Serve these brownies for dessert with chocolate sauce and a scoop of maple ice cream, and later as a snack with sifted icing sugar. They are the moist type, not cakey ones, and best slightly under baked.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Ready time: 2 hours including cooling time
1/2 cup unsalted butter, diced
1 1/8 cup chopped dark (70 per cent) chocolate (130 grams)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup toasted pistachios (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line an eight-inch square baking pan with parchment, leaving enough to hang over the edges. Butter the parchment.
Combine 1/2 cup of butter with dark chocolate in a medium pot over medium heat. Melt, stirring until mixture is smooth. Stir in brown sugar and remove from heat. Set aside and let cool slightly.
Stir flour with eggs, vanilla and salt in a large bowl. Pour in melted chocolate and stir until combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Scrape into prepared pan and smooth the top.
Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out with a few wet crumbs and the top is slightly soft.
Remove from oven and cool in pan for 10 minutes.
Lift brownies from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack. Cut in squares.
Georgian cheese is hard to find, so I combined two cheeses to give an approximate flavour of the real thing. This dish quickly became a test-kitchen favourite.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Ready in: 1 hour
Serves: 2 7-inch breads
3/4 cup yogurt
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (4 ounces) fresh mozzarella
3/4 cup (3 ounces) feta, crumbled
1 egg, lightly beaten
Stir yogurt with egg, butter and salt. Combine flour and baking soda.
Gradually add flour mixture to yogurt mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until all flour has been added.
Scrape dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 6 to 8 minutes, or until smooth and elastic, dusting with more flour as needed. Place dough in a clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
Tear fresh mozzarella into small pieces and combine with feta. Mix in 2 tablespoons beaten egg. Reserve.
Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Divide dough in half. Roll and stretch one portion into a 10-inch circle. Scoop half the cheese filling into the centre of the dough. Flatten cheese into a 5-inch circle. Pull edges of dough over the filling, pleating in 2-inch sections and pinching to seal. Dough should not overlap in the centre – it should just come together. Lift onto baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
Brush the tops of the pies with remaining beaten egg. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Remove to a rack to cool.
Sue Devor – Gail’s honorary aunt – is an extraordinary baker. During Gail’s childhood, Sue would make her favourite decadent chocolate meringue cookies every Passover. Today, no Passover is complete in Gail’s home without them. These addictive cookies are a little crispy on the outside with a gooey, chewy chocolate centre.
Prep time: 20 minutes
Ready in: 35 minutes
Makes: 3 dozen
4 egg whites
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups (12 oz) chocolate chips, melted, plus extra 1/4 cup to stir in
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
Preheat oven to 325 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Beat egg whites, salt, lemon juice and vanilla extract with an electric mixer until foamy. Slowly add sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold in melted chocolate by hand, being careful to keep the whites as fluffy as possible, then fold in extra chocolate chips (and nuts if desired).
Scoop the batter into a pastry bag or large resealable plastic bag. Snip off a bottom corner of the plastic bag, making sure the hole is big enough to allow the chips through. Immediately pipe batter onto prepared baking sheets to form cookies about 2 inches in diameter.
Bake 10 minutes. Allow to cool 5 to 8 minutes before removing from baking sheets.
SUGGESTED WINE PAIRINGS
One is hard-pressed to find much in the way of good kosher dessert wines in Canada, which is a shame. This recipes deserve something more regal than the old Passover standby, Manischewitz, unless you harbour a nostalgic affection for the grapey elixir in the square bottle. Let me offer a few hard-to-find selections, some only moderately sweet, that could work. From Italy: Bartenura Malvasia; Bartenura Asti; Borgo Reale Malvasia Frizzante; Les Floreales Moscato; Sara Bee Moscato; and Sentieri Ebraici. From Austria: Hafner Gewurztraminer Icewine and Hafner Neusiedler. -Beppi Crosariol
Bannock, the aboriginal flatbread, goes breat with samon burgers and venison chili. Adjust the heat when cooking the bannock so they cook evenly all the way through (you may have to lower it slightly). You can adjust the size as needed.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Ready in: 30 minutes
Makes: 8 to 12 bannocks
For a smokier and stronger flavour, try replacing the cheddar used here with a Spanish smoked cheese. You can typically find it at specialty stores. If you have that neat gadget The Smoking Gun, you can smoke any cheese that you like. The biscuits keep well for a week.
Prep time: 40 minutes with chilling time
Ready in: 1 hour
Yields: 14 biscuits
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon dry mustard
Salt and freshly ground pepper
¼ cup diced butter
1 tablespoon chopped anchovies
1¼ cup grated smoked cheddar
1 tablespoon milk
Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C).
Combine flour, mustard, cayenne, salt and pepper in a food processor or by hand.
Add butter and anchovies and pulse until butter is the size of small peas. Add cheese and pulse. Add milk and pulse just until mixture begins to come together.
Roll dough into a log about 5 inches long and 1½ inches in diameter. Wrap in plastic and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or until firm.
Cut log into ¼-inch-thick slices. Place slices 2 inches apart on a baking sheet and bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until golden. Place on a rack to cool.
Serve three rounds per salad.
If you have a different pan size, adjust the crackers accordingly. Crowd the crackers on the baking sheet so they do not spread. For a superstar effect buy salted caramel ice cream to serve on top.
Servings: Makes about 35 to 45 pieces
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Ready In: 1 hour, including cooling time
About 35 salted crackers (or as many as can fit on baking sheet in 1 layer)
1¼ cups unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
¾ cup Skor pieces
½ cup shaved chocolate or chocolate chips
1 cup sliced almonds, optional
1 teaspoon kosher salt, optional
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Line an 11-by-15-inch metal baking sheet or pan with parchment paper. Lay crackers over parchment.
Combine butter, brown sugar and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat then boil for 1 minute.
Pour over crackers and sprinkle with Skor pieces and chocolate. Sprinkle nuts and kosher salt on top if using. Bake for 8 minutes or until everything is melted and gooey.
Cool slightly. Break or cut into squares using the size of the crackers as a guide. Cool on a wire rack.
Try a chilled muscat-based dessert wine or liqueur for the caramel bars. - Beppi Crosariol
These reheat well in a 350 F oven and are sensational toasted with butter the next day.
Servings: Makes 12 biscuits
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Ready In: 30 minutes
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup quick cooking oatmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon dry mustard
¾ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
Freshly ground pepper
¾ cup cold butter cut in cubes
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon buttermilk
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Combine flour, oatmeal, baking powder, soda, sugar and salt, cayenne, dry mustard, cheese and pepper in a large bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter or with your fingers and add buttermilk until mixture resembles a slightly sticky dough.
Scrape dough onto a well-floured surface. Sprinkle with flour and knead a few times to make the dough uniform. Pat or roll into a rectangle, about 10 x 6 inches and 1-inch thick.
Cut into rounds using a floured 2 ½-inch cutter. Gather leftover dough and reform into 1-inch thick rectangle to cut more rounds.
Place scones on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Brush with buttermilk. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
This is the perfect end to the meal with a cup of coffee. These are baked slowly to make sure that the shortbread does not become too brown and lose its perfect texture.
Servings: Makes 16 pieces.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Ready In: 3 hours, including cooling time
2½ cups Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
⅓ cup water
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
¼ cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cardamom
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup icing sugar, sifted
Place dates, water, lemon rind and juice, vanilla, ginger and cardamom in a pot. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer and cook 5 minutes or until dates are soft and a little sticky. Cool.
Butter an 8 x 8 metal square pan and line with parchment paper.
Preheat the oven to 300 F.
Combine flour, cornstarch and salt in a bowl. Reserve. Cream butter and sugar until soft and smooth in a separate bowl with an electric mixer. Gradually beat in flour-cornstarch mixture. Pat 2/3 of mixture into the prepared pan and spread date mixture over. Crumble the remaining dough over the dates.
Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until shortbread is cooked through and the top is pale gold. Cool and cut into squares.
For these date shortbread squares, consider a sweet, nutty oloroso sherry. Beppi Crosariol
The secret is to handle the dough gently, leave it for 18 hours, then form the pizzas, gently. With this dough I was able to form the circles on my fists, something that has always eluded me.
This dough is soft, so we used lots of flour underneath to help it slide into the oven on the paddle. If you do not have a paddle, a metal cookie sheet without sides works well. If you have neither a stone nor a paddle I found that baking the pizza at a high temperature worked better than broiling.
Toppings are only limited by your imagination.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Ready In: 18 hours, including resting time
500 grams or about 3 ¾ cups all purpose flour plus more for shaping the dough
1 gram (¼ teaspoon) active dry yeast
16 grams (2 teaspoons) fine sea salt (I used kosher salt)
350 grams (1 ½ cups) water
Blend the flour, yeast and salt thoroughly. Add water and combine with a wooden spoon or your hands.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let it rise at room temperature for 18 hours or until it has more than doubled.
Generously flour dough, your hands and work surface, and scrape out the mixture. Divide into 4 equal parts. Take each part, and pull the right side toward the centre, then the left and finally the top and bottom. Place seam side down and shape each portion into a neat circular round.
Press dough and gently stretch until 6 to 8 inches to shape crust. Support the disc with your knuckles, lifting it above the work surface. Rotate the dough on your knuckles, which will pull the dough wider. Alternatively continue to use your fingers and palms to smooth it out into a larger circle. You want 10 to 12 inches. Extra dough can be rewrapped tightly and refrigerated for up to three days. Let it come to room temperature unwrapped.
Flour your paddle or your baking sheet and lift disc on to centre. The dough is ready to be topped.