Olaf Cupcakes
Apr03

Olaf Cupcakes

My four-year-old is obsessed with the movie Frozen, so I thought it would be a fun project to make Olaf the Snowman cupcakes with her. And I was right!   I was surprised at how easily she bit his cute little head right off. (cold!)   Making fun cupcakes has been on my to-do list forever, because ever since my husband, Sam, put the Hello, Cupcake! app on my iPad, Aja has been completely enamored with it.   Highly Recommend this iPad app!   I then bought the book for her (when she was about three), and she would stare at the pages for hours on end. Hello, Cupcake: $9.20 on Amazon >>   I learned some great tips from her (my little one!) as she watched, learned, and quoted from this fantastic book and app! She had been nagging me to make something from the book, so I thought I’d combine her love for the movie and the book in this project. There wasn’t an Olaf Cupcake in the book, but I got some great tips, ideas, and inspiration from it. Don’t feel like you have to go to ten different stores and spend a fortune on special gels and gadgets—you can easily pull these together with some cupcakes, frosting, and a few candies. I just gave you details for the way we made them.   Aja insisted that we NOT use licorice (I’m guessing most four-year-olds find it as offensive as she does…?), so I fortunately—or unfortunately—discovered my new favorite candy whilst looking for a substitute. Licorice (my fav) and chocolate?! You’ve got to be kidding me! (I won’t tell you how many I ate while making these cupcakes.)   I’d love to see your versions of Olaf—PLEEZ send me pics! Especially the ones of your little ones making them. 🙂   Tips From Hello, Cupcake For fantastic cake mix cupcakes: Use buttermilk in place of the water, and add an extra egg (I used Duncan Hines Classic Yellow Cake Mix) Use a freezer Ziploc bag for piping the batter into the muffin cups   What You Will Need for SIX Olaf the Snowman Cupcakes 6 colored cupcake liners or mini doilies to set him on (Michael’s/Party City) 12 vanilla cupcakes (completely cooled) 12 mini vanilla cupcakes, papers removed (completely cooled) 1 – 2 x 16 oz cans vanilla frosting (recommended: Pillsbury Creamy Supreme Classic White) 12 mini marshmallows for the feet Chocolate Twizzlers for the hair and arms (or licorice or pretzels) mini eyeballs for the eyes (or mini brown M&Ms) (Michael’s/Party City) mini chocolate chips for the buttons (or brown M&Ms) Sunkist Orange Slices or Fruit...

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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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The Ultimate Ginger Cookie
Oct06

The Ultimate Ginger Cookie

I’ve made many-a-ginger-cookie, and finally discovered this version from Ina Garten, which really is the “ultimate” ginger cookie! A little crispy on the outside, but then perfectly chewy in the middle. And wonderful, distinct gingery flavor! I doubled the recipe, because I think you’ll find that one batch simply isn’t enough. By the time you’ve tried one—or two, or three—just to make sure they are perfect… and then had your “tasters” try one… you get the picture… And… they are even better the next day. Another reason to love this recipe—I am a huge fan of anything that can be made ahead. You might be surprised that I listed these as kid-friendly, but these are Aja, my toddler’s favorite cookies that I bake. Biscuits…? When I visited my brother, Gary, at his house or furniture factory in Johannesburg (Jo’burg), there was always a big tin of delicious, crunchy, homemade “ginger biscuits” that looked like giant ginger flying saucers! What? You must be thinking… Well, in South Africa, a “biscuit” is actually what’s known as a cookie here in the U.S., and a “cookie” is what’s known as a cupcake here. I know, pretty confusing. It took me a long time to learn the new lingo! I tried to recreate the experience, but I think sometimes when you convert recipes from “the old country” they just aren’t the same.   I LOVE grating my own nutmeg—it makes me feel very fancy! My microplane grater is one of my favorite tools. I happen to love the taste and smell of nutmeg, and it is definitely much fresher and more flavorful if you grind it yourself. And there’s something so cute about those little nutmegs—look like acorns.           Cool Tools: Microplane Grater, Parchment Paper, Salter Scale       The Ultimate Ginger Cookie 2013-08-05 10:42:32 Yields 44 Write a review Save Recipe Print Prep Time 30 min Cook Time 15 min Total Time 45 min Prep Time 30 min Cook Time 15 min Total Time 45 min 133 calories 25 g 8 g 3 g 2 g 0 g 36 g 94 g 13 g 0 g 3 g Nutrition Facts Serving Size 36g Yields 44 Amount Per Serving Calories 133 Calories from Fat 27 % Daily Value * Total Fat 3g 5% Saturated Fat 0g 2% Trans Fat 0g Polyunsaturated Fat 1g Monounsaturated Fat 2g Cholesterol 8mg 3% Sodium 94mg 4% Total Carbohydrates 25g 8% Dietary Fiber 1g 4% Sugars 13g Protein 2g Vitamin A0%Vitamin C0% Calcium3%Iron8% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on...

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