Cooking with Love

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Safta Tova's Apple Cake

The smell of apples and cinnamon always remind me of my childhood summers when we came to visit our Israeli Grandmother - Safta Tova.

The smell of them invaded every cell of my body, completely intoxicating me. She would put them in her kugel with raisins, in her yeast breads and of course - her cake. She had the worst oven in the world. Till now - I have no idea how she got that thing working without burining her cakes. But she did. And forever refused a new oven. When she finally did budge she put the old piece of junk out on the porch and yes.....continued baking in the old one.

This is her recipe for Apple cake:

Safta Tova's Apple cake
3 c. all purpose flour
pinch of salt
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 c. white sugar
3/4 c. vegetable oil
4 eggs, large
1/4 c. orange juice, freshly sqeezed
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 apples, peeled, cored and sliced - she always uses the granny smith which are tart
2 tsp. cinnamon
5 tsp. white sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a bundt pan.

Mix together the cinnamon and 5 tsp. of the sugar and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder and 2 cups of the sugar.
Beat the egss and oil on medium speed. Add the orange juice and vanilla. Slowly add the flour mixture till incorporated.
Pour half of batter into the pan. Top with half of the sliced apples and sprinkle with half of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Pour the remaining batter over the top and layer the remaining sliced apples and cinnamon sugar.
Bake at 180 C for approx. 70 minutes.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Chanit's Granola Bars

These are the exact Granola bras I have been looking for. They are perfect. I made the last night and today there are exactly 2 pieces left...meaning that even my kids like them, which is great. I know they are getting something other than junk.
The recipe can be found here:
And I strongly recommend browsing through Chanit's wonderful blog.

Granola Bars
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup nuts, coarsely chopped - I used almonds and pistachios
1 cup dried fruit - I used apricots, papaya, pineapple (which I had on hand)
1 cup raw unsalted sunflower seeds
1 can sweetened condensed milk **
1/2 cup butter, melted

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.Line a 10 x 15 inch baking pan with foil and grease the foil. Spoon batter into the pan. Bake at 325 degrees F. for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown.Cool slightly, remove from pan, peel off foil and cut into bars.

**I added 3 TBS maple pecan syrup which I got from Michelle at

The best granola bars

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Mishloach Manot - My Care Package


200 gram butter
2 1/2 all purpose flour
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup orange juice
1 TBSP Orange peel, grated
Mix together and form dough.
Cool in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
Roll and cut into circles with cookie cutter.
Fill with poppy seed mixture, chocolate ganache, nutella, dates or whatever filling you please.
Close to form a hamentaschen and bake till golden.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Nika's Chocolate Coconut Hedgies

The Coconut hedgies

Oreo Fudge Brownies
Tamari's Fudge Brownies (with my Oreo twist)
225 grams bitter sweet chocolate, chopped
200 grams butter
4 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla 1 cup all purpose flour
20 oreo cookies, broken
Melt the chocolate and butter. Set aside to cool.
Beat eggs till foamy. add salt an sugars. Mix. Add the melted chocolate and butter and mix. Add flour and mix ny hand until incorporated. Do not overmix.
Stir in Oreo Cookie pieces.
Grease and line a 32cm x 22 cm pan and pour in brownie mixture.
Bake approx 30-40 minutes at 180C.
Cool completely.
Cut into squares. Brownies can be frozen

Meringue kisses

Kisses with chocolate Ganache

Kisses with chocolate Ganache

1 care Package

Table of care packages

Up close


The story of Purim is one of the happy stories in the Judaiac history. The story is pretty much a fairytale story and I think you will like it.
We have a beautiful orphan child, named Esther.
We have Esther's uncle Mordechai, who raised her as his daughter, a honest and kind man.
We have a king - Ahasuerus, king of Persia and he was pretty much fed up with his wife Vashti so he made it known throughout the kingdom that he was seeking a new wife for his harem.
Once he saw beautiful Esther - he fell in love (of course he had no knowledge she was jewish) and married her.
And of course - how can we have a fairytale without an evil witch? But in our case it is evil Haman. Haman was the kings advisor and hater of Mordechai as the latter refused to bow to Haman.
He came up with an idea to kill all jews in Persia, an idea that the king didn't mind.
Upon hearing this terrible news Mordechai he begged Esther to speak to the king. Speaking to the king could lead to her death as 1) he would find out she was a jew. 2) she was not summoned into his chambers - a crime that was punished by death.
So - Esther fasted for three days and then courageously went to the king and told him of Haman's evil plot - revealing that she is a jew.
Of course there is a happy end - Haman was hanged and killed and the jews went celebrating in the streets.
All this happened in the jewish month of "adar" -"" so once Adar has begens - we must rejoice".
So we dress up in costumes (like halloween) and get our groggers out - for when reading the book of Esther, everytime Hamans name is mentioned - we must make as much noise as possible.
One of the mitzvah's (good deed) of the holiday is making a care package for the needy. At least 2 must be made and given. Over the years it has turned into a tradition and children bring packages to school and divide them amongst themselves. The more orthodox jews bring it to the needy.
Another holiday tradition is Hamentaschen - or what we call in hebrew - "haman's ears".
Have a great holiday and pictures of the care package + costumes and fun will come later - I promise.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Cheese Pocket Pastries

My daughters favorite. I do omit the raisins, as she isn't a raisin person.
The dough is very easy to work with.
The only problem is the cheese - well not for me - as I use an Israeli cheese fit for this recipe. But for anyone abroad - I haven't a clue as to which cheese should be used, but it should be a soft, dy low fat cheese. I would dare and even try it with cottage cheese - that may work....

rolled out square
Two opposite sides brought together
Third side brought to the middle
And the pocket (looks more like a homeade envelope)
Sprinkled with powdered sugar
and someone stole a bite
Karin Goren's Cheese Pockets
500 grams all purpose flour
2 tsp. self active yeast
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup warm milk
3 egg yolks
grated peel of 1/2 a lemon
120 grams melted and cooled butter
1 tsp salt
Mix together all the dough ingredients for about 5-10 minutes. Dough will be quite soft and shiny. Cover and let rise till double in size.
500 grams cheese - for the Isreali's - Tuv Ta'am (dry lowfat soft cheese)
1/2 cup sugar
2 -3 tsp vanilla sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 egg yoks
grated peel from 1/2 lemon
2 Tbs cornflour
20 grams melted butter
1/2 cup raisins
Stir together and keep in refrigerator till ready to use.
1 egg for brushing
powdered sugar for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 190C.
Line 2 pans with parchment paper.
Roll dough to approx 1/2 cm thick square. With pizza cutter cut 10x10 cm squares. In the middle of each square put 1 Tbs filling and close like an envelope (as shown in the pictures above).
Place on lines pans cover and let rise.
Brush with egg and bake approx 10 - 15 minutes.
Cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Freeze in plastic bags.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Rose Cookies

This is a great Cookie recipe I gt from "kookie" a virtual friend from one of the Israeli food Forums.
They are easy to make and look like roses.You can play around with the filling - here I used just plain vanilla pudding. Next time I thing I will spread dulce de leche too....

Kookies Rose cookies
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
200 grams butter, at room temp.
1 cup sour cream
3 egg yolks
2 Tbsp. sugar

3 egg whites
1/4 cup sugar
1 box vanilla instant pudding (or any other of your favorite flavor)

Beat together all the dough ingredients until soft dough is formed. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile make the filling:
Beat egg whitess until frothy, add the sugar and beat till peaks form. Gently fold in the pudding.
Preheat oven to 180C.
Remove the dough and roll the dough in a lightly floured surface - as thin as possible.
Spread filling and roll. Slice approx. 2-3 cm and place on lined cookie sheets - filling side up.
Bake until light golden.
Cool completely and sprinkle powdered sugar.
Before baking
Covered in powdered sugar

The Heat is On

The weather here is hot. While Europe is "enjoying" snow storms we are going thru desert heat weather. With what the Californians call "santa ana winds". This kind of weather is known as "hamsin". Hot winds, dry heat and all you feel like doing is cooling of.So I spent the day at the beach, saw the migration of the birds. mostly storks (which remonded me more of a Hitchkok movie - the skies turned black with such a large number of birds, but it was really cool).
At home I was glad the I had lasagne I prepared early in the morning so I didn't need to get anywhere close to the oven.
But what is the best part of a heat wave (besides tanning and bird-watching at the beach?)
Strawberry Margaritas!!!
I didn't have a fixed recipe so I kind of played around with the ingredients:
In a blender :
8 oz strawberries (you can freeze first)
8 oz Tequila (good quality only)
2-3 oz Triple-sec
1/4 cup sugar
juice from 1 lemon
juice from 1 orange
2 trays of ice
Blend until of slurpy consistancy. Taste and add any ingredient if necessary.
Dip Martini glass in lemon juice and then in sugar. Pour the margarita and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Reeses to Pieces

A friend of mine brought me a bag of reeses. Reeses are pretty hard to find here so the first instinct was just to eat them one by one....But for some reason the bag remained in the cubbard and we forgot all about them (together with the Lindt Chile Chocolate I never tasted). So foo to the kitchen I went to bake cookies (I really haven't baked much since I had the flu).
The recipe is adapted from Baking Bites:
Chocolate Chocolate Chile Peanut Butter Cookies
2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
150 grams butter
1 tsp vanilla
100 grams Lindt Chile chocolate, coarsley chopped
1 bag mini reeses, each one quartered
Preheat oven to 170C and line sheets with parchement paper.
Beat together butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla an continue to beat.
In seperate bowl combine the flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda.
Add gently to the butter mixture and mix until well icorporated.
Add the chocolates and stir by hand.
Drop teaspoonful of mixture onto sheets - but make sure that they are at least 2-3 cm apart as the cookies spread.
Bake 9-11 minutes. Cookies will look soft but will be cracked.
Cool completely before removing from pan.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Energy Bars

Lately I have turned very health conscious. I am not doing it fanatically but I am trying to keep the house clear of junk food etc. Its not always easy with teens around but I am starting to notice that they are even preferring the brown rice to the regular. If I buy healthy nutritious cereal they will eat that and leave the sweetened choclatey cereal untouched.

So I started looking for a healthy snack that can also be taken to work. Most granola bars I have made in the past didn't knock anyone off their feet. So I took a few recipes together and made my own mish-mash energy bars...
These are my energy bars that are a favorite. I usualy keep them in a closed tupperware and the kids take them to snack on at school.
2 cups oats (not instant) - I use organic
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cups dried fruit (I used what I had on hand - apricots, light and dark raisins, dates and prunes)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
1 egg, beaten
2 tsp. vanilla (I make my own)
1/2 cup honey or "silan" (date honey)
Mix together all the dry ingredients, by hand - make sure to "crumble" the dried fruit as they tend to stick together.
Add the oil, egg, vanilla and honey. Mix - by hand - till the mixture is moist.
Put the mixture in a medium pan - lined with parchement paper. Press mixture flat.
In a preheated oven - 180C - bake till golden approx. 20-25 minutes.
Cool slightly and then cut squares. Cool completely and store in airtight container.