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Its nice that the two holidays are coinciding this year so I can actually attend my fiancé’s family Chanukah get together instead of hearing about it while I am sitting for an exam.
The crazy thing about the two holidays coinciding… all the cooking!!! So this weekend in honor of the two holidays we have two recipes. A Kugel (though not really a traditional Jewish Kugel, we heard) from Andrew and Chocolate Slide cookies from my family’s traditional Christmas cookies.
(Andrew’s mother couldn’t find her cookbook so Andrew went to his one-true-culinary-love Alton Brown for the recipe.
All pictures are courtesy of Andrew’s favorite uncle, Jeff Diamond.
8 ounces lasagna noodles (9-10 noodles - hmmm…we used 11 because I wanted the pretty pieces)
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted, cooled and divided
8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
8 ounces sour cream at room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp kosher salt
6 ounces dried apricots coarsely chopped
4 ounces raisins
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grease an 8 by 8 inch baking dish and set aside. Mix together the sugar and nutmeg for the topping and also set aside.
Cook the noodles according to the package directions and drain. Cut the noodles into 1 inch wide strips (we used a pizza cutter but I think a good pair of kitchen scissors might have been easier).
Toss the noodles with 1 tbsp of melted butter.
Beat the remaining butter, cream cheese, sour cream, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt until thoroughly combined.
Mix together the cream cheese mixture, the buttered noodles, and the dried fruit.
Transfer the noodle mixture to the prepared pan and sprinkle with the sugar/nutmeg mixture.
Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 15 - 20 minutes until the pudding is set, golden around the edges, and slightly puffed.
Cool for about 15 minutes before serving.
Ok warning: these cookies make me crazy! I will only make them once a year. Not because they aren’t delicious—they really, really are!-but because they are a frustrating dough to work with. But they are really, really good. Great special occasion cookies.
3 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder (yeah, it’s baking soda in the picture… I grabbed the wrong one… ignore that)
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
6 ounces of chocolate chips (I tend to add a few ounces more… chocolate is good!)
Chopped walnuts or pecans (optional and I leave them out)
lots of confectioners sugar
Start by mixing your dry ingredients, the flour, baking powder and salt, in a bowl and set aside.
This recipe is a cream cheese instead of butter base so you are creaming the sugar and cream cheese exactly like you would cream butter.
My friend Melissa pointed out that I have never actually explained how to cream butter here and its kinda the name of the blog. Have your butter (here cream cheese) at room temperature and place in a bowl with the sugar. Using a good wooden spoon or a mixer, beat the butter and the sugar together until they are completely incorporated and the mixture is kinda fluffy looking.
After creaming the cream cheese and the sugars, add in the egg and vanilla and beat well. Add in the flour mix and stir until a soft dough forms. This dough manages to be both crumbly and sticky (told you: frustrating cookies!) so it will need to be chilled.
Break the dough into four pieces.
Wrap each piece in plastic wrap, and chill for at least an hour.
After the hour is up make your filling by melting the sweetened condensed milk and chocolate chips. Keep it warm so that you can handle it easily, but not so warm that it will melt though the dough.
Carefully roll out one of the sections of the dough to form a rough rectangle.
Pour 1/4 of the filling in the middle of the dough.
Fold the two sides up to make a sealed envelope. Mine always sticks and rips here. Dip the spatula you are using to powdered sugar to help. And don’t worry if they aren’t beautiful, you can cover up all the less-than- perfect spots after the cookies are baked.
Carefully move the filled cookie log to a greased baking pan and repeat with the other pieces of dough.
Bake the cookies at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, until just golden brown around the edges.
Allow to cool on the pans for 5 minutes and then transfer to wire racks. While still warm, cover the entire bar with powdered sugar, being sure to get the bottom and sides. This is where you get to cover up any tears or problems from the forming stage.
Let the bars cool completely. Slice into about 1 in cookies and consume.