Category Archives: Breakfast

Noodle Kugel

This is a very Jewish time of year. I should know. We’ve just had the two biggest Jewish holidays of the year, so I’m sure many people have reached their limit for Judaism, but not me! Specifically, I’m not yet (and never shall be) at capacity for Jewish food, so I was thrilled when my friends suggested the theme for our weekly brunch be “Jewish Food”.  Have I told you about brunch? It started as an experiment to make Liege waffles and evolved into a weekly Sunday morning tradition.  We do it potluck style and rotate bringing different courses of the meal. Booze is a course, right?

So here we have kugel. I like to describe it as sort of a bread pudding – if you lost the bread and used noodles instead. There’s an eggy, custardy base with cinnamon and sugar (and apples and raisins) that’s baked until golden and crunchy on top.Why are crunchy noodles good, by the way? We strive for “al dente” only to throw them into the oven the dry out. This is true for kugel and baked ziti and surely many other things that I can’t think of right now. The point is, crunchy, baked noodles are good, cinnamon and sugar are good, brunch is good. There’s no way to go wrong with this. Also good, is the Hebrew Hammer.

Apple and Raisin Noodle Kugel

Ingredients

  • ½ lb wide egg noodles
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 8 oz cottage cheese
  • 8 oz sour cream
  • 4 tbsp melted butter, cooled
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 apple, peeled and chopped into small cubes (any apple will work, I used Gala)
  • ½ cup raisins

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and parboil noodles until al dente, 4-5 minutes; drain and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar until smooth. Whisk in cottage cheese, sour cream, and butter until combined.

Add cinnamon, salt,  apple and raisins to mixture and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. Stir in noodles. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and smooth top. Bake until top is golden and kugel is set, about 35 minutes.

Note: you can assemble the kugel the night before then bake it in the morning. This feature makes this dish fabulous for brunch!

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Buttermilk Berry Cake

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before how I love to bake for people because of the satisfaction I get from watching them enjoy. I usually follow that up by telling people not to be alarmed that I’m watching them take their first bite of cake. I just like to see how people react! Is that a crime? Granted, this does make me feel like the old woman in The Wedding Singer who paid Adam Sandler for singing lessons with a meatball in each hand. Is that acceptable by the way? Can I pay for goods and services with baked goods? I’ll have to do more research.

So why then has it been so long since I’ve updated? Well it’s not for lack of baking! I have been, probably more than ever. I started an internship in January and it turns out that the people in my office loves sweets! Shocker! I was baking something nearly every week, and the good people I work with have been kind enough to eat all the goodies I’ve made over the past few months. But then one day, a few weeks ago, we received some terrible news: an office-wide weight loss challenge would take place through the end of the summer. WHY, GOD, WHY?! Once I recovered from the shock, I took a hard look at the situation. Am I participating in the challenge? No. Is most of the office? Yes. Am I a cruel, cruel person who wants to torture the good, dieting people with the demon cookies that I bake out of the goodness of my heart? Well, I haven’t quite answered that one yet.

You know, I resisted for a while. The few people that aren’t trying to lose weight in the office give me dirty looks in the hallway. I’ve only brought in cocoa Rice Krispies treats since this whole thing started and instead of writing a note to let people know what it is (as I usually do), I put an apology note. Well, no more! I will not apologize for baking! You’ll eat this cake and you’ll like it! No, really, you’ll love it. This cake is so moist and you can use any berries you like in it. Maybe the people in my office will like it so much they’ll forget to be mad..A triumphant return to baking and blogging!

Buttermilk Berry Cake
Adapted from a few different recipes

Ingredients
For the Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1 teaspoon
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup fresh or frozen berries (I used a mix of blueberries and diced strawberries here, but you could use anything. Raspberries are particularly good)

For the Topping:
¾ cup berries
¼ cup raw sugar
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions
For the Cake:
1. Adjust the oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 13×9-inch baking pan.

2. Whisk 2 cups of flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside. With an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars together on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated. Reduce speed to medium and beat in one-third of the flour mixture until incorporated; beat in half of the milk. Beat in half of the remaining flour mixture, then remaining milk, and finally remaining flour mixture. Toss the berries with remaining 1 teaspoon flour. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in berries. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.

For the Topping:
4.  Scatter the berries over top of the batter. Stir the sugar and cinnamon together in a small bowl and sprinkle evenly over the batter. Bake until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean (this cake was done for me in 35 minutes but some recipes call for 45 to 50 minutes). Cool in pan 20 minutes, then turn out and cool completely. Cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Pumpkin Bread

What is there to say about pumpkin bread? Everybody loves it, right? I do. Everyone I talk to does. Let’s just get to the point. Pumpkin bread is the perfect thing to make at this time of year because it’s warm and spicy and delicious. It’s also really quick and easy to put together. I’ve made a loaf for two weeks in a row and probably going on a third. You’ll be making this weekly too. Assuming you can wait that long.

On a side note, I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted here, and I know I said that last time too. I’ll tell you now that it might be a while until the next update too, but once the holidays hit – I’M BACK BABY! I’m graduating in December and then I’m free! Well, actually, I have an internship for the spring then I’ll hopefully be starting grad school next year. But in the months between when I finish school and start school again, I’ll be baking like it’s my job (if only). So hold tight for a few months (scary!). I’ll see you again soon!

Pumpkin Bread
Adapted from Epicurious

 Ingredients

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1½ large eggs (beat the 2nd with a fork then pour half in)
  • ½ 16 oz. can solid pack pumpkin
  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
  • Turbinado sugar (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9x5x3-inch loaf pans or 8×8-inch pan. Beat granulated and brown sugars and oil in large bowl to blend. Mix in eggs and pumpkin. Sift flour, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, baking soda, salt and baking powder into another large bowl. Stir into pumpkin mixture in 2 additions. Mix in walnuts, if using. Pour into pan and sprinkle the top with turbinado sugar, if using. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes for loaf pan, or about 45 minutes for an 8×8 pan. Transfer to rack and cool completely.

Note: This recipe is halved from the original, which is why there are funky measurements for the eggs and pumpkin. Feel free to double.

Blueberry Scones

I love Valentine’s Day. I know some people hate it because they think it’s a holiday invented to sell cards and candy. So what if it is! I like cards. I like candy. Why shouldn’t there be a day designated to giving and receiving them? I also love baking Valentine’s treat for friends, especially the the ones who are particularly grumpy and cynical.

I’m going to let you all in on a little secret: if you make something in the shape of a heart, it is automatically appropriate for Valentine’s Day. It doesn’t need to be red and pink (even if it does look more festive that way). It doesn’t need to be chocolate (although, who ever said “no” to chocolate). All you need is a heart-shaped cookie cutter or heart-shaped mold and you are good to go.

Blueberry Scones
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

I use frozen blueberries in these because they’re always available but if the berries are too big they may not work well if you cut the scones too small. The original recipe called for dried currants so I think dried blueberries could be a nice swap too.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Directions

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425°F.

Place flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in large bowl or work bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Whisk together or pulse six times. (If making by hand, use two knives, a pastry blender or your fingertips and quickly cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few slightly larger butter lumps.)

If using food processor, remove cover and distribute butter evenly over dry ingredients. Cover and pulse 12 times, each pulse lasting 1 second. Transfer dough to large bowl.

Add berries then stir in heavy cream with a rubber spatula or fork until dough begins to form. Knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds. Add a little extra cream if it is too dry. Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and pat the dough into a 3/4-inch thick circle. Cut pieces with a biscuit cutter, and then gather remaining scraps and continue cutting until dough has been used up. Brush the tops of the scones with additional cream and sprinkle with raw sugar. (You could also cut the disk into eight wedges. If you do this you can brush with cream and sprinkle with sugar before cutting which makes the process, and cookie sheet, a little cleaner).

Place rounds or wedges on parchment lined baking sheet and bake until scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 8 wedges or as many shapes as you can cut out