Desserts from around the web

I’ve gotten into the habit of bringing dessert to Shabbat meals. This has served as a perfect excuse to make several of the dessert recipes that have been sitting on my ‘sweet things’ Pinterest board for days months years. It’s problematic to make an entire pan of brownies or a cake for myself, so Shabbat is the perfect opportunity to make a mouth-watering dish of sugar-chocolate-sweet-love (take your pick).

Here are a few highlights of desserts made in the last month. I didn’t make up any of the recipes, so I just link directly back to the original recipe source.

I made this flourless chocolate cake from Satisfying Eats. I had a slight mishap because I accidentally bought a can of straight coconut cream as opposed to canned coconut milk, so I had to dilute the cream with water to make it more milky…nonetheless it came out well.

IMG_5719

It may have been my cooking errors, but this wasn’t a cake that held together (don’t expect to eat it with your fingers!). I served it warm and gooey, eaten with spoons. This would be absolutely divine with some vanilla ice cream!

Next up were applesauce brownies from Something Swanky. Although they are advertised as healthy, they do not have ANY of that these-are-brownies-but-taste-sort-of-like-health-food thing going on. They are rich and dense and seriously delicious.

IMG_5718

I made two pans: one topped with chocolate chips and one topped with walnuts. This was my contribution to last week’s Thanksgiving meal. 🙂

While both of the previous two desserts were quite good, this next one is a whole other level. This is a gooey pumpkin spice latte chocolate pudding cake from Oh She Glows. Seriously, the name says it all. This cake is made in an unusual way; You make the batter, pour it into the pan, and then dump some hot coffee on top of it. It will look like something has gone terribly wrong and this will never be anything that tastes good:

IMG_5709

But, somehow, a miracle will occur when you put it into the oven and it will turn into this:

IMG_5714

In my opinion, this recipe was TOP NOTCH. For anyone who likes chocolate or pumpkin or things-that-taste-good, I suggest cooking this ASAP.

And, finally, the biggest crowd-pleaser I made were these oatmeal chocolate chip cheesecake bars from Lovely Little Kitchen. They were a bit labor intensive to make because there were a lot of layers (crust, cheesecake, chocolate topping), but overall it was totally worth it.

IMG_5706 IMG_5707 IMG_5713

These bars were a HUGE hit. In fact, several people have mentioned them to me again since that meal. So, if you are looking for something that will make people happy, I would suggest this recipe as a good candidate.

And one last food shot of what I’m baking right now….

IMG_5759

No desserts in the oven for this Shabbat, just some good old-fashioned challah. 🙂

 

Chicken Cashew Curry

Curry is one of my favorite, fast meals. The ingredients are super flexible, so it’s easy to make quickly from whatever’s in your fridge, and it’s always delicious! I was craving the chicken-cashew combo last week, so I threw together this curry in only about 30 minutes.

*full recipe below

To start, I chopped three shallots and two carrots:

IMG_5510

I cooked these in a pan with about a tablespoon of coconut oil until the onion started to turn slightly translucent:

IMG_5512

Next, I added one large chicken breast, cut into small pieces and cooked until the chicken was white on all sides:

IMG_5513

Lastly, I added a half can of coconut milk, some curry and paprika, and about a cup of frozen broccoli:

IMG_5514 IMG_5515

I stirred to combined and let simmer for about 10 minutes until the broccoli was soft and the chicken fully cooked through. Just before the end, I put in about 1/3 cup of cashews:

IMG_5516

Yum!

Chicken Cashew Curry, makes 3 servings
Ingredients
- 3 shallots
- 2 carrots
- 1 T coconut oil
- 1/2 can of coconut milk
- 1 large chicken breast
- 3 T curry powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 cup frozen broccoli
- 1/3 cup cashews
Method
- chop shallots and carrots
- cook in coconut oil in a large skillet until onion turns translucent
- chop chicken and add, moving pieces until all sides are white
- add coconut milk, curry powder, paprika, and broccoli
- bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes
- just before removing from heat, stir in cashews
- serve with quinoa, rice, or grain of choice!

Pumpkin French Toast Bake

The season of pumpkin continues here in Jerusalem! Last week I went to a pumpkin-themed potluck, and, in fact, I will be attending another one at the end of this week as well! For last week’s potluck, I made a pumpkin french toast bake following this recipe with only a few modifications (just cinnamon and nutmeg instead of pumpkin pie spice in the pumpkin filling, challah rolls instead of Hawaiian rolls, and no pecans/powdered sugar for the topping)

Since the recipe requires time to sit in the fridge and set before baking, I started it on Wednesday night to bring it to serve on Thursday. To begin, I combined one package of cream cheese, powdered sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl:

IMG_5368 IMG_5369

In a separate bowl, I mixed milk, pumpkin puree, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla:

IMG_5373 IMG_5374

I tore three challah rolls into small pieces and placed them in the bottom of a round baking pan:

IMG_5375

On top of the bread, I layered half of the pumpkin mixture, the full amount of the cream mixture, and the other half of the pumpkin mixture:

IMG_5376 IMG_5377 IMG_5378

I covered this to rest in the fridge overnight, and the next day I prepared the topping of flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter:

IMG_5397 IMG_5399 IMG_5398 IMG_5400

I baked the french toast for 40 minutes at 350º until it was browned on top:

IMG_5401

 

Yum!

Pumpkin Beef Chili

Thank goodness for canned pumpkin, allowing people everywhere to make pumpkin flavored dishes. I picked up a couple cans of pumpkin at the grocery store last week and was excited to make something using one of them. I found this recipe online and decided to make something similar.

*full recipe below

To start, I prepped the veggies by chopping 2 carrots, one red pepper, and half a white onion.

IMG_5342

I also prepped a spice mix by combining 1 tablespoon each of paprika and cocoa powder and 1 teaspoon each of red pepper flakes and cinnamon.

IMG_5341

I put the vegetables along with 1 lb. ground beef in a skillet with some coconut oil, stirring occasionally until the meat browned:

IMG_5343 IMG_5344

Meanwhile…I chopped three small tomatoes:

IMG_5345

Once the meat browned, I added the tomatoes to the chili along with the spice mix:

IMG_5348

For the final touch, I added half a can of pumpkin, mixed thoroughly, and heated through:

IMG_5349 IMG_5350

I served the chili with bread and it made for a hearty meal!

Pumpkin Beef Chili, serves 4
Ingredients
 - 1/2 white onion
 - 1 red pepper
 - 2 carrots
 - 3 small tomatoes
 - 1 T cocoa powder
 - 1 T paprika
 - 1 t cinnamon
 - 1 t red pepper flakes
 - 1/2 can pumpkin puree (15 oz)
 - 1 lb. ground beef
Method
 - chop onion, pepper, and carrots 
 - combine cocoa powder, paprika, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes
 in a small bowl to have ready
 - heat ~1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a skillet and add the
 onion, pepper, carrots, and ground beef
 - cook, stirring occasionally, until meat is browned. While the meat
 is browning, chop the tomatoes
 - after the meat is browned, add tomatoes, spice mix, and pumpkin
 - stir to combine and continue cooking until heated through
 - serve warm with bread or grain of choice

Lentil Salad

A couple weeks ago, I made a lentil salad to bring to a potluck. The dish was SUPER easy to make and turned out delicious! *full recipe below

To start, I chopped one onion and sautéed it in a little bit of coconut oil until it started to brown:

IMG_4938

Next, I added 1 cup of brown lentils, 3 cups water, and 2 chopped carrots:

IMG_4939

After stirring around, I added in 1 tsp each of rosemary and thyme:

IMG_4940

I let everything simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 40 minutes until all of the liquid was gone:

IMG_4941IMG_4942

Once finished, I let the lentils cool on the stove for about half an hour before transferring to the refrigerator and serving cold the next day. This recipe required very little active time and tasted great at the next day’s lunch!

Lentil Salad
 serves 10 as a side dish
 Ingredients
 - 1 onion
 - 2 carrots
 - 1 cup lentils
 - 3 cups water
 - 1 tsp. thyme
 - 1 tsp. rosemary
 Method
 - chop onion and saute in saucepan with coconut oil or
 other oil of your choice until starting to brown
 - add lentils, water, and chopped carrots
 - stir and then add thyme and rosemary
 - simmer for 30-45 minutes, or until water is gone
 - serve hot or cold

In other news…

Noah and I recently enjoyed a brief visit to a toy store we found near Hadar Mall in Talpiot. The exterior of the store drew our attention, so we peeked inside to see what it was all about:

IMG_4943 IMG_4944

SPOTTED: an Israeli version of a minecraft building set:

IMG_4945

That looked fun, but princess puzzles are more my sort of game:

IMG_4948

And finally, a big highlight from my week…

receiving a ‘Shanah Tovah’ (literally ‘good year,’ said as a greeting around Rosh Hashanah) chocolate with my Aroma coffee:

IMG_4981

There is something so completely lovable to me about the visibility and commercialization of Jewish holidays in Israel. I guess sometimes it’s nice to not be in the minority. 🙂

Avocado Chocolate Cake

Kashrut is a Hebrew word meaning ‘fit’ or ‘proper.’ Although it has several applications in Jewish law, kashrut is most often spoken about in relationship to food and the Jewish dietary laws. To explain the entire system of dietary laws here is a much larger undertaking than I am interested in, so I will VERY briefly sum up the highlights: no pork, no shellfish, no mixing of meat and dairy , and no eating dairy after meat for 1, 3, or 6 hours (depending on who you ask). Due to the prohibition against eating meat and dairy together, traditional Jewish meals are classified as either halavi (dairy) or basari (meat). Restaurants in Israel serve EITHER dairy dishes OR meat dishes, and meals within homes are also given the same classification. Therefore, after being invited to a Shabbat meal and being asked to bring dessert, my first question was, “Is it a meat meal or a dairy meal.” The answer, “Meat.”

No. That does not mean I would be making a dessert with meat in it. It does, however, mean that the dessert cannot contain any dairy products – milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, and other creamy things that often find their way into the end-of-meal deliciousness.

Fear not, dessert lovers, because there is a solution! It’s BIG. It’s green. It’s still creamy:

avocado21

Yes. The avocado is the magical replacement ingredient for dairy. While others may be bringing margarine-laden delicacies to Shabbat meals, I am powering my meat-meal dessert with the fatty avocado (a good kind of fat, if you’re interested!).

I decided that I wanted to make a chocolate avocado cake, loosely based on this recipe*see the full recipe for my cake below

First, mix together the dry ingredients of whole wheat flour, white flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda:

IMG_4846

In a separate bowl, mix together melted coconut oil, water, apple cider vinegar, 1 mashed avocado, and white and brown sugar. This will quite possibly look gross. In fact, the one in my kitchen looked quite gross, hence my artistic decision not to include a photograph of this particular step. Don’t worry though, it will still taste great!

After you mix the wet ingredients (as listed above), combine them with the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly:

IMG_4847 IMG_4848

Pour the batter into a large pan (two small pans would be preferable  – I just didn’t have) and cook for 45 minutes at 350º.

IMG_4852

When the cake comes out of the oven, allow it to cool for about 30 minutes. While you’re waiting…make the frosting!

Combine two cups powdered sugar with cocoa powder and cinnamon:

IMG_4850

Add (another) mashed avocado to the mix and stir until the frosting takes on an even consistency:

IMG_4851

Once the cake sufficiently cools, you can layer and frost it! Since I had only the large pan to cook in, I ended up cutting the cake in half and making layers that way. If you have two pans, I have no doubt that would be much easier!

Full cake (with avocado flecks – don’t be scared of the green!):

IMG_4853

Half cake (otherwise known as the first layer):

IMG_4854

Frosting and layers:

IMG_4855 IMG_4856 IMG_4857

Yummmmm

IMG_4858

Tell your guests that the green bits are actually delicious. And that it’s healthy. And no one will care. Or, just get a food processor. 😉

Ingredients
For the cake:
- 4 Tbsp. cocoa powder
- 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 cups white flour
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1 3/4cups water
- 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 1 ripe avocado, mashed
- 2/3 cup white sugar
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
For the frosting:
- 1 ripe avocado, mashed
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
 Method
 - for the cake, combine cocoa powder, flours, cinnamon, baking 
powder, and baking soda in a large bowl
- separately, combine coconut oil, water, apple cider vinegar, 
mashed avocado, and sugars
- add the wet ingredients to the dry, transfer to a pan and cook
for 45 minutes at 350º
 - as cake cooks, make frosting by combining all ingredients
and stirring thoroughly until smooth
- allow cake to cool for at least 30 minutes before frosting

Halva Banana Cake

Today was my first baking experiment in Israel! I think it went pretty well. 🙂

I bought some halva (a Middle Eastern dessert/candy made out of sesame and honey, often sold in large bricks) earlier in the week, and quickly realized that it would be an incredible feat to eat the whole amount of halva straight.

IMG_4801

So…I decided to incorporate it into a baked good! The result: halva banana cake! *full recipe below

First, I mixed together 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup white flour, a scant 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon:

IMG_4795

Next, in a separate bowl, I mashed 3 small bananas:

IMG_4796 IMG_4797

With the bananas, I mixed two eggs, 1/3 cup applesauce, 1/3 cup greek yogurt, and 1 tsp. baking soda:

IMG_4799

I combined the wet ingredients with the dry ones:

IMG_4800

And then added 3/4 cup crumbled halva to the batter:

IMG_4802

Once the halva was stirred in, I poured the batter into a buttered cake pan and added another 3/4 cup of crumbled halva on top:

IMG_4803 IMG_4804

I baked for 40 minutes at 350º and…

photo (13)

YUM YUM YUM! The little hole is from where I put the knife in to test it before it was quite done…

Ingredients

 - 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour

 - 1/4 cup white flour

 - scant 1/2 cup sugar

 - 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

 - 3 small mashed bananas

 - 2 eggs

 - 1/3 cup applesauce

 - 1/3 cup greek yogurt

 - 1 tsp. baking soda

 - 1 1/2 cups halva

 Method

 - Combine flours, sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl and
stir to combine

 - Combine bananas, eggs, applesauce, greek yogurt, and
baking soda in a bowl
 and stir thoroughly

 - Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and
stir to combine

 - Stir into the batter 3/4 cup crumbled halva

 - Pour batter into a buttered cake pan

 - Sprinkle another 3/4 cup of crumbled halva on top

 - Bake for 30 minutes at 350º F (175º C - useful temperature
conversion for my Israeli oven!)