Double Chocolate Cranberry Almond Biscotti

I know, I know. I have been neglecting this blog. It’s been over 6 months! Crazy! My apologies for not sharing any cooking nuggets here. I have been on a blog hiatus. Haven’t been reading too many blogs either.
If you didn’t already know, Passover is coming in a few weeks. For various reasons, I have chosen to stay home for Passover, for the first time ever. I don’t know what I will miss more; my mother’s brisket, the fun sing-songy seder, or the fact that someone else is taking care of the whole Passover process for me.
With Passover forcing itself into my life, I am trying to make sense of my house, especially the kitchen. Trying to use things up. It’s embarassing what you find, when you actually take a look at the pantry and the various cupboards. Won’t spare you all the details, but the 3 half bags of flour, 2 unopened containers of baking powder (to add to the 2 opened containers), and countless half-used bags of chocolate chips. These items call out to me to somehow get used.
While browsing the aisles at Trader Joe’s this morning, I decided that I should try to make biscotti. The various dried fruit and the various half-used baking supplies at home spoke to me. More specifically, the orange flavored dried cranberries at TJ’s. They made me curious. Without a real plan, I tossed them in to the cart, paid, and hurried home to try and hash out a recipe.

Chocolate Cookie Brownie Ice Cream

I screamed for ice cream!

I used to do many product reviews. Product reviews come with free stuff. Sometimes that stuff is worth it, like 409 cleaning spray, and sometimes the free stuff sucks, like crappy drugstore makeup. Some of my coworkers will remember the endless supply of microwave popcorn that I had to test, even though I can’t eat popcorn.The Cuisinart ice cream maker I received a few years ago, was definitely the upside of the whole product review era.

So this ice cream maker arrived from kitchen appliance heaven on my doorstep. I had some visions of making all sorts of cool ice cream flavors. Heck, I could be the next Ben or Jerry. The reality is that this little machine has been used maybe three times each year. We don’t even buy ice cream that much. Either we eat the tub too fast, or it just sits in the freezer gathering ice crystals.

I pulled the machine out of the abyss of my pantry the other day and put the bowl in the freezer so I could make some yummy ice cream this week. I bought the cream and some whole milk. I hadn’t really thought out the whole flavor thing though. I decided to wing it. I had some cookies and leftover brownies lying around. I figured that would be perfect for the stuff. I decided on chocolate “oreo” brownie ice cream with a touch of cinnamon to kick up the flavor.

The recipe is as follows:

Chocolate Cookie Brownie Ice Cream

2 cups heavy or light cream – icy cold
1 cup whole milk – icy cold
1/2 cup of sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 big squirts dark chocolate syrup
1.5 cups smushed up oreos/sandwich cookies
1.5 cups smushed up leftover brownies

In a mixing bowl, whisk the milk, cream, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, choco. syrup, and vanilla until blended.

Pour in to the chilled bowl of your ice cream maker.

Turn the machine on. Mix the creamy mixture for around 20 minutes. When you start to see it thicken, add in the mixins. Mix for another 5-7 minutes. It will be the consistence of Carvel or other soft serve ice cream. You can sample a bowl now if you would like. It is preferable to freeze. Enjoy!

Chocolate Raspberry Rugelach

I own a rolling pin, but never use it. It’s not that I am afraid of it, I just don’t really like using recipes that seem to have way too many process transitions. I use my rolling pin maybe twice a year. As you have seen by my carrot muffins, I am in some sort of wierd baking mood. I decided to get all brave and try to make some rugelach. I don’t like most bakery pastry, and I wanted to see if I could “have it my way.”

I used Ina Garten’s recipe for the rugelach dough and then came up with my own filling. The rugelach came out super tasty and they were suprisingly easy to make. My fear of baking is slowly fading.

Is rugel the singular of rugelach? I’ll go with it…

Chocolate Raspberry Rugelach (Dairy)
Dough Recipe – from The Barefoot Contessa by Ina Garten

8 ounces of cream cheese at room temperature
2 sticks of butter – softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1 egg mixed beaten, mixed with 1 tsp of milk for brushing later on
2 tbsp sugar and one tsp. cinnamon, mixed for dusting
In your mixer, using the paddle attachment, mix up the cream cheese and the butter until well mixed.

Add the sugar, salt, and vanilla. Continue to mix on low speed. Slowly add the flour with the mixer running. Do not over mix the dough. The dough will be sticky.

Turn the dough out on to a well floured board and roll it into a ball. Cut the ball into quarters. Wrap each quarter in plastic wrap and chill in the refridgerator for at least an or…or you could freeze the dough for future use. The dough works best the colder it is.

While the dough is chilling, get your filling ready.

My chocolate/raspberry filling ingredients are as follows:

1 cup of walnut pieces
3/4 cup of chocolate chips – semisweet
1/4 cup of light brown sugar
Raspberry Jam – I used seedless
In a food processor, chop the walnuts and chocolate until ground well. Mix in the brown sugar.

I love my mini cuisinart. It’s petite,adorable, and cute. It was sitting lost and lonely in a cabinet behind my giant cuisinart. It should have a permanent place on my counter, but I dislike the clutter.

Once the dough is chilled, we are ready to roll up some rugelach.

On a well floured board, roll each ball into a circle, around 9 inches. Spread a very light layer of jam on to the dough circle. Do not add too much jam, as there will be too much oozing when baking. Sprinkle the nut/choc filling onto the jam. Cut the dough circle into wedges, around 12-16 equal wedges. I find it cuts best with a pizza slicer.

Starting with the wide edge, roll up each wedge. Put the rolled up rugelach on to a baking sheet lined with parchement paper or a silpat.
Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Remove the dough from the fridge. Brush each rugel with the egg wash. Dust with the cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

Be thankful that I am not including any nutritional information on this one.


Purim is coming. What does that mean to you? To me it is the megillah reading, dressing up in full costume, shalach manot, and of course the 3-cornered delicacy, the hamentash, or the plural – hamentashen. Hamentashen, in Hebrew – Oznei Haman, is a reference to the evil villain of the Jewish holiday of Purim. Haman, the bad man that we drown out with groggers during the Megillah reading, was said to wear 3 cornered hat. So from that, we make the triangular cookies that we call Hamentashen.
I don’t think I have made hamentashen in over 20 years. I am embarassed that I am old enough to be able to reference the events in my life “20 years ago.” I do remember early spring days at kitchen tables cutting out dough circles and forming them into the yummy hamentashen.
Ever since I have had my own kitchen, I have passed hamentashen by as being a job that is too time consuming – too much of a patchka (a bother in Yiddish speak). I don’t like the cakey hamentashen at my local bakery…and my daughter has been begging me to make them, with her as my dutiful assistant. She was wonderful as a chef’s assistant and I am very picky over who I let share some control over the kitchen when I am in it.
I looked over cookbooks to see what looked reasonable. I chose an easy to please recipe from Alphabet Soup, a Jewish cookbook put out by a Solomon Shechter school in Chicago. I pulled out the ingredients and got to work. The ingredient demo pictured below has a typo. I pulled out the baking soda and clicked away, before I realized that I needed baking powder. Oops!

Our hamentash fillings of choice this year were Israeli chocolate spread, and Strawberry Preserves. You can really experiment with a multitude of fillings. Poppy seed (mohn) and prunes (lekvar) are historical favorites. The hipper kosher bakeries are now filling hamentash with chocolate, peanut butter, caramel, and other good sweet stuff.

You will need: 2 sticks of earth balance or butter or transfantastical margarine; 2 eggs, 2 cups of sugar, 2 tsp. vanilla, 4 Tbsp. orange juice, 4 cups of flour, 4 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. salt, and your choice of fillings.
Mix together the butter/eggs/sugar/vanilla/OJ

Add in the dry ingredients. Mix well. I used a hand beater.



Get your prep area ready.

Roll out the dough to 1/4″ thickness. You will need extra flour on hand…on the board, on your hands, and on the rolling pan. Cut out circles of dough with a small glass.
Fill the dough circles and pinch dough into triangles around the filling. Place on cookie sheet.

Bake in 375 degree oven until done, around 10-15 minutes.

B’teavon! Chag Sameach!
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