.
Mix in poppy seeds.
Add flour and baking powder and mix well.
Drop by teaspoon onto cookie sheet and flatten with a fork. Bake for 15 minutes.
POPPY SEED COOKIES #1
1 cup poppy seeds 1/2 cup hot milk 1/2 cup margarine 1/2 cup sugar 1 1/4 cups flour 1 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp cinnamon 1/4 tsp cloves 1/2 cup raisins 1/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a cookie sheet with vegetable spray.
Soak poppy seeds in milk.
In a mixing bowl, cream margarine and sugar.
Add flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, raisins and, if using, chocolate. Add milk and poppy seeds and mix.
Drop by teaspoon onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.
POPPY SEED COOKIES #2
1/4 cup vegetable oil 1/4 cup unsalted butter or margarine 2/3 cup sugar 2 eggs 1 tsp vanilla dash cinnamon 2 cups flour 2 tsp baking powder 1/4 cup poppy seeds
Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a cookie sheet with vegetable spray.
In a bowl, combine oil, butter or margarine, sugar and eggs. Mix well. Add vanilla and cinnamon.
Add flour and baking powder. Then add poppy seeds. If dough is pasty, add more flour until dough is easy to form into small balls.
Place balls on cookie sheet and flatten. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned.
Sybil Kaplanis a journalist, lecturer, book reviewer and food writer in Jerusalem. She created and leads the weekly English-language Shuk Walks in Machane Yehuda, she has compiled and edited nine kosher cookbooks, and is the author of Witness to History: Ten Years as a Woman Journalist in Israel.