Looking for a “go-to” dessert recipe? You can’t go wrong with this delicious combination of apple pastry, candied walnuts, a drizzle of homemade balsamic reduction served with vanilla ice cream. It’s a scrumptious culinary puzzle that fits perfectly together! Make it once, and you’ll go to it time and time again, guaranteed!
If you missed these delightful treats during Hanukah this past week, the great thing about Rugelach is that they are popular all throughout the year and especially for the holidays! Rolled out delicate dough filled with a variety of ingredients, Rugelach has grown in popularity from a Jewish specialty to an American favorite. It seems as though every country has its own version and name for Rugelach and there are hundreds of recipe variations for this bite-sized goody. For the dough, sour cream or cream cheese is added to the flour which makes for flavorful dough that’s extremely easy to work with. These one or two bite morsels are generally filled with ingredients like sugar, cinnamon, walnuts, raisins, chocolate, or preserves with a little cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top. Again, there are a number of ways to roll and cut Rugelach, but the classic shapes are crescents or slightly flattened squares. I know that Rugelach was baked up en masse for the Hanukkah celebration which ended yesterday, but there are plenty of chances in the days ahead to make, bake and deliver these delicious and delicate gifts from the kitchen for the holidays ahead!
This Rescued Recipe is so special to me, and I hope you love it as much as I do! It’s my Dad’s amazingly moist and flavorful Thanksgiving turkey stuffing, the memories of which are as savory and sweet as the recipe itself. I was always Dad’s little kitchen buddy, especially at Thanksgiving. He was famous in our house for his sausage, walnut and apple stuffing and I was his official apple-chopper. I never really like peeling, coring and dicing that gigantic bowl full of apples, but I loved being around my Dad. I would have happily peeled and chopped ten truckloads of apples if it meant chumming around with him in the kitchen. This was “our” day. Get in our way and you’d more than likely get caught up in the frenetic wake of our chop-sauté, chop-sauté. There was never a better place to be and not a spot on earth that was more aromatic than our kitchen at 6am on Thanksgiving morning. That’s when our restaurant-sized skillet came to life with the dance of the sautéed onions, carrots and celery, all waiting for the official apple chopper to focus on her task at hand. Finally (ten billion apples later) the magical mixture came together. The sausage got added to the onions, the onion mixture got tossed with the apples and then everything went into a massive bowl where the cornbread stuffing was waiting to be happily drenched in that savory goodness. Being Dad’s kitchen pal came with huge rewards. It always got me to the head of the Thanksgiving meal line where I would “test and approve” spoonfuls and spoonfuls and spoonfuls of stuffing right out of the hot bird. So today, just a few days away from that family feeding frenzy we call The Thanksgiving Feast, I proudly share my own treasured Rescued Recipe with you. I’m so very thankful that, in all those years, Dad never once let me know how much I really just got in his way.
I may have to confess something here. I love chocolate chip cookies when they’re the soft, chewy, sink-your-teeth-into-type. That’s not the confession. Here it is: I would really love chocolate chip cookies even more…without the chocolate chips. I know that sounds crazy, but I’m absolutely nuts about the actual batter. So when I make up a batch of chocolate chips for friends or family, I steal a couple of spoonfuls of the batter before I put the chips in. I bake up the “naked” ones, and then gobble them up right out of the oven. (Confessions are so freeing!) The one exception I have is this recipe for Whole Wheat Chocolate Chips. It was sent to me by Arizona resident Wendy Putler. She shared with me the story of how one day she and her mom got into a conversation about who makes the best chocolate chip cookies. Wendy’s mom declared that she makes the best ones. Wendy begged to differ and told her mom that she actually made better cookies than her mom! Once they compared recipes, they discovered that the recipe was identical. They had both found it in a 1964 Boston Globe newspaper! I’m not sure who won Battle/Chocolate Chip, but I think you and I came out the winners here with a recipe we can really sink out teeth into!
Would a girl like me, who loves to shake things up in the kitchen, pass up a recipe with a name like Earthquake Cake? Not a chance! It’s recipes like this that I hope to run across every time I buy old recipe boxes at antique stores. Sadly, more and more stores are discarding the recipes and just selling the boxes. But I’ll travel miles out of my way, hoping to find that over-stuffed, often disorganized, box of recipe treasures. Those were somebody’s go-to recipes, and many of them are now mine. It was in one of these old toll-painted, scuffed up boxes that I found a dessert that shook the earth and sent shockwaves through me… okay, that’s a little dramatic. But, actually, Earthquake Cake, I discovered, is fantastic tasting and a lot of fun to make because the center sinks and the sides rise, and in the end, it all mixes together into an ooey, gooey volcano of chocolate goodness!
In researching the Earthquake Cake, I found that it was categorized as a convenient “back of the box” cake and that had many recipes call for German Chocolate cake mix in the batter. Since the version in my old recipe box had “one rich chocolate cake mix” written on it, that’s what I opted for. But I think either a German Chocolate or regular chocolate cake mix would work just as well – it’s just a matter of personal preference. It goes together very easily – just a simple layering of ingredients. Finally, here’s your early Earthquake warning: as you watch the cake bake, it may look like a wreck as it shifts and bubbles over itself. But I can tell you one thing: you won’t find a fault with this lost and found Earthquake Cake.
It’s said to have come from the Yiddish word “rugel,” meaning royal. Rolled out, delicate dough filled with a variety of ingredients, Rugelach (pronounced Ru-ga-Lach) has grown in popularity from a Jewish specialty, baked during the holidays, to an American favorite, enjoyed all year long. It seems as though every country has its own version and name for Rugelach, and there are hundreds of recipe variations for this bite-sized goody. For the dough, sour cream or cream cheese is added to the flour which makes for flavorful dough that’s extremely easy to work with. These morsels are generally filled with ingredients like sugar, cinnamon, walnuts, raisins, chocolate, or preserves with a little cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top. Again, there are a number of ways to roll and cut Rugelach, but the classic shapes are crescents or slightly flattened squares. I know that Rugelach was baked up en masse for the Hanukkah celebration which ended last Thursday, but there are plenty of chances in the days ahead to make, bake, and deliver these delicious and delicate gifts from the kitchen for the holidays ahead!