Tag Archives: holiday

Halloween Round Up

18 Oct

Ever since I was little, Halloween has been one of my favorite holidays because I viewed it as the wonderful day of the year when you get to dress up and get free candy. Over the years, however, I have come to love Halloween in large part because it marks the beginning of the holiday season. Halloween is the first of many festive celebrations with exciting traditions,delicious food, and spirited decor. So here is the first of many holiday round ups to come in the next few months.

Costumes

Baby Frida Costume DIY

Raggedy Anne Costume DIY for kids and adults

Too Big Alice in Wonderland Costume

Children’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s costume on Etsy

Decorations

 

Swarm of Batts Pupkin..since you don’t need to carve it, feel free to decorate this pumpkin in advance, or even do this to a sugar pumpkin so that you can bake tasty treats from the pumpkin after Halloween

Googly-eyed monster cups to make any drink more exciting

Tea light squashes for a more elegant take on the classic Jack-O-Lantern

Festive pumpkin cooler

Adorable free Halloween Bunting Printable

Pumpkin Cat…too cute not to include, but please do not try this at home!

Savories

Jack-O-Lantern Stuffed Bell Pepper

These Jack-O-Lantern tarts have a sweet filling, but with a spanikopita-style spinach filling they’d be absolutely divine!

Spiced Tofu Bruchetes….stick the skewers into a pumpkin for a festive update

Spiced Harvest Squash and Fennel

Mini Mummy Pizzas….so much cuter than the giant ones from the pizza parlor!

Candy Corn Crudite Platter with Pumpkin Dip for a healthy take the on the beloved candy

Baked Parmesan and Sage Truffle Fries

Curried Zucchini Roll Ups

Vegetarian Lasagna Bites

Innocent (or spooky) Owl Crackers

Sweets

Pumpkin Mouse Trifle (you don’t have to tall anyone that it’s healthy)

Candy Corn Butter Cookies

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Caramel Frosting

Candy Corn Candy Apples

Jack-O-Lantern Pop Tarts

Monster Candy Apples

Pumpkin Meringue Pie

Momofuku Milk Bar Remix: Candy Corn Chocolate Chip Cornflake Cookies

In my family, what began as a simple pizza dinner with friends before trick-or-treating has evolved into a fanciful feast with creative, themed treats and appetizers. It’s a wonderful time to chat with friends and family in a more relaxed setting before the candy-crazed kids begin their neighborhood roam. What are your Halloween traditions?

Ooey Gooey Oreo Brownie Sandwiches

15 Oct

The blogosphere is abuzz with recipes for Halloween parties and Fall goodies, because these big seasonal affairs are universally exciting. But for now at least, I would rather celebrate the small things. The things that belong to no one else but me (and Goose too).

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the massive commercial holidays, even when you hardly know their significance, or even if they have one. Celebrating the little things, like straight A report cards, loosing teeth, the first snow of the season, and monthly anniversaries can bring just as much, if not more happiness.

Just because the rest of the world doesn’t recognize how incredible it is to dating the same person for 39 months, doesn’t mean that it isn’t incredible.I have a habit of baking something for Goose for each of our monthiversaries, not because there is any societal custom that dictates that I should, but because I feel so incredibly lucky to shared another month with my best friend and favorite person by my side.

I challenge you, find something for you to celebrate with loved ones this month besides Halloween. Maybe you’ll end up with a new tradition, or simply a way to jazz up an otherwise ordinary day.

Today I’m not sharing jazzed up pumpkin pie or homemade candies, instead I am focusing on something classic and timeless, with a slightly modern update because that’s what life calls for. Something (or someone) who is dependable, but also adaptable.

I present to you my Ooey Gooey Oreo Brownie Sandwiches. The cookies are almost like the lovechild between a brownie and a macaroon shell. They are perfectly rich and chocolately to satisfy any intense cocoa craving. I prefer to devour the cookies plain, but for anyone who prefers sweeter desserts, whip up the oreo cream filling to balance out the intense chocolate flavor.

As with your  holidays, feel free to make these cookies entirely your own. Skip the filling and instead add white chocolate chips into the cookie batter, mix some salted caramel sauce into your filling, add a smear of peanut butter along with your filling to the sandwich. Try out anything that sounds good to you! Remember that this is your life, and you deserve to do whatever makes you happy.

Ooey Gooey Oreo Sandwiches 

Cookies adapted from Recipe Girl

Yield: 10-15 cookie sandwiches

Ingredients:

Cookies

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 3 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
  • nonstick cooking spray (as unprocessed as possible, like canola oil spray)

Filling

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly spray it with nonstick spray.
  2.  In a large bowl, whisk together powdered sugar with cocoa powder, salt, and espresso powder. Whisk in two egg whites and vanilla extract and beat just until the batter is moistened. You’re looking for a brownie-like, thick and fudgy batter consistency. If it seems too thick, add another egg white. Gently stir in chocolate chips.
  3. Spoon batter onto the prepared baking sheets in 12 evenly spaced mounds per cookie sheet. Bake for 14 minutes, until the tops are glossy and lightly cracked.
  4. Slide the parchment paper (with the cookies) onto wire racks. Let cookies cool completely. Because of the lack of flour, these cookies are very difficult to remove. You will loose some along the way, but don’t worry, the ones that refuse to make nice with you spatula are the gooiest, most delicious ones that should be going straight into your mouth!
  5. While the cookies are cooking, make the filling by creaming the butter in the bowl of a mixmaster, about 3 minutes, then slowly add in the powdered sugar and mix until incorporated. Add the vanilla and the salt, mixing for another 30 seconds.
  6. Match up your cookies into similarly-shaped pairs. Spread the filling on one of the oreos, then smoosh the two halves together.

Light and Fluffy Flourless Mocha Cake Roll

6 Apr

Happy holiday weekend! Whether you are celebrating Easter or Passover make sure to enjoy this time to be with the ones you love. I wanted to share with you this delicious, Passover-approved Mocha Roll Cake that my family and I enjoyed tonight.

In my family we look for any excuse to celebrate, incorporating holidays from different religions into our own life. That’s why after having our Passover Seder tonight, we are heading off to celebrate Easter in Santa Barbara. Yes it’s untraditional for a Jewish family to celebrate Easter (and Christmas too) but we view it as a joyous opportunity to celebrate the changing of the season, without attaching any religious implications to it.

Cake batter ready to go in the oven

Baked cake

Our Passover may be every bit as untraditional as our non-Christian Easter. To enliven our telling of the story of Passover, each child receives a goody bag of stick frogs, plague masks, candy blood, and other plague-themed knickknacks. We also make sure to give prizes to everyone who hunts for the afikomen, not just the winner who finds it. These alternations to the typical Seder ensure that our family always looks forward to Passover as a joyous time to be with family and friends, instead of a dreaded 8-day bread fast.

Cake topped with cocoa powder, ready to roll

Rolled cake cooling...first scary rolling part done!

This year I allowed our non-traditional variations on Passover to influence even our menu. I decided to skip the usually dense chocolate cake, and instead make this airy chocolate roll cake that resembles a Christmas Buche de Noel more than anything else. This cake is super light and fluffy thanks to its light lack of either flour or butter. I’ll admit that I was too much of a wimp to risk rolling the cake myself, so my mom rolled it in the tea towel initially, then my older sister rolled it into its cream-filled final form. Yes it takes a bit more effort than most cakes to get it to roll without breaking, but Passover is a celebration, so there’s no better time to attempt a daring recipe. This flourless, yet indulgent chocolate cake is the perfect way to end your Passover Seder or Easter Brunch.

Unrolled and frosted cake

Successfully rolled cake thanks to help from my big sister

The less than attractive "drizzle" of chocolate ganache

Light and Fluffy Flourless Mocha Cake Roll

Our Passover chocolate cake, in one beautiful piece

Serves 10-16

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Heavenly Chocolate Cake Roll

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • cooking spray
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons strong coffee
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, divided

Filling

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 heaping tablespoons powdered sugar (if making for Passover, make sure your powdered sugar is kosher for Passover)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder

Ganache

  • heaping 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and spray a 10-by-15-inch shallow baking or jellyroll pan. Then line the bottom lengthwise with a piece of waxed or parchment paper that extends up the short sides one inch.
  2. In a double boiler melt the chocolate chips with coffee and stir occasionally until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Beat egg yolks with an electric mixer until pale and creamy, then add sugar gradually, and continue to beat until yolks are even creamier. Gently stir the chocolate into the yolk mixture.
  4. In a clean bowl with clean beaters, beat egg whites with salt until they hold stiff peaks (it takes a while, but be patient because it will make all the difference). Gently fold the egg white mixture in four batches into the chocolate-yolk mixture to lighten it.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top, then bake it for 15 minutes, or until cake layer feels dry (but very soft)
  6. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and cover the top with a light damp towel or two layers of damp paper towels for 10 minutes, then gently remove towels; don’t fuss if they have a bit of cake stuck to them.
  7. Run a knife around the edges of the cake and lightly sift one tablespoon cocoa over the top of the cake and cover the cake with a thin tea towel that is a bit longer than the pan. Place the back of a baking sheet or a large flat tray over the towel and invert the cake and paper onto it.
  8. Gently peel back the parchment or waxed paper that lined the pan. Sift the remaining tablespoon of cocoa powder on the other side of the cake.
  9. Using the towel underneath to help lift and roll the cake, roll the cake from short end to short end with the towel inside. Let cool completely, encased in its towel. This will probably take about 20 minutes.
  10. While waiting for the cake to cool, beat the heavy cream, powdered sugar, vanilla, cocoa powder, and espresso until it holds stiff peaks, then set it aside.
  11. In the top of a double boiler, melt your chocolate for the ganache, and once it is completely melted, remove it from the heat and pour the whipping cream over it. Then rapidly whisk the cream and the chocolate together until it forms a shiny liquid.
  12. Once the cake is fully cooled, get your serving plate ready and place it nearby. Gently unroll chocolate cake and remove tea towel. Place another sheet of wax or parchment paper on the top of your cake, and invert it on the back of a baking pan once again, so that your parchment paper is underneath the cake.
  13. Gently spread the whipped cream filling evenly over cake. Use the paper once again to re-roll cake.
  14. Place on serving platter, seam side down, then pour or drizzle the ganache over it. If your ganache looks pretty with a simple pour, leave it as is. If, however, it does not elegantly glide over the edges of the cake, take a knife and smooth it over the top of the cake. The entire ganache coat is optional; if your cake turns out perfectly without it, feel free to forgo this step.

Enjoy! What are your holiday plans this weekend?