Shavuot was always my favorite holiday. I was always thinking that it was because of my bad relationship with winter and my love of warmth that always arrives with this holiday. I also preferred dairy over meat all my life.
And then I found another reason: my Hebrew birthday! I was born on the 7th of Sivan, the second day of the holiday in Diaspora, or the next day after the chag if you are in Israel!
This is a holiday when I love to just sit and learn late into the night (I am not a night person at all) before falling asleep with the book of Ruth, one of my favorites in the Tanach. I have, actually, studied it quite extensively through this amazing book. I wish I get a chance to study with Dr. Yael Zigler one day at Pardes , Nishmat, or Matan in Jerusalem! Apart from the wisdom of this book, it actually works as a great source for the foods ancient Israelis ate.
I have always had guests for Shavuot. I’ve made blintzes and I’ve made cheesecakes.
This year I decided to go rogue – make things that I’ve never made before.
As usual, I had to adjust a recipe a bit. For multiple reasons. Firstly, I simply have to add my citrus peel mix pretty much into everything I bake. It makes everything so much better! Second, I believe there might have been an error, I added an egg to the egg-less mixture. Possibly, I am wrong and the original was meant to be egg-less, but I think, one egg doesn’t make things worse, right? I am not going for vegan here, I used real butter.
Finally, once I made up my mind to make the cookies, I realized that, alas, I had no regular white flour. So I used a mixture of almond, rye, rice and corn flours. As you already might know, I am no stranger to making things from nothing.
So, here it is:
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup sugar (I used raw cane)
1 cup plus 2 tbsp flour sifted
a dash of salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup tahina
about half a cup blanched almond, I used slivered ones.
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
With a mixer cream together butter and sugar.
Add the rest of the ingredients starting with flour and ending with tahina and mix to a uniform consistency.
Line your baking sheets with parchment.
Roll the dough into little balls (Mine were a bit too big, they really expand in the oven)
Put the balls onto the baking sheet and press your almonds into the center of each ball.
Bake for about 20 minutes rotating the sheets once.
The cookies will be very soft and will harden as they cool. let they cool a bit before listing them off the sheet with a spatula.
Enjoy! They are delicious!
Next is another experiment – Sweet & Salty Caramel Brownies.
This is a weird combination, you say? Agree, but the taste is interesting, subtle and refreshing.
So I took:
A bit less than 1 cup sugar (I use organic cane)
2 Tbsp light corn syrup (yes, I know, not too healthy, but once a year..)
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tsp fleur de sel or any sea salt
1/4 cup sour cream
This is for caramel
For the brownies:
1 cup sifted flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp dark unsweetened cocoa powder
11 oz dark chocolate chopped
1 cup (2 sticks) butter cut into cubes
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
5 large eggs (always use eggs for baking at room temperature)
2 tsp vanilla extract
Some lemon peels
1 tbsp rum or your favorite liquor
A dash of chopped nuts
Start with making caramel. In a medium saucepan combine sugar, corn syrup and 1/4 cup water and stir constantly and carefully as it becomes very hot and may splash. Cook for about 8 minutes until the mixture becomes amber in color. Take off the heat and stir in cream and salt. Whisk the sour cream in until the mixture is uniform in consistency and set aside.
Prepare your pans (glass will be the best) by lining them (I used two, but you may have a bigger one) with parchment and spraying with cooking spray.
In a bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and cocoa powder.
Prepare the double boiler set over a pot of hot, but not boiling water and place the chocolate and butter in it. Stir frequently until the mixture becomes uniform. Turn the heat off and add sugars. Mix until combined. Set aside.
Once the mixture cools off just a bit, add eggs one by one and whisk just to combine. Add vanilla and alcohol. Do not over-mix.
Combine the flour and chocolate mixtures and mix until just combined.
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Spoon half the mixture into the prepared pans, pour the caramel onto the chocolate batter trying not to touch the sides of the pan. Spoon the rest of the batter and smooth it over.
Bake for about 30-35 minutes until the wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out with almost no moist crumbs attached.
Sprinkle fleur de sel and coarse sugar on top. Let cool completely before cutting. They are very soft so not picture perfect when cut.
Hag Shavuot Sameach!