Rugelach and Sarabeth’s Bakery cookbook

Have you seen this cookbook by Sarabeth Levine, famous jam queen! Years ago, my mom and I had a fantastic brunch at one of her cafe’s in NYC. When I saw this cookbook, I just had to have it. Such a pretty book with delicious recipes!


One of my first recipes to try was for classic Rugelach! I needed something that I could make a couple of days ahead of an event. Rugelach will keep for days and taste even better. Perfect! I was a little scared of all the dough rolling, but the sweet cream cheese dough was actually fun to tool and cut.


Rugelach from Sarabeth’s Bakery:

16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into ½-inch cubes
8 ounces cream cheese, softened, cut into ½-inch cubes
2 tablespoons superfine sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt
2¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Approximately ½ cup raspberry or apricot preserves
Confectioners’ sugar, for serving
For the filling:
¼ cup (1 ounce) finely chopped walnuts
1 tablespoon superfine sugar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
½ teaspoon Dutch-processed cocoa powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Beat the butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until evenly combined, stopping the mixer once or twice to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, about 2 minutes. Beat in the superfine sugar, vanilla, and salt. Reduce the speed to low. Add 1¼ cups of the flour and mix just until incorporated, then repeat with the remaining 1 cup of flour. Do not overmix.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Flour your hands well and gently knead to be sure that the ingredients are evenly distributed, about 10 seconds. Divide the dough into thirds. Shape each portion into a 1-inch-thick disk and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled and firm, about 2 hours.

To make the filling, combine the walnuts, superfine sugar, brown sugar, cocoa, and cinnamon in a small bowl; set aside.

Position racks in the center and top third of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper.

Working with one disk of dough at a time, unwrap and place on a lightly floured work surface. Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour, and roll out into a 13-inch-diameter circle. Using a small offset metal spatula, spread with about 2 tablespoons of the preserves, leaving a 2-inch-diameter space in the center of the dough, and a 1-inch border around the edge. Sprinkle the jam with about 2 tablespoons of the filling mixture. Using a sharp pizza wheel or large knife, cut the dough into quarters, then cut each quarter into 3 wedges, to give a total of 12 wedges. One at a time, starting at the wide end, fold the corners in about ¼ inch and then roll up. Do not roll the rugelach too tightly or the jam and filling will ooze out. Keep the outside of each cookie free of the jam and filling, or they’ll tend to burn. Wipe your fingers clean after making each rugelach, or you will transfer the sticky interior of the last cookie to the exterior of the next one. Place each rugelach on the pans about 1 inch apart, with the point of each facing down. Curve the ends of the rugelach slightly toward the point to make a crescent. Repeat this process with the other two disks of dough.

Bake until lightly browned, about 30 minutes. Cool completely on the pans.


Cookies and Cream Cupcakes!

My 12 year old nieces are visiting us this week and they requested that I make some cupcakes for treats to take to church. That sounded like fun to me and I have had my eye on a recipe for Oreo Hostess Cupcakes from the fun blog Your Cup of Cake. This blog is written by a college student who makes some really creative cupcakes! Here’s how my cupcakes turned out!



The only change I made was to use royal icing for the swirls on top. I wanted a really white decoration and my white chocolate was a cream color. We quadrupled the recipe to make lots and lots of cupcakes! I also made some mini cupcakes with broken bits of Oreos in the bottom of the liner instead of whole halves. This recipe is a good option if you don’t have a lot of kitchen gear. You make the batter by stirring with a spoon, only need a mixer to make the filling and can use a ziplock bag for the piping! Fun!

Oreo Hostess Cupcakes
Serving Size: 24 Cupcakes


1 box Devil’s Food Cake Mix
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
24 Oreos
Oreo FIlling:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
3-4 cups powdered sugar
remaining Oreos from cake, crushed
Chocolate Ganache:
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup chocolate (chips or melts)
1/2 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Melted white chocolate for decoration

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with cupcake liners.
2. Take your 24 ores and twist them apart. (If you are lucky, one side will have all the cream and the other side will be bare.) Take the Oreo halves with the cream and place them cream side up at the bottom of each cupcake liner.
3. Sift cake mix into a small bowl to remove lumps and set aside.
4. In a large bowl, gently whisk eggs, oil, buttermilk, sour cream and vanilla extract together.
5. Add cake mix and stir until smooth.
6. Fill cupcake liners (over your Oreo halves) 3/4 full and bake for 15-20 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.
7. Filling: Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth. Slowly add powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency. To prepare your Oreos for the filling, take the “bare” halves left over from the cake and crush them finely. Then put them through a sifter to remove the larger pieces. Add 1/3 cup of this Oreo “powder” to your filling and stir.
8. After cupcakes have cooled, use a knife to cut “cones” out of the top of each cupcake, deep enough to fill with your filling. Use a spoon or a piping bag to fill the holes in the cupcakes with your Oreo filling. Cut off the pointy part of your “cone” removed from the cake, and place the top back over the filling. (See my Homemade Hostess post for images on filling the cakes.)
9. Ganache: Place chocolate, honey and vanilla extract in a heat proof bowl. Heat heavy cream on the stove top just until small bubbles start to form around the edges. Pour cream over your chocolate and whisk until smooth. You may need to let it cool for a few minutes to let it thicken.
10. Spoon chocolate ganache over your cupcakes, let set and then drizzle melted white chocolate to get that “Hostess” look.
Copyright © YourCupofCake
For photo diagram of filling cupcakes, see my Homemade Hostess post

Homesick Texan Cowboy Cookies!

Sometimes, you just need (and I do mean NEED) a good old-fashioned crunchy chewy toasty nutty cookie. We tried the Homesick Texan’s Cowboy Cookies and deemed them perfectly suited to such a cookie need! Enjoy!

Cowboy Cookie Recipe


Cowboy cookies, adapted from Saveur
1⁄2 cup pecans, chopped
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
3⁄4 teaspoon baking powder
3⁄4 teaspoon baking soda
3⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon sea salt
3⁄4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3⁄4 cup rolled oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. While the oven is heating, place the pecans in an oven-safe skillet and roast in the oven for five minutes. Remove from oven.

Cream the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until fluffy.

Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, and add to butter, sugar and egg mixture. Beat until well incorporated, and then stir in oats, chocolate chips and roasted pecans.

Roll dough into walnut-sized balls, place on parchment-sheet lined cookie sheets and bake for 14-17 minutes. Should make about 24 cookies.

Southern Living’s Strawberry Lemonade Mufffins

I’ve had this muffin recipe sitting in my recipe pile since I read it in the April 2012 issue. I just has not found the right moment to give it a try until this morning. I decided to whip up a few to take to church. Actually, I multiplied the single batch by five and let me tell you that made a lot of muffins, 60regular sized and 72 mini muffins!! It was really too big and I was regretting trying to make so many when I was struggling to stir in the flour!! Anyway, I’m sure a single batch would be a breeze to make but I like to torture myself with making ridiculously huge batches.

The muffins were sweet and a little tart with fresh lemon taste! The texture was a little mushy even though I baked them a few minutes longer than listed on the recipe. Don’t skip the extra sugar on the top of the muffin because it makes for a nice crunch and balance to the tart lemon cake. Were the muffins good? There wasn’t a single muffin left after church. All 60 and 72 of them!!



Strawberry-Lemonade Muffins

Southern Living APRIL 2012

Yield: Makes 15 muffins
Hands-on:15 Minutes
Total:42 Minutes
2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
1 (8-oz.) container sour cream
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups diced fresh strawberries
1. Preheat oven to 400°. Combine flour and 1 cup sugar in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture.

2. Stir together sour cream and next 4 ingredients; add to flour mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Gently fold strawberries into batter. Spoon batter into lightly greased 12-cup muffin pans, filling three-fourths full. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup sugar over batter.

3. Bake at 400° for 16 to 18 minutes or until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack 1 minute; remove from pans to wire rack, and cool 10 minutes.

Ina Garten’s Orange Pound Cake

Tonight, I wanted to bake something to take to church in the morning. BUT I had no desire to go to the store for supplies so needed to use what was in the frig. I had a bag of gorgeous oranges and some good butter. How about Ina Garten’s Orange Pound Cake? Simple. Perfect.

Orange Pound Cake (Makes 2 cakes)
Copyright 2002, Barefoot Contessa Family Style by Ina Garten, Clarkson/Potter Publishers, All Rights Reserved

Photo: Courtesy of Food Network
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1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup grated orange zest (6 oranges)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, divided
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

To glaze one loaf (optional):
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2-inch loaf pans. Line the bottoms with parchment paper.

Cream the butter and 2 cups of the granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for about 5 minutes, or until light and fluffy. With the mixer on medium speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time, and the orange zest.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the orange juice, the buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour. Divide the batter evenly between the pans, smooth the tops, and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until a cake tester comes out clean.

While the cakes bake, cook the remaining 1/2 cup of granulated sugar with the remaining 1/2 cup orange juice in a small saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves. When the cakes are done, let them cool for 10 minutes. Take them out of the pans and place them on a baking rack set over a tray. Spoon the orange syrup over the cakes and allow the cakes to cool completely.

To glaze, combine the confectioners’ sugar and orange juice in a bowl, mixing with a wire whisk until smooth. Add a few more drops of juice, if necessary, to make it pour easily. Pour over the top of one cake and allow the glaze to dry. Wrap well, and store in the refrigerator.


I love my new heavy weight, deep bread size baking pans that i git recently at Walmart at midnight (long story). They have really sharp professional edges and a great nonstick finish. Go get some. You won’t regret it. Just don’t go at midnight!

Oneida Bread Baking Pan

A lovely orange glaze tops the warm baked loaves!


In my kitchen: Beautiful, fresh orange taste and a nice pound cake texture. Be sure to spoon on the orange glaze slowly so that it sinks into the warm loaves and doesn’t just run down the sides.

To blog or not to blog?

Tonight, my daughter, A, had friends over before going to the movies. I pulled out chicken fajita meat, salad stuff, home grown zucchini and tomato Greek salad, fresh berry trifle in jars, chocolate cherry almond crispies and our favorite homemade salsa and chips. As they all dove into the goodies, A looked at me and said “Mom, you really should have a blog”! I had to laugh and tell her I did have a blog that’s been sitting in Internetland totally ignored for 9 months.

I don’t usually create new recipes but I love trying new recipes. Just for kicks, I will be posting some of the success and not so successful recipes that come through my kitchen. I hope you can enjoy some along with me!

Paris Day 1: champs de elysee, boats, the orangerie, restaurant le pantruche

Paris .  .  . what can I say but it was Paris!  and it was good, beautiful, delicious, interesting and fun!


When reading my newest Food & Wine magazine, I came across the following bit about a bistro in Paris.  We were able to get a reservation IF we would be willing to come at 7:30 and be willing to give up our table at 9pm.  Ha.  Since we had to get up at 2am to leave at 2:30 to go to the airport for a 4:30 am flight from Astana to Paris,  we had no problem making it an “early” dinner by Parisian standards!  Loved the restaurant and Edwaurd recommended another place for us to try the next evening!  He told us to mention his name to help get a reservation.  This felt a bit pretentious, but it worked!  🙂

Le Pantruche

The banquette at this freshly painted 1930s-era bistro is packed with local families and Parisians from all over the city who come for Christian Constant protégé Franck Baranger’s blackboard menu. The prix fixe of market-inspired dishes, like pollack with beer-braised onion puree, is so well priced that you should have enough euros left for a bottle of Loire Valley Chinon.