I have started making cookies I think pretty much sixteen years ago when I first moved to the states. I started with the pre-made ones, until I found a recipe behind the bag of Nestle chocolate chips. Always seen how fast they would be gone, I started making the dough and freezing it. Making sure there would always be a freshly baked cookie in the house. As i got more involved in the cooking I slowly switch into measuring rather than scooping and that also helped me improved the quality of the cookies.
The prep time takes no more than 15 minutes, including mixing time. They would go in the oven for 7-9 minutes, and boilaaaa, you have goey fresh baked cookies to enjoy!
There are two types of people when it comes to brownies, the ones who like fudge with a crust, and the ones who like them gooey. I am all for the crust and fudge on the inside.
Making the brownie out of the box of course it is so so easy, but you know what’s even easier. Make a large baking pan of brownies, cut them, and freeze them. The brownies will remain fresh and tasteful if stored in an air-tight container for up to 4 months.
I make mine on a large baking pan, I have an adjustable frame (buy it from Amazon here) which I create a base with foil paper, brush it with butter, and tadaaa, you get 48 brownies out of it.
I like to have them in my freezer, which is a life savior for any last-minute dinner plans, I always have something fresh and homemade to bring. If you pull them out of the freezer as soon as you know about the dinner, and keep them at room temperature, by the time you get to the dinner they will be perfect. On the way there stop at the grocery store and buy vanilla ice cream for a perfect combo 🙂
Makes: 48 2″x2″ Brownies Prep Time: 10 Mins Cook Time: 30 Mins
563 g Dark Chocolate (preferebly 60% or higher)
375 g Butter
925 g Sugar
150 g All-purposed flour
10 g Salt
100 g walnuts, optional, I do not use them
Pre-heat the oven to 350F, butter your prepare baking pan.
On a medium bowl, heat resistant, combine the butter and chocolate. Place it in the microwave and using 30 seconds intervals melt them. Make sure to stir it in between the intervals. The first time you could time it for a minute and a half, and then continue in 30 seconds intervals.
On the bowl of the standmixer, or a large bowl, combine the sugar and eggs. Mix it on medium speed, the mixture is going to get foamy and a pale yellow color.
On a small bowl prepare the flour and salt.
Pour the chocolate mixture into the eggs mixture and continue mixing until all included. Add the flour, start on slow speed, make sure to stop and scrape the sides and bottom of bowl. Mix for 30 seconds, and pour into desire pan.
Cook for 30 minutes.
Let it cool down at room temperature on a cooling rack, wrap with plastic paper and storage in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. Remove from refrigerator and cut. You could serve them right away, or storage them in the freezer. If you would like to serve them in a few hours, let them sit at room temperature.
**TIP: Make-Ahead – The brownie could be stored in the freezer for up to four months. Separate each layer with parchment paper.
When it comes to baking, there are three types of meringue and each of them with a different purpose.
The Italian Meringue is the shiniest of all. I would use this meringue to decorate rustic cakes, where you transfer the meringue with a spoon or spatula and create the peaks with it.
The Swiss Merengue has a bit more of consistency. It is great to pipe into cakes to create decorations. It holds its shape very easily and all of the different peaks work great,
The French Meringue its the only merengue that egg whites are not cooked before creating the meringue. By this, I mean that it is a merengue that it is used for baking: like a pavlova or macarons.
110 g Egg whites (3 eggs)
220 g Sugar
80 ml Water
150 g Egg whites (5 eggs)
250 g Sugar
100 g Egg whites (3 eggs
100 g Powdered sugar
100 g Sugar
Italian Merengue: In a small pot combine the water and the sugar. Boil to 120C/ 240F. In the meantime place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. When the water starts to create bubbles, begin to whip the egg whites on slow speed. Once the sugar syrup reaches 115C/ 240F increase the speed of the mixer to medium high. When the sugar syrup reaches 120C/ 250F pour it over the egg whites and incresa the speed to high. Continue mixing until the merengue becomes shiny and there are stif peaks.
Swiss Merengue: Create a double boiler. On a medium bowl place the sugar and egg whites. Whisk until well included. On a small pot place an inch of water and bring to boil. Whisk continuously so the egg whites do not cook. You should mix until the mixture reaches 70C. You could also identify the timing when you touch the mixture and do not feel the sugar. Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Whip in medium high until you have sift peaks and its shiny.
French Merengue: Place the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whip. Begin to whisk on medium speed. When the egg whites begin to get foamy pour the sugar on a continuous line. When all done, add the powdered sugar using the folding method. Cook with the oven to 100C/ 210F until merengue is dry. Store on an air tight container.
Sourdough is slow-fermented bread. What’s unique is that it does not require commercial yeast in order to rise. It’s made with a live fermented culture, a starter, which acts as a natural leavening agent. Sourdough is known for its delightful, complex flavor. It is not necessarily “sour” dough. The flavor can be either mild or tangy, depending on how the starter is fed and how the dough is made. You won’t find any hydrogenated oils, corn syrup, or preservatives in homemade sourdough—it’s 100% natural.
As an added health benefit, the slow fermentation process breaks down the hard-to-digest proteins and enzymes found in wheat, which is why some people who are gluten-sensitive have reported being able to digest sourdough without any issues. The basic ingredients that you will need in order to make sourdough is flour and water. If we would like to get specific, the different types of flour will give different flavors to your sourdough.
For the best results, simply choose a good-quality flour that’s unbleached and does not contain any chemical additives, all-purpose flour works great.
However, bread flour is most commonly used by bread bakers, for its high gluten and protein content. It creates a strong dough, giving better structure and overall height to your bread. It also promotes a chewier texture.
Comparatively speaking, all-purpose flour contains less gluten and absorbs less water. You’ll find that it creates a more light and fluffy texture in the finished loaf.
Can bread flour and all-purpose flour be used interchangeably? In some cases; both flours can be used to feed your sourdough starter. For baking, results will vary depending on the type of bread you’re looking to create.
Want soft and fluffy focaccia? Try all-purpose flour. Want bread with a lofty rise? Try bread flour. And there is always the possibility to blend flours and use that.
On the other hand, whole-grain flours contain more minerals than white flours, which speed up fermentation in both your sourdough starter and the rise of your dough. These flours typically require more water when mixing.
RYE: has a deep flavor. Sourdough bread made with rye is more compact and denser; its gluten is less elastic than wheat so it holds less gas during the leavening process.
SPELT: is more easily digestible than wheat because of lower levels of gluten and higher levels of soluble fibers.
WHEAT: whole wheat grains contain both the bran and the germ and are a high source of fiber, polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals. The long fermentation of sourdough increases the bioavailability of these beneficial components, making a more nutritious loaf compared to yeasted bread.
Sourdough starters can be made a few different ways, with methods that include fruit juices, grapes, honey, and even potatoes to boost natural fermentation.
When creating a sourdough starter, whole-grain flour will thrust the fermentation process. Whole wheat, rye, and spelt flour are great choices (rye and spelt could be a bit more expensive, whole wheat will work just great). The process of having a starter ready and active to bake, depending on the room temperature of your kitchen and the microbial activity of the flour you are using it can take from one to two weeks.
Depending on which flour you use to create your starter you will get a different flavors and effects on your sourdough.
Rye Starter: Tangy, sour & fruity with good digestibility.
White Starter: Milky & sweet with a light tang.
Wholegrain Starter: A sweet & sour loaf that is easier to digest.
One of the most important ingredients for making good bread is time. If it ferments too long, an excess of acidic and alcohol will develop, masking the sweet flavor of wheat. In addition, the dough’s physical abilities to hold gases produced by fermentation will break down and slowly collapse. Hence it is a combination of finding the perfect rising time, proofing time, dough temperature, room temperature, and amount of leavening in the dough.
Patience is a virtue when making good bread, it is common in the US to see time as the opportunity where the bread rises, but in reality time is an opportunity for flavors to develop. Warmer dough rises more quickly, cold dough rises slowly.
The temperature of the water is a key player in the sourdough process and an important one to control. You can use warmer water to get to the desired dough temperature or you can use colder water to slow down the process.
Poolish: Crisp thin crust: Baguette
Biga: Earthy musky flavor: Ciabatta
Each allows for the development of alcohol and bacteria fermentation, which add flavors, acidity, and leavening to the dough.
Used 30-80 percent of the total flour in the recipe with water and a small amount of yeast. Let it ferment, and then add the rest of the ingredients. This process adds lots of flavor to the bread, richer color and flavors to the crust.
Biga: A type of pre-fermented dough. Usually more of a stiff dough mix of 60-70% of water, flour and very little yeast. Bubbly at the top with strong smell of yeast and alcohol. An overdevelop biga will collapse. Bulk fermentation: the first rise of the dough after all ingredients have been mixed together.
Levain: French term for sourdough, referring to a naturally leavened dough made only of water and flour.
Poolish: Often contains 30-50% of recipe total flour, and equal amounts of flour and water with minimum yeast. Bubbly at the top, and if look for few minutes, most probably will see bubbles popping, strong smell of yeast and alcohol. Overdeveloped will collapse.
Pre-Fermented: Is a portion of the dough that has been previously mixed (6- 12 hours before), but a minimum of 4 hours.
DAY 1: Add 50 grams of whole wheat flour and 50 grams of water to a medium jar. Mix with a fork to combine.
DAY 2: Check to see whether any bubbles, which may look like small black dots, have appeared on the surface. Bubbles indicate fermentation. If you do not see any bubbles no need to worry or discard your starter.
DAY 3: it’s time to start the feeding the starter. First you will need to remove and discard approximately half of your starter from the jar. Then repeat process from day 1.
DAYS 4, 5, & 6: repeat the feeding process from day 3. As the yeast begins to develop, your starter will rise, and bubbles will form on the surface and throughout the culture. It will help you to place a rubber band on the jar where the starter is right after you finish mixing. This will help you see how much it has rise. I prefer to repeat this process for a full two weeks. This is the same process you will have to repeat every time you will want to feed your starter. Going out of town? No need to worries, you can feed the starter the same day you are leaving and storage it in the refrigerator. Upon returning I suggest to remove from refrigerator and feed again for 3 consecutive days (if been away for more than a week) before you start baking again.
Leaven, in French, levain, is referred to as the chief, chef, head, mother or sponge. Leaven is the second step of your sourdough; it’s flour and water mixed with a small amount of your starter and fermented for over 6 hours. It is almost the same as of feeding your starter.
Autolyse is a simple step that can be easily introduced into your bread making schedule; is the first step in the final dough mixing. It refers to the period of rest after the initial mixing of flour and water, which allows the flour to absorb water without the presence of salt (salt slows down the process). It gives the gluten the chance to form, which leads both to better gluten development and better flavor. Breads made with autolyzed dough are easier to shape and have more volume and improved structure. Just combine the flour and water in a bowl and mix until no dry flour remains. Cover the bowl and leave it in room temperature for anything from 20 minutes to up to 3 hours. During this time, gluten development begins and simple sugars start to form as starch is broken down. Although it may look like nothing is happening, you will notice the difference as soon as you handle the dough because during the autolyse it will have become smoother and more elastic.
When writing a formula, the easiest method is to do so using what is known as baker’s percentage. In using baker’s percentage, each ingredient in a formula is expressed as a percentage of the flour weight, and the flour weight is always expressed as 100%. This are good reason on while it is important to use baker’s percentage
Since each ingredient is weighed, it enables us to work with precision using only one unit of measure.
It is quite easy to scale a formula up or down when we are working with baker’s percent.
It allows bakers to share a common language.
For example, let’s take a typical formula for sourdough bread.
Instant yeast: 0.6%
So, let’s say we’ve got 500 grams of flour. Here’s how I’d figure out the weight of the other ingredients.
Water: 500 * 0.66 = 330 grams
Salt: 500 * .02 = 10 grams
Instant yeast: 500 *.006 = 3 grams
We can also first decide how much dough we want, and work backwards. Let’s say we want to make 1 kilo of dough. First, we need to figure out how much flour we need. To do this, we divide the total of all the ingredient percentages added up (170% = 1.7) into the total weight of the dough: 1000 grams / 1.7 = 588 grams of flour (rounded to nearest gram). Now that we know the flour weight, we figure out the weight of each of the ingredients by multiplying their percentage by the flour weight, just as we did above.
3:00 PM: Add the levain, salt, and if using yeast.
3:30 PM: 1st Fold.
4:10 PM: 2nd Fold.
4:45 PM: 3rd Fold.
8:00 PM: Final shape, place on breadbasket, refrigerate and cover for 10-14 hours. (if will add seeds on top this is the moment, before placing on basket) 8:00 AM: Bake. Preheat oven to 475F with Dutch oven inside and lid on it. Cook cover for 30 minutes, and 15 minutes uncovered.
Hi! Not sure where to start, but there is always a turning point and I am committed to make that start. I believe that starting from the very beginning is the best, to start with the basics and with every practice, every step along the way will be a bit easier and everything else will make sense.
I thought it would be good to start with a basic recipe for sablee dough. What is sablée? The Sablée dough is a basic recipe for any type of pie, tarts, cookies, alfajores and much more, it is endlessly adaptable. Sablée (in French) means sandy which it is a perfect definition for this dough, it has no elasticity and is very friable.
280 gr All Purpose
200 gr Butter cut into one inch cubes
100 gr Powdered Sugar
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Combined the dry ingredients with the butter. You can integrate them by hand or using a mixer using low speed at the beginning and later on medium speed. When the butter is well integrated, it will take 10 minutes approximately, add the egg. Let it mix until you find a smooth and homogenous dough.
Chill the dough on the refrigerator for at least an hour before using. When ready to use, cut as much dough as you need and save the rest in the refrigerator. Break the big dough into small pieces, we are doing this to make sure all dough has the same temperature. Once done, please bring all the dough together and now you can flour the surface. It is important not to over flour the surface because the dough will start to absorb the flour. For cookies I like them of 4mm, alfajores 3.5mm, and pie crust 3mm.
**TIP: It can be store in the refrigerator for a month, and in the freezer for up to 3 months. Please label the bag with item and date. We tent to use the freezer as those big storage, where we keep putting things and never remembering what we have. I find my self guilty of these and since started to label everything I am better at keeping track and using things from the freezer.
Replace 10% of the flour for cacao. Please sift the cacao before using, and add 2 teaspoons of water into the dough. The cacao tends to dry the dough, please add them if needed: the dough does not integrate, add one teaspoon at the time.
Brownies are a classic and a staple for every occasion. You can serve it as a cake with multiple and as many toppings as you would like, or you can just cut them in squares and serve them just like that.
The issue with brownies is achieving that chewy inside and hardcore. That is achieved by a low amount of flour and a high amount of sugar. The absence of big quantities of flour will make the butter, chocolate, and eggs combine together, and the high quantities of sugar will make the sugar crystalize and form the core.
There are no secrets to making brownies, although if you ask me: I believe there are a few of them.
1. High-quality chocolate will always make your product the best. I used Callebaut chocolate 64% or higher cacao.
2. Whipping the eggs and sugar until they get almost white, and double in size will give the brownie more air.
3. I always make them one day ahead, and then refrigerate it overnight. Take them out of the fridge and cut them right away, and let them sit at room temperature for at least an hour before serving.
4. Make them with lots of love for extra flavor and you’ll see how they are a hit at your party.
143 g butter
211 g Chocolate semi sweet
56 g AP Flour
3 u eggs
348 g sugar
3 g salt
60 g walnuts/chocochips (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Cover with foil paper, butter and flour a 10 inch pan.
Melt the chocolate and butter on a double boiler. Mixing here and there. Remove and let it cool down.
In a mixing bowl whisk the eggs and sugar until double in size and almost white. Remember that because the egg yolks are there, it wont be 100% white, it would be more like a pale yellow. Add the melted chocolate, then the flour and salt. As soon as everything is incorporated add the walnuts, if desired.
Bake for 25 minutes. If you are using a toothpick to check if cooked, it wont come all clean, youll see a few crumbles (probably wet) that means is done. Let cooled down on a rack until reaches room temperature, cover with film paper and refrigerate.
This recipe is a go-to recipe for every occasion: eating alone, family meal, celebration. You can make it on the spot, or marinated it for 24 hours. It’s great with rice, quinoa, salad, or roasted vegetables. There are five ingredients that I always always have at home.
Check it out!
1/4 cup of balsamic vinaigrette
2 tablespoons of dijon mustard
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Whisk everything together
Pour over chicken and let it marinate. If you are going to refrigerate it, cover with film paper. If going to the oven, cover the baking tray with foil paper.
This is a light, yummy, and easy dinner for the entire family, just the two of you, for yourself, or for a dinner party! This recipe makes enough for a dinner of 2 and left over for one lunch.
Prep Time: 5 Minutes Cook time: 15 Minutes
1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed off
1 1/2 lb Salmon filet
10 basil leaves
2 large lemon, sliced into rounds or wedges
3 garlic cloves, chopped
4 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp fresh cracked pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Trimmed asparagus ends and set them around the baking pan. Minced the garlic and place it on a medium size bowl. Cut the basil leaves into small pieces and set aside.
Cut one lemon in half and squeeze the juice. Take 4 tablespoons of the juice and pour them over the garlic; add the oil. Mix the salt and pepper on a small bowl.
Add salmon to baking sheet, spreading out so nothing is too crowded. Drizzle the oil mixture over the salmon and asparagus. Sprinkle with salt and pepper first then sprinkle the basil leaves. Layer lemon over salmon. Cook for 15-20 minutes.
Every Friday night Jewish people around the world celebrate Shabbat: the day of rest. Growing up in a reform family, our Jewish celebrations were around the main and big holidays such as Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) , Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement), and Pesach (Passover). Celebrating or observing Shabbat was never a question neither a custom.
I attended a Jewish Day school since I was two years old and the way until I moved here (for junior year). At school we did celebrated Shabbat every week. Not sure if it is the pictures I have seen (from my mom’s bast collection of picture album from our childhood) or that I clearly remember, but at school we use to bake Challah every Friday! Week after week, we were there, pouring ingredients in a bowl, getting our hands dirty and figuring out all about the braiding.
Later on, as I was working in a Jewish Day school in Miami, and later as a youth director I always thought cooking should be an essential part of our curriculum and was hoping to bring those memories for my students. Last week, as I was teaching the Rosh Hashanah cooking class, one of the participants said: ” Wow, Romi, that’s a really good braiding, how many times have you done this?” and honestly it is way more than I could remember.
All Challah recipes vary in a few things:
yolks or eggs
honey or sugar
amount of water vs. amount of oil
type of flour: all purpose, bread flour, a mix of both
For many years I jumped from one recipe to the other, taking what I liked from the previous and applying it to the new one. I finally have a good sweet recipe that I like. I use King Arthur all purpose flour because of the quality and gluten %. The oil, it is a non-flavored one: vegetable, canola, corn, or even grapeseed. I had used olive oil here and there when I want to make a rosemary or basil, or even onion and garlic challah.
There is a two step in the Challah recipe. The actual Challah dough, and the preferment dough.
The preferment dough is a mix of flour, water, yeast, and sugar. That is been done and let rest for 30 minutes . Here is where the yeast starts fermenting and the gluten web starts developing. An acidic smell will come along if you let it sit for an hour or even longer. This dough will help the challah rise and help with the flavor. I prepare the preferment dough and while I scale and prepare all the other ingredients it is usually ready. It will accelerate the process if you leave it on a warm place. I turn on the oven sometimes which will help make the environment warmer.
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl cover with cloth and let it sit for 1 hour in a warm environment.
Preheat the oven to 375F. Prepare a sheet pan by lining it with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
In a small bowl mix the flour and salt.
In a big bowl mix the water, preferment dough, yeast, egg, and honey (if using a mixer, use the dough hook and mix for 30 seconds). Add the flour and continue mixing for 5 minutes. Little by little add the oil and knead for 10-15 minutes.
Cover and let it rest for 10 minutes. Flour the surface, divide dough into 100gr, should get 12 pieces of dough. Shape each piece into a loose ball by rolling it on a clean, dry work surface with a cupped hand, cover as you go. Using both hands roll them, with the “seam” facing down. Group them in 6 and braid the challah, cover the pan with a cloth and let it sit for 20-30 minutes. Brush with the egg mixture. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Enjoy and share with your family over Shabbat.
**Optional: You could always add 1 ½ cup of golden raisins, chocolate chips, or sprinkles.
When I first moved out of my parent’s house I was buying granola every other week. I was in San Francisco at that time, and could easily tell you that I had tried every granola brand it was sold at Safeway, Whole Foods, and any other supermarket. Had bought a few from farmers market, but my schedule was not fixed, and it was not easy to find the same sellers often.
I remember one day talking with my brother over the phone about the different granolas, and he said: “have you ever made granola?” The question bounced in my head over and over again, granola? granola? homemade? How difficult would that be? What is granola made of? He told me it was going to be the easiest recipe I have ever done in my life, and the one I could change depending on my mood.
And so, I venture into the granola world. The first step was understanding the difference between rice syrup and honey. Later, what kind of nuts do I like, what do I feel like eating in the morning? Seeds? There are more seeds besides sesame?
The first time, I made it exactly as he told. It came out great! It was yummy, fresh, and with lots of flavors. I kept it, and every time I made it, I used just the ingredients that I had at home.
Few years laters my friend Francine, made granola and gave me a jar of granola as a present! It definitely had more flavor than the one my brother did. And for two years I used Francine’s recipe.
When I was in Buenos Aires, my friend Flor had the same problem that I had years ago. Supermarket granola! So she asked me to make her granola every week! In my attempts of keeping it fresh and different, I would make it with whatever I had at home; until one day Flor called me to ask what did I put on this granola… I have to confess that at first I was scared, then came the thought of: what if something does not taste good, took a deep breath and asked her why was she asking me.
She mentioned that it was delicious! It was the best granola I had yet made! So, I starting using that recipe as a base, change it a bit more, and it is the recipe that I use NOW!
Makes: 500 Grams Prep Time: 10 Mins Cook Time: 40 Mins
25 gr sunflower seeds
10 gr sesame seeds
15 gr flax seeds
15 gr chia seeds
270 gr rolled oats
110 gr pecans, crushed
35 gr coconut, shredded
40 gr almonds, crushed
65 gr cashews, crushed
45 gr brown sugar
110 gr brown rice syrup
45 gr coconut oil
45 gr orange juice
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extrat
20 gr cranberries
45 gr raisings
Preheat the oven to 300 F, line a baking tray with parchment paper.
In a big bowl combine all the seeds and stir. Add the oats, pecans, coconut, almonds, cashews, and sugar. Mix everything. Pour the brown rice syrup, coconut oil, and orange juice. Sprinkle the spices. Mix everything until well combine, oats should be shiny.
Bake for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes (keep an eye for the top not to burn). Remove from oven and place on cooling rack. Add cranberries and raisins. Once it completely cools down spoon to jar or container.
** TIP: The granola will stay fresh up to 3 months. You can change, add or replace any of the nuts or seeds. This is a perfect holiday gift for teachers, co-workers, and friends.