10 Recipes for a Happy New Year
Sep16

10 Recipes for a Happy New Year

If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you’ll know that OrnaBakes actually began with my bulkas—traditional cinnamon buns that we broke our fast on each Yom Kippur in South Africa—so it would only be right to kick off this list with my signature bake. Even if you didn’t read any further and just made these, your family would think you were a rock star! But each make-ahead dish has been tried and tested by me, and would be perfect for any holiday or family gathering. If you celebrate the Jewish Holidays, wishing you L’Shanah Tovah, from our family to yours.   Love,     Traditional South African Bulkas http://www.ornabakes.com/2012/09/cinnamon-bulkas-traditional-yeast-buns/ These soft, buttery buns, sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, are just sweet enough, but not too rich—so you can enjoy them anytime. My favorite thing to do over the holidays is to make them with my little one. You can check out my YouTube vid for exactly how to make them. (Please give a THUMBS UP if you find it helpful!)   Cinnamon Raisin Challah http://www.ornabakes.com/2013/08/round-challah-for-a-sweet-new-year/ Did you know that Round Challah symbolizes the cycle of life, so what better a way to bring in a sweet New Year than to bake a fresh loaf to share with your loved ones! My cuz, Carla, taught me how to make this wonderful, sweet Cinnamon Sugar loaf, which then gave me the confidence to try other things with yeast… starting my love/hate relationship with yeast. But I will say that there’s nothing more satisfying than baking your own bread!   Chicken Marbella – from The Silver Palate http://www.silverpalate.com/recipe/store-favorites/chicken-marbella Our cousins, Leon & Judy, who live in Northern California, make their wonderful variation of this recipe for the holidays, because it feeds a crowd, you can make it ahead, and well… it’s plain delish! Make sure to marinate the chicken overnight to deepen the flavor and keep it moist. They use skinless breast halves (bone-in) and thighs, but I add some legs too—my personal fav. I love their take of using half prunes & half dried apricots. I just finely minced the garlic, or you could puree it, like in the original recipe. I use my favorite World’s Largest Olives from TJ’s and just leave out the pimentos. It’s a fabulous, easy recipe—you must try it!   Anne Burrell’s Brisket (without the bacon!) http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/anne-burrell/braised-beef-brisket-with-onions-mushrooms-and-balsamic-recipe.html This is a nice change from the usual, sweet, chutney, ketchup, or cola brisket recipes. Don’t freak out on me about the bacon, just leave it out! Yes, I did find it a little weird in her episode where she says, why would anyone leave out the bacon (hello… Chef Anne, do you not have...

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Apricot Squares
Sep02

Apricot Squares

Grating the dough gives these tasty squares their good looks, and wonderful, crumbly texture!   The smell wafting out of my oven right now takes me right back to my childhood, when my older sister, Sharon, often made these delicious “farfel biscuits.” I’ve fleshed out the simple recipe from The New International Goodwill Recipe Book (which every young Jewish girl in South Africa got when starting out) with detailed instructions and pics. I hope you’ll give them a try, because they’re really easy, and you’ll probably find all the ingredients in your pantry! What you will need  Since this is a jam-centric recipe, buy a good quality jam. I’m partial to Bonne Maman, which is smooth and has a lovely taste, and most importantly doesn’t contain corn syrup. You can find it at most supermarkets these days—even Costco carries the Apricot Preserves, so you know they must be good! Spray baking sheet and line with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang for easy removal Grate half of the chilled dough directly onto the prepared pan Spread the jam evenly on top Grate the remaining dough on top Bake 20 – 25 minutes till golden; after 5 minutes carefully transfer to wire rack to cool completely Cut with a sharp knife into 2-inch squares Apricot Squares 2013-09-01 20:58:35 Yields 35 Write a review Save Recipe Print 184 calories 30 g 25 g 7 g 2 g 3 g 52 g 31 g 15 g 0 g 2 g Nutrition Facts Serving Size 52g Yields 35 Amount Per Serving Calories 184 Calories from Fat 57 % Daily Value * Total Fat 7g 10% Saturated Fat 3g 17% Trans Fat 0g Polyunsaturated Fat 0g Monounsaturated Fat 2g Cholesterol 25mg 8% Sodium 31mg 1% Total Carbohydrates 30g 10% Dietary Fiber 0g 2% Sugars 15g Protein 2g Vitamin A4%Vitamin C3% Calcium3%Iron2% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Does this look wrong? Ingredients 1 cup butter, salted, room temperature 1 cup sugar 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 2 large eggs, room temperature 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract 4 cups all-purpose flour 4 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt vegetable cooking spray 2 1/4 cups apricot jam, room temperature Instructions Lightly coat an 11 x 17-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray; line the bottom with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Spoon jam into a bowl, and beat with a rubber spatula to smooth out; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt to combine. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with...

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Round Challah for a Sweet New Year
Aug29

Round Challah for a Sweet New Year

Round Challah is a traditional sweet bread, served on the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, to symbolize the cycle of life and a sweet new year. A few years ago, I was blown away by my cousin Carla’s homemade honey and raisin challah at our holiday celebration. Orna and Sam with Cousin Carla September, 2011 You probably already know that I have a thing for bread. I also have a major thing for challah. And topped with cinnamon sugar?! You’ve got to be kidding me! But how could I possibly make this incredible loaf myself?  Carla agreed to come over the next day and show me how it was done—removing the fear factor, and sparking my love for baking any kind of bread. Well, truthfully, I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with yeast, which is why I’ve included step-by-step details, so that even if you’ve never used yeast before, you can do this! And most importantly, enjoy the process. The instructions below are for kneading in a stand mixer, or you can just do it the old fashioned way, with some elbow grease. On her next visit from Vancouver, Carla surprised me with my very own copy of The New Food Processor Bible, by Norene Gilletz, where she found this wonderful recipe. Highly Recommend! Both of these kind, generous bakers have inspired and encouraged me, and I hope to do the same for you! A special thank you goes out to Norene and friends in Norene’s Kitchen on Facebook for answering all my questions! Carla’s always getting on my back to be more “relaxed” and just enjoy cooking—but I’m sure that if I have all these questions and issues, someone out there does too, so here’s hoping that I’m making the process a little easier and less daunting. There’s no sweeter way to bring in the New Year than breaking fresh, homemade Challah with your family. Chag Sameach from our family to yours. xoxo      What you will need  Bubbled up yeast Make a well in the flour   Add the oil, eggs, water, salt, honey, and yeast mixture   Mix with the paddle attachment until combined and smooth   Knead with the dough hook for about 8 minutes; the dough should be soft and slightly sticky   Place in a large, oiled bowl, turning once to grease the top Cover and place in a warm, draught-free place to rise for 1 – 2 1/2 hours until doubled in size (or refrigerate overnight) Dough has doubled in size when you lightly poke two fingers into it and the indent doesn’t come right back out Roll into a long...

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Extreme Makeover for OrnaBakes and Bulkas on YouTube!
Aug26

Extreme Makeover for OrnaBakes and Bulkas on YouTube!

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost a year since I launched OrnaBakes, with my Cinnamon Bulkas (yeast buns). Since then I’ve learned so much—about blogging, and cooking! You wouldn’t believe how much time and effort goes into each post… and how many programs and platforms I’ve had to master. (WordPress, MailChimp, iPhoto, iMovie, YouTube, Evernote, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, the list goes on…) When I started I barely even knew how to hold a full size camera, and was terrified to remove the memory card for fear of inserting it the wrong way into my Mac. Sam probably regrets nagging me to learn how to use iPhoto for all those years, because now every computer, camera, and iOS device in our house (of which there are many) is overtaken with pictures of food! It’s very rewarding to see what a long way my pics have come since my first post. Exhibit A: Featured Image from First Bulkas Post (9/27/12) Exhibit B: Updated Bulkas Post (Pic Optimized for Pinterest in 4:5 ratio, proven to get the most pins) These heavenly buns are my personal favorite, and along with my Crunchies—another traditional South African treat—are my Signature Bake. While perfectly sweet and buttery, they aren’t too rich—so your family can enjoy them anytime. (And they don’t completely break the calorie bank!) What better a recipe for the launch of my brand new site (So exciting!) I recently had a blast teaching a class on how to make them. My friend Liat’s sweet daughter Chloe was my Sous Chef. Watch the YouTube clip and see for yourself how simple it is. Proudly edited by yours truly—so please go easy on me. 🙂 Thank you to my saintly husband, Sam, for taking the time to record the class. And for listening to me go on about my website for hours on end… (He banned me from saying “bulkas” ever again!) They’re a little time-consuming, but well worth the effort. I’ve added step-by-step instructions, illustrations, and video clips to the recipe, so there’s no guesswork. Click here for the updated Cinnamon Bulkas Recipe. Just in time for the upcoming Jewish New Year Growing up in South Africa, it was our family tradition to break the fast on Yom Kippur with a warm Bulka (a/k/a Boolke). I wish that my Auntie Phyllie could see me sharing her special tradition with my little Aja. OrnaBakes 2.0 Rockin’ logo designed by sweetheart Sammy Jay Purkin! My Trader Joe’s and Costco Shopping Lists are now super-easy to navigate and print. It’s a snap to add comments or share your favorite recipes or posts. You can search recipes by diet, holiday, country, or type. A...

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Mario Batali’s Brutti Ma Buoni Cookies
Mar15

Mario Batali’s Brutti Ma Buoni Cookies

I first saw these Italian Meringue Cookies (translation: Ugly But Good) in a Weight Watchers Magazine, many years ago.   I finally made Mario Batali’s version from Foodnetwork.com—my go-to recipe resource—and they were simply divine. And the best part is they make a fantastic Passover Dessert and are low points to boot! (Weight Watchers PointsPlus value coming soon.) I’m not usually a fan of meringues, but these light, crispy-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside, nutty puffs are delicious. I think the name is misleading because they are actually quite cute! The perfect sweet treat following a heavy holiday meal. In my humble opinion, most Passover Desserts are not worthy; not of the time to make them nor the calories to eat them! Since no flour or leavening agents are permitted, many recipes substitute Matzo Meal for flour. The best options are recipes that naturally don’t contain flour—like Flourless Cheesecake. And these cookies! Enjoy! Let me know how you like them. Freeze well. How to Whip Egg Whites Adapted from Baking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America Make sure there are no traces of fat in the whites themselves or on the equipment. (no yolk) Egg whites should be at room temperature when whipped, but are easier to separate while still cold. (Let rest 10 – 15 minutes after separating.) Begin whipping at a slow to moderate speed, until the whites loosen and become foamy. Add sugar gradually with mixer on moderate speed, then cinnamon, salt and vanilla, and increase speed to high. As more air is beaten into the whites, the texture becomes very smooth and the foam thickens enough to mound slightly. When you see the whisk start to leave track marks in the egg whites you are at the “soft peak” stage; the foam is still very glossy and moist, and when you pull the whisk out of the bowl and turn it upright, the whites slump over to one side in rounded peaks. As you continue to whip egg whites, they reach the “medium peak” stage. You will see distinct tracks left by the whisk or beater as you whip. The peaks formed when the whisk is lifted retain their shape longer, but are still glossy and smooth. This is the ideal stage for foams to be folded into batters. Maria Batali’s recipe calls for butter and sugar for greasing the cookie sheet, but I find it easier to just use parchment paper instead; and this makes the cookies non-dairy or pareve. I forgot what a huge quantity of cookies this recipe makes, and had to run out to pick up my toddler from preschool right in the...

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