Black + White Creamsicles

  

Aside from the smell of tuna fish, nothing can really transport me to a New York Jewish deli like a black and white cookie. Just the mere sight of of the cookie transports me to a Shabbat luncheon in which I’m elbow-ing the person to the left and right of me (and sometimes behind me) in an attempt to get my hands on the last black and white cookie.

If you’ve ever been to a Yom Kippur break-the-fast or a Shabbat kiddush lunch, you KNOW what I’m talking about. The dessert table is the first table everyone goes for and most certainly, if there is a black and white cookie to be had, it’s the first cookie taken. (Fun fact: Did you know that the black and white cookie isn’t actually a cookie? It’s considered a drop cake. Whatever it is, it’s delicious.) Though folklore tells us that it was quite possibly not invented in NYC, but actually upstate in Ithaca, it’s still been wholly embraced by deli culture.

For me, the black and white cookie represents one of the greatest parts about being Jewish—that Jewish food can be loved and accepted by all, regardless of Jewish affiliation and/or observance level. And while there’s nothing especially “Jewish” about the black and white cookie, one can’t help but think of Jewish culture when eating it (just like brisket or kugel, in my opinion). And so, in this age of increased aggression and polarization toward the other, shouldn’t we all take Jerry Seinfeld’s lead and “look to the cook” … or in this case, the popsicle?! This recipe takes inspiration from a black and white cookie and transforms it with a fun summery twist to create a delicious creamsicle.

Black + White Creamsicle
makes roughly 12 popsicles

Ingredients for the chocolate layer:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened natural or Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 shot of espresso
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract (optional)

 

Directions for chocolate layer:

1. Combine the sugar, espresso, cocoa, cornstarch and salt in a heavy medium saucepan. Whisk in just enough of the milk to make a smooth paste. Whisk in the remaining whipping cream.

2. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring with the whisk—constantly scraping the bottom, sides and corners of the pot—until the mixture begins to bubble a little at the edges. Continue whisking and cooking for two more minutes.

3. Off heat, whisk in the vanilla and scrape the mixture into a glass or silicone pitcher (for immediate filling) or into the bowl to cool. Next, fill your popsicle molds halfway with your chocolate mixture and freeze for at least six hours.

Next, make your vanilla side.

Ingredients for vanilla layer:

  • 1/4 cup superfine sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

 

Directions for vanilla layer:

1. In a bowl, stir together the sugar and water until the sugar dissolves. Whisk in the sour cream, milk, cream and vanilla.

2. Take your chocolate popsicles out of the freezer and fill the remaining half with your vanilla side. If your mold has a cover with openings for sticks, cover and insert sticks. Otherwise, freeze until the mixture is thick enough to hold a stick upright and then insert sticks. Freeze until hard, about 4 hours if the mixture was cool, 6 or more hours if hot.

3. Line a tray with wax paper. Fill a container with warm water deep enough to dip the full height of your molds. Dip the mold long enough to release the popsicles when you pull on the stick. Remove and set popsicles on wax paper. Wrap each in a piece of wax paper and/or put them in a resealable plastic freezer bag and return them to the freezer until serving.

Click here for a fun non-dairy popsicle recipe from Whitney!

Double Chocolate Mint Hamentaschen

  

Hamentaschen recipe

Purim is one of the most accessible Jewish holidays to celebrate. Like Halloween, a big part of it is dressing up and being silly. (All-night reading of The Scroll of Esther and lots of drinking are the other parts.) Unlike Halloween, there’s a beautiful part of Purim that involves the giving of gifts to friends and tzedakah (charity) to the poor. If you’re just dipping your toes in the holiday for the first time, a great way to celebrate is with delicious food. Hamentaschen, symbolizing Haman’s hat, from the story of Purim (which has an interfaith story line), are cookies traditionally made with jam or poppy seed filling, but who doesn’t love chocolate?

I was inspired to do a hamantaschen based on my favorite Girl Scout cookie, the Thin Mint. It focuses on that sweet, decadent chocolate and the mint is brought in via a subtle peppermint glaze. And, if peppermint isn’t your thing, just leave it out and you have yourself a delicious chocolate hamantaschen that will please all your friends and family and maybe just introduce the holiday of Purim to a newcomer.

unbaked hamentaschen

Ingredients:

Makes 2 dozen (give or take a couple)

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • 6 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon strong coffee
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup large chocolate chips (semi sweet or milk will work. I used milk chocolate)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp peppermint oil
  • 3 tablespoons milk

Instructions:

1. Preheat Oven: 350°F

2. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together eggs, oil, sugar and vanilla.

3. Next, add baking powder and flour to the bowl and mix well to combine. Finally, add the cocoa and strong coffee and give it one more good stir (dough should be thick, almost like bread dough).

4. Knead the dough until smooth.

5. Flour a rolling pin and roll out to roughly 1/8 inch thin on a floured board.

6. Using a round cookie cutter or a drinking glass with a wide opening, cut out circles (use the scraps to make cookies as well, just keep forming into a large ball and rolling out thin and repeat process until dough is done).

7. Drop a handful of chocolate chips (should be roughly 10 chips or more) into the center of each circle.

8. Have a glass or small bowl of a little bit of cold water near by so that you can dip your fingers in to help fold the dough into three sides over the filling forming a triangle (water acts as a glue to the dough and will help edges stick).

9. Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes on a lined cookie sheet.

10. Once fully cooked, let cool for at least 5 – 10 minutes. While cooling, place the powdered sugar, peppermint oil and milk into a small bowl and stir until milky consistency.

11. Once the cookies are cool, brush the sugar/oil mixture over the tops.

Hamentaschen ready to bake

Glaze the hamentaschen

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Strawberry Dessert Nachos

  

Strawberry Dessert Nachos Valentine’s day is fast approaching, but we believe in celebrating big love, little love, silly love, happy love, sad love and family love any day of the week. In our diverse Jewish, multi-faith community, it’s important to show our love for one another, and take advantage of opportunities to spread kindness. This quick and easy chocolate and strawberry nacho recipe is perfect for whenever love strikes.

“Not Your Average Love” Nachos

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of frozen strawberries
  • zest from 1/4 lime
  • 4 Tbsp. of sugar, divided
  • 3-4 handfuls of Churro style nacho chips (cinnamon sugar corn chips) or Cinnamon Sugar Pita chips
  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp. of unsalted butter
  • 1 3.5 oz tablet of dark chocolate

 

Directions:

1. Over medium low heat, heat two cups of frozen strawberries in a small saucepan. Add the zest from 1/4 of the lime and 2 Tbsp. of sugar to the saucepan and cook with the lid off. Once the strawberries have started to release their juices and are completely thawed and soft, take the pan off the heat and let it cool slightly.

2. Once cooled, put the strawberry mixture into a blender and blend until smooth. Be careful when blending because if the mixture is still warm the steam may create pressure and pop the lid off the blender.

3. Pour the strawberry mixture into a cute bowl and then prepare the chocolate drizzle. In a small saucepan, add 1/2 cup of cream and 1 Tbsp. of butter and heat over medium low until the butter has completely melted. Add 2 Tbsp. of sugar to the cream and butter mixture. Once the sugar has dissolved, take the pot off the heat.

4. Break the chocolate into squares and let them dissolve in the hot cream.

5. Spread the cinnamon sugar chips over a platter or plate and drizzle with the chocolate sauce. Put the extra chocolate sauce in another cute bowl to serve on the side.

6. Dip a chocolate drizzled chip into the strawberry salsa and feed it to someone you love.

Grain-Free/Vegan (mini) Chocolate Berry Pies

  

Passover dessert

Hello InterfaithFamily readers! My name is Whitney Fisch and I am beyond honored to be able to create recipes and write for this wonderful website. So here’s a bit about me:

I was born and raised in Marietta, Georgia. I’m the daughter of a Jewish mama and a Christian dad. My mom raised me within the Reform Jewish community. Throughout my childhood, my mom was incredibly active within our temple community, at one point as the founding member of what is now one of the larger Reform temples in metropolitan Atlanta (can you tell I’m proud of my mom!?).

In 2008, after living all over the map and working for various Jewish organizations, I decided to sell all my stuff, drop my dog off at mom’s house and head to Israel for the year to learn at the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies. While there (and immersed in an incredible multi-cultural learning environment), I met the man I would later marry. We got hitched in Asheville, North Carolina, in 2010 (we were the very first kosher wedding to hit the town—we even made the local paper! Huzzah! Take that, Kardashians! Who’s the celebrity now!?).

We now live in Los Angeles, where I work as the Director of Counseling at a private Jewish school and my husband is finishing his Ph.D. in Marine Biology. We have two beloved daughters, one finicky lemon tree and a lot of love . . . and babka. We love babka. We also LOVE to eat. It’s with this love of eating that brings me to food writing on my personal blog, Jewhungry and is what brings me to InterfaithFamily. I look forward to getting to know you, dear reader!

I developed the following recipe a few years ago during the ‘grain-free’ craze of 2013. It wasn’t until I hosted my first seder later that year that I realized this recipe is THE PERFECT recipe for a seder dessert. It doesn’t require any grains and is so incredibly easy to make as it requires no baking. In addition, it celebrates the fruits of the season and what is Passover but a celebration of the harvest! I hope you enjoy!

berry pie shell

berry pie shells

Fill your berry pies

Mini berry pie

 

Mini Vegan Chocolate Chip Berry Pies + Coconut Milk Whipped Cream

Ingredients for Crust:

Adapted from my own recipe for Raw Brownie Bites

  • 2 cups of dates, seeded and chopped
  • 4 Tbsp. almond meal
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. milled flaxseed
  • 3 heaping Tbsp. vegan cocoa powder*
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp. organic maple syrup (depending upon your taste—start with 1 and if you make it again, up to 2 if it wasn’t sweet enough for you)

*Extra cocoa for rolling the bites in afterwards if you want an extra chocolate punch

Coconut Milk Whipped Cream (Recipe straight from my girl, Samantha, at The Little Ferraro Kitchen)

Note: chill your mixer for best results

  • 1 can coconut milk, chilled
  • 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar

 

Mixed Berry Filling:

  • 1/2 cup strawberries, hulled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup blackberries, chopped
  • 1/4 cup raspberries, chopped
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Demerara sugar

 

Directions:

Crust

I used regular-sized muffin tins to shape the crusts, but a ramekin will work just as well.

1.  Cut pieces of parchment paper into squares about 8 in. by 8 in. or large enough that when placed into the muffin tins there is an excess of paper sticking out.

2.  Place all ingredients in a food processor. Process until well combined—to about the count of 30 or until the ingredients have a dough-like consistency. If you feel like it’s a bit dry due to too many walnuts or almond meal, just add a bit of water, about 1 Tbsp. at a time, until you get that doughy consistency.

3.  Once you’ve attained your desired consistency, scoop out enough “dough” to form a ball about the size of a tennis ball. Gently press the dough ball into the parchment paper-lined muffin tin and shape to the entirety of the tin so that a “crust” forms. Your crust should be thick enough to hold the filling but thin enough so that it doesn’t take over the pie flavor. Do this until you run out of dough. Refrigerate uncovered for at least 30 minutes.

Coconut Milk Whipped Cream

1.  If you haven’t already, open the coconut milk can and pour out the water in a separate bowl. (Save it and use for smoothies, soups, etc.) If you’ve been chilling your coconut milk in the refrigerator for several hours in prep for this recipe, the watery part of the coconut milk will be at the bottom of the can so pour slowly and make sure to omit the watery part at the end.

2.  Pour the thicker coconut milk into your chilled mixer and begin to whip starting on low and gradually moving to medium-high setting. As soon as it begins to thicken, add powdered sugar and continue to beat. Check every so often for desired consistency.

Fruit Filling

Place all your chopped fruit into a mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice and sugar and mix until well combined.

Assembly

Once your crusts have refrigerated, scoop fruit filling into each pie; enough so that the is a mound of fruit filling. Top with a dollop or two (or three) of whipped cream. Enjoy!

Read more delicious Passover recipes here!

Chocolate-Coated Halvah with Nuts

  

By Mari Levine

halvahphoto_large

I’m in the throes of what I’ve dubbed the “Summer of Love.” I’ve hit the age where my Facebook feed is dominated by photos of engagements and newborns, and the only snail mail I get is wedding invitations and baby announcements. In the next three months, I’m slated to go to six weddings—and that’s after I found a way to weasel my way out of three. Oy!

But I’m not complaining! Quite the opposite. I’m actually really looking forward to meeting these new baby-friends and attending these open bars—um, I mean, celebrations of love. In fact, one wedding I’m especially excited for is in just a few weeks, when my dear friend Rachel marries Pascal, a guy she met and fell for while the two were in grad school together at Brandeis. But it’s not quite your typical Brandeis love story: Rachel is American Jewish, and Pascal is Haitian Catholic.

Their wedding will celebrate both of their cultures. They’re going to have some of the Jewish prayers also recited in French. We’re going to dance the hora, then get down to some Carimi (Pascal’s favorite Haitian band). And then there’s my favorite culture clash: the food. In addition to chopped liver, knishes and a latke bar (!), they’ll be offering fried plantains, mango chicken and du riz a pois (rice and beans). And for a familial touch, Rachel’s asked some of her food-minded friends—myself included—to bring a small plate of sweets to add to the dessert table.

The timing is perfect to be thinking about weddings: Judaism’s very own holiday of love, Tu B’av, begins at sundown on July 21. Historically, Tu B’av was a matchmaking day on which unmarried women were paired with spouses. But it’s morphed into a more general day of love. Kind of like a less acknowledged, summertime Valentine’s Day—minus the Hallmark domination. And, like the more popular day in February, Tu B’av is considered a lucky date on which to get engaged and married. Rachel and Pascal’s wedding is only a couple weeks later, so I’m thinking some of that luck will carry over (not that they need it).

While thinking about Tu B’av, I was struck with an idea for my dessert recipe’s base: halvah, the dense, nutty confection popular among Jews all over the world. I love its mellow sweetness and chewy tackiness, which feels a bit like astronaut food (in a good way!). Halvah is great eaten straight from supermarket shelves, but I plan to give it a little flair by dipping it in chocolate and topping it with nuts and sesame seeds. I think I’ve found a cross-cultural recipe that everyone can enjoy.

Chocolate-Coated Halvah with Nuts

Makes about 16 pieces

  • 1 pound halvah (flavor of your choice)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup almonds, roughly chopped and toasted (I used shelled and blanched)
  • ¼ cup pistachios, shelled and roughly chopped
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate

 

1. Line a plate with parchment paper. Holding your knife parallel to the cutting board, slice halvah in half height-wise, making two planks. Cut each plank into 8 equal pieces.

2. Heat small, dry pan over medium heat. Add sesame seeds and toast until slightly darkened in color, about 4 minutes. Transfer to small bowl.

3. Heat now-empty pan over medium heat and add almonds. Toast until slightly darkened in color, about 3 minutes. Transfer to small bowl with sesame seeds. Add pistachios and salt to bowl and stir until well-mixed.

4. Using microwave or double-boiler method, melt half of chocolate. Working piece by piece, dip half of halvah pieces in chocolate until fully coated, allow excess to drain off, and transfer to parchment-lined dish.

5. While chocolate is still warm, generously sprinkle nut mixture over tops of chocolate-coated halvah. Repeat chocolate dipping and sprinkling steps with remaining halvah pieces.

6. Transfer plate to refrigerator until chocolate has firmed up. Chocolate-coated halvah can be kept in the refrigerator for one week.

chosenfinal290pxcolor_largeReprinted with permission from JewishBoston.com. Chosen Eats appears every Thursday on JewishBoston.com.

Barking Up the Valentine’s Day Tree

  

By Mari Levine

chocbark1_large

I’ve run the gamut of Valentine’s Day experiences. And while I’m rather indifferent to the general idea of the holiday, no celebration I’ve had as an adult has ever matched the ones from when I was a kid. I remember the excitement of picking out the perfect cards (in my case, always Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles-themed), choosing which type of candy to attach to them, and then matching the message on the card to each of my classmates’ personalities.

This year, I was thinking about the adult equivalent of those childhood valentines. Now, instead of a classroom, most of us spend our days in an office. Instead of classmates, we have coworkers. And while I’m all for injecting a bit of youthful fun into the workplace, I draw the line at giving my colleagues cartoon cards that call them “dudette” and asking them to be my “mondo Valentine.” (That’s Ninja Turtle speak for “I like you.”) I wanted to bring back the Valentine’s Day tradition of bringing in treats for everyone, but this year I didn’t have time to make any quintessential adult sweets, such as homemade truffles or caramels.

Enter chocolate bark. This sweet can get pigeonholed as a December treat, but it’s easy to make (only four ingredients!), attractive to wrap and appealing to eat all year round. My coworkers will be noshing on this version, with pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and coconut, but the toppings are easy to change based on your recipients’ tastes.

Chocolate Bark with Pepitas and Coconut

Makes eight 1-ounce portions

  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • Maldon sea salt

 

1. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

2. Stirring frequently, toast coconut in small skillet over medium heat. Once coconut turns the color of straw, transfer to small bowl to cool.

3. Add chocolate to medium, heatproof bowl and set over pot of simmering water. (Do not let water touch bottom of bowl.) Stirring frequently, heat chocolate until fully melted. Quickly pour onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet and tilt pan until distributed evenly, but not covering entire pan. (Otherwise your bark will be too thin.)

4. Sprinkle coconut, pepitas and salt, to taste, evenly over chocolate. Transfer to refrigerator until firm, about 1 hour. Remove from refrigerator and break into 1-ounce portions.

chosenfinal290pxcolor_largeReprinted with permission from JewishBoston.com. Chosen Eats appears every Thursday on JewishBoston.com.