December 2015 A Note from Marcy

 

 

   



Free Hanukkah Gelt Double Fudge Chocolate Layer Cake and so much more in the December 2015 A Note from Marcy. Plus BB's 1st ever Hanukkah Cookie Collection.

Dear Friends and Fellow Bakers,


Welcome to the final month of the year and most cookie-stocked issue of Betterbaking.com.

First things first – yes, the 2-for-1 Black Friday BB Subscriptions is still available. Simply sign up the usually Subscriber Page way but let us know the name of the gift recipient (name and email) and we’ll do the rest.

My Kindle Cookbooks on Sale! Tomorrow (December 2nd), three of my cookbooks (and poetry book) in digital form will be on sale for up to 67% off (but the first day of the sale is when the books are the best deal). The trio of books includes A Passion for Baking, When Bakers Cook (with a fabulous baker’s bonus chapter), The Baker’s Four Seasons. A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking makes a fabulous holiday gift (it’s Hanukkah time) and as always, any book purchase comes with 4 months Free BB Subscription (to all recipes).

Now back to our regular programming…..

For years, I’ve wanted to do an Eight Days of Hanukkah Cookie book but never had a chance to. This year however, I did manage to put together eight of my favorite Hanukkah treats for the eight days of Hanukkah. I still had more recipes to include but the concept was eight nights, eight recipes. It’s similar to the 12 days of Holiday Cookies so many sites, such as Food Network does. I’ve included many freebies this month but the Hanukkah Eight Days of Cookies Collection is a Maccabean feast that is sure to please. Just do one recipe each day – on the eighth day, vote on your favorites and let me know. Next year, I’ll find eight more.

For regular holiday baking, I’ve also included some other special treats that are all my favorites. Left to my own devices however, I would make truckloads of rugulah and shortbread throughout the holidays, which I plan to do as gifts for family and friends.

Other than the recipes at hand, some amazing product gift ideas are on the way later this week.

This issue marks my 18th Holiday Issue of BB which is a landmark of sorts. Baking (among other things)for me,  remains a fascinating passion that, as an interest as well as occupation, has soulmate qualities to it. But baking is really most fun if you share it – which is what I try and do through recipes. I am heart-warmed to think of the joy and pleasure you in turn, spread around as you bake my recipes and your own.

Maybe it's the sugar, butter, but I think baking softens the world. Food breaks down boundaries. It’s so much more powerful than just being about nourishment. Not to go too new age-y on you but let me just share that these days, I make a prayer over the bowl or the batter or the pan as it goes into the oven. I take a mindful breath, count my blessings and send a prayer of peace in each thing I make and serve. A great holiday cookie may not be as wholesome as a batch of Kale Quinoa Mushroom Barley Soup but baking is incredible, vital memory food. A bite of shortbread or a Bavarian Sugar Cookie or a quintessential rugulah is another way of telling a stranger in your home or newcomer to your country: you are welcome here or let me offer you a taste of home even though you are far away from wherever you call home. Everyone argues about what good taste is all about; but in food, the intention, i.e. to nourish and uplift body and soul has good will written all over it. No dispute of 'good taste' there.

Happy holidays, peace and bon appetite. And as always, happy baking,

With love,

Marcy Goldman
Author, Master Baker
www.Betterbaking.com
Est. 1997


FREE!!! Honey BBQ Brisket

Mouth-watering brisket that will make you want to lick the roasting pan. Great hot or cold, in a Ruben style sandwich.


FREE New Way Famous Potato Latkes Over 19, 751 downloads

From the bonus chapter in the new Whitecap edition of A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking, my world famous potato latkes. Can you improve on tradition? Yes!

FREE! Hanukkah Chocolate Cream Cheese Cake

A luscious "tunnel" of cream cheese and chocolate chips makes this cake a winner with kids and adults alike.  Coffee for this cake can go the way of mellow or bold. This is a lovely Hanukkah cake-and-coffee entertaining cake. It keeps well enough to last 8 nights but don't count on that happening!


FREE Gift Giving Maple Vanilla Granola
The name says it all. Pack in Mason Jars and dole out the goodness.

French Rum Pound Cake
Here is a delightful and sophisticated little rum and fruit pound cake that is one of my favorites. It is festive, buttery, moist and flavor-infused.

Biscoff or Speculoos Cookies
Of Dutch origin, these gently caramel and spice cookies are a cross between shortbread and butter cookies.  You can find the ingredient Speculoos (aka Biscoff or simply, cookie spread) spread via Amazon, European shops or Trader Joe’s. It spreads like Nutella and tastes like ground up spice cookies. These amazing cookies are so holiday-ish yet unique. (unless you’re Dutch)

French Chocolate Mint Biscotti 
A French mint chocolate bar in a biscotti rendition. A slick of melted white chocolate makes these holiday festive. Minced up peppermint patties in the dough add to the glamor.

FREE! Gourmet Shop Panettone
A brioche, rich bread, studded with fruit, nuts and chocolate. An Italian tradition, feel free to leave out nuts or fruits or just add those that appeal. The main thing it to produce a golden, sweet, eggy bread to break off in hunks with espresso, during many wonderful holiday mornings.

Eight Days of Hanukkah Cookies and Sweet Treats
Marcy Goldman's BB's First Annual Hanukkah Cookie Book

Classic Hanukkah Sugar Cut Out Cookies

What's holiday baking without cookies and kids around, that is, if you provide those eager bakers with a big batch of their own cookie dough and cutters. This buttery sugar cookie dough is "kid proof":  strong but tender of crumb, this is the dough I prepare for my own crew of young bakers and their friends.  If you require a dairy-free cookie, you can make the recipe using shortening. The Rycraft Ceramic Cookie Stamps company makes both a Menorah and a Star of David cookie embosser that's perfect on these cookies.

Chocolate Schnecken

A bread machine will save your buns here but this is a simple sweet dough anyone can whip up. Schnecken is usually filled with cinnamon and sugar but these are extra special, made with Swiss chocolate and a gorgeous buttery dough.
Nutella Chocolate Cream Cheese Rugulah Nutella Rugulah
Decadent tradition that will satisfy both rugulah and Nutella addicts

Hanukkah Jelly Doughnuts Over 9250 Downloads
Puffy, golden doughnuts that can be filled with jam, jelly or custard – the consummate Hanukkah treat.

FREE Ultra Thin Almond Mandelbrot (Biscotti)
This is one of those exceptionally thin biscotti or Mandelbrot. Make it with oil – it’s Mandelbrot for Hanukkah. Make it with melted butter and you have gourmet biscotti. It is micro-thin and one of those ‘private file recipes’ and a great gift recipe


Grandma's Rolly Poly Dough

If you were lucky enough to grow up with a Russian-born grandmother nearby, you no doubt are familiar with this somewhat unusual and delectable cookie-like strudel.  Made with a lightly orange-scented, cookie-like dough, this strudel-like cookie keeps for weeks in the freezer and also improves, day after day just wrapped on a counter. Vintage recipes call for Turkish Delight but as I am not a fan of Oil of Bergamot (which is in Turkish delight or Rose Water), I most often substitute Gummy Bears for the sweet, chewy filling. This is as old-fashioned, delicious a recipe as you will ever find. It tastes like a hug.

Grandma's Rolly Poly Dough
These make the fanciest, most delightful pastry-like cookies in the shortest time ever.  Coarse sugar, a key ingredient for this recipe, is available at bulk food stores, cake decorating stores, mail order or from your neighborhood baker. When coarse sugar is used, the result is slightly flakey pastry-like cookies with caramelized bottoms. But these cookies would also work with regular sugar but use a little less.

Bakery Style Poppy Seed Cookies
When you think of  a great, crisp poppy seed cookie, with a grandmother's taste but a bakery' style crunch, this is the recipe. For Hanukkah, cut these in 6-point Star of David or any other holiday shape. You can dust with blue sugar instead of white for holiday flair.
 

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 Previous Issues, Note From Marcy/Baker's Stash

 

 


Previous Monthly Essays from A Note From Marcy:

Essays to tickle your funny bone, wake up your inner baker, twinge on your heartstrings, or make you smile and say, ‘I’ve know the feeling; I know the place”. If you missed an essay, or a season in baking or inner sensibility, we invite you to stroll through our archived Notes From Marcy.