Category: Snacks

Brownie Toppings & Ideas


I cannot actually believe that the summer has come and gone, I’m back in the city and school has begun! Is it just me, or does summer seem to go by faster when you get older?  It just flew right past me and here I am, at my computer, back to work.

I think I’m mostly shocked because all those projects I told myself I would tackle this summer did not happen, and as productive as I’d hoped to be, I kind of just let go! I was supposed to organize all my photos, go through my emails, file paperwork, start running again, drink more water… but I suppose that what New Years Resolutions are for, and we start early here!

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is just a few short weeks away, which means we are approaching a pretty busy holiday season. The Jewish New Year is followed by Yom Kippur, and then shortly after by Succot, which is a foodfest of epic proportions! There are lots of festive holiday meals, and meal planning is essential to make it through.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I’m not a big planner when it comes to holiday prep, but the High Holidays are an exception. I usually make a double batch of my honey challah, a few loaves of honey cake, mini pumpkin pies for a crowd and Levana’s chocolate mousse to stock the freezer. It’s really the only way because there are simply so many meals and no time to cook them all!

So I’m here with a great dessert hack that will take you little time but wow your guests nonetheless. It involves a cheat in the form of Duncan Hines brownie mix, and even though I’m not usually one to use a prepared cake mix, I have to admit that their brownies really take the cake – pun intended! Even my mom admitted to me recently that she is never making her own brownies again because they’ve really nailed the perfect brownie.

Of course adding your own toppings changes everything and makes it your own. My favorite combo are the tahini swirled brownies (above), which I serve topped with vanilla ice cream, raw tahini, silan and a sprinkle of shredded halva. My guests can never get enough of it!

My kids are partial to my smores brownies, so I usually make make two pans, but when I saw this brownie pan with dividers,on Amazon, I realized I could do a bunch of toppings at once! It was just a fun project and my kids loved trying all the different flavors.

Of course, since we have a peanut allergy at home, I kept all these toppings nut free, but feel free to experiment however you’d like. Peanut butter swirled brownies would be epic too!

Lets bring on the holiday prep!

Related Recipes:

Mexican hot chocolate brownies
black bean brownies

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Dips & Spreads

Walk into any kosher supermarket and you’re likely to find a display case of wall to wall dips. What is it about Jews and dips and when did this cultural shift happen?

In Sephardic culture, SALATIM have adorned their Shabbos tables for generations. Unlike most mayo-based dips that you find in Ashkenazi cuisine, salatim are usually cooked down for hours (think matbucha!) and are exclusively savory.

Growing up in an Ashkenazi home, dips were not really a THING. And come to think of it, neither was a smorgasbord of salads. Life was a lot simpler back then, and if we had some pickled cucumber salad, chrein (horseradish with beets) and tahini (my dad is Israeli after all) we were happy campers. Perhaps it’s our foodie culture or this generation’s need for abundance that has our Shabbos feasts outdoing the most lavish Thanksgiving spreads. Luckily, I like to play around in the kitchen, so spending my Fridays whipping up multiple dishes isn’t the worst thing. But for those who find cooking overwhelming, Shabbos prep can be a chore, and believe me I get it. That’s where store-bought dips come in handy, and the good news is, you don’t really have to buy them.

I’ve never big that big on prepping dips, probably because they are just a vehicle for eating more challah. We always have hummus and tahini around, and I’ll make (or buy!) olive dip on occasion, but dips for me are an “extra”, a cherry on the top if I’m feeling extra fancy or I want to go all out for special guests.

If I have tomatoes on hand that are too soft for salad, I’ll usually cook down my tomato jalepeno dip (recipe in my book) and we absolutely love garlic confit smeared over challah (recipe also in my book), but in general, I prefer NO-COOK dips that I can just throw into the food processor and be done with it! One of my favorite kitchen hacks for making dips it to cover the bowl of my food processor with plastic wrap before putting the cover on, so the oil or mayo doesn’t splatter all over the top of the machine when I blend, and I can make one dip after another with minimal clean up.

The best part about making homemade dips in the food processor is that amounts don’t really matter. You can throw most things from a jar into your machine with a big dollop of mayo (lemon juice keeps it tasting fresh, and salt is always a given) and you’re good to go. Here are some good combos!

 

Related Recipes:

trio of sweet challah dips

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Ferrero Rawcher Bites

It’s only taken 8 years, but welcome to the new and improved BUSYINBROOKLYN site! I’ve modernized the design, cleaned up some of the old junk and here we are! Clean, simple, and dare I say millennial? That’s my new favorite word!

I would love to hear your feedback on how you like it and if there is anything I can do to improve the design! Leave a comment below to let me know!

The new blog style may be streamlined and fresh, but the food here is just what you’re used to. Fun new recipes with a twist!

If you’re a regular around here, you know that date & nut bites are my all time favorite snack – and these will look familiar. I’ve made these marzipan flavored ones in the past, and if you’re lucky enough to own my cookbook, you’ve probably tried the much-loved pecan pie bites that are a family staple.

If that’s not enough, I’ve also made them into fun hamantaschen and gingerbread truffles. And I’m testing other flavors as we speak. Because (repeat after me) DATE NUT BITES ARE THE WORLD’S GREATEST SNACK.

Related Recipes:

marzipan date truffles
cowboy cookie dough bites
gingbread truffles

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Salted Tahinut Chews

I’m not much of an actual peanut person but peanut butter is my jam – and I definitely love the iconic sandwich. In fact, during my last pregnancy, I craved PB&J sandwiches for the first few months, and I secretly hoped it would immunize my baby against peanut allergies. Once my daughter was born though, that all went out the window because my house it peanut free, and you won’t find any bamba in the pantry.

A couple of years ago, when my now-5-year-old son was about 16 months old, I gave him a Larabar for snack, and a few bites in he broke out in hives all over his body. Having never dealt with food allergies with my other children, I wasn’t really familiar with such as extreme reaction, but I gave him Benadryl and he fell fast asleep. When I went to check on him, his lips had turned blue so I quickly called Hatzalah and he was rushed to the hospital, with a dose of epinephrine administered on the way. Thus began my journey as a mom of a child with life threatening food allergies.

Let me tell you – there is literally nothing more terrifying than watching your child struggle to breathe because of something they ate. I always try to use my platform to spread awareness because I know what it means to be that clueless parent who is lucky enough to be unfamiliar with food allergies. When my son turned three and started to wear a kippah, I partnered with iKippah to design the first ever ALLERGY KIPPAH to help keep young boys with food allergies safe. My son proudly wears his kippah and I know that in case of an emergency, his allergy and emergency information can all be found underneath.

So what has that got to do with TAHINUT CHEWS? Well, since my house is peanut free, but thankfully we are free of sesame allergies, TAHINI has become our new peanut butter. And the truth is, it’s a great stand in. The texture is pretty similar and pure raw tahini paste really does taste a bit like peanut butter too. I use it in recipes like my tahini muddy buddies, in place of peanut butter in Asian sauces, cakes and treats. The best part is, you don’t have to melt tahini, since it’s liquid at room temperature, so this recipe comes together in just minutes. And I love that I don’t have to forgo one of my all time favorite indulgences – Rice Krispies Peanut Chews!

Now if you’ve got a peanut AND a sesame allergy? I truly feel bad for you! I always say G-d was good to me by at least saving us from a sesame allergy because TAHINI IS LIFE. Although I’ve got you covered there as well – cookie butter works as a great alternative to peanut butter too!

Related Recipes:

tahini muddy buddies
tahini scones
sweet tahini dip
halva krembos
halva and ricotta stuffed figs

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Everything Bagel Keto Crackers

I’ve been dieting ever since I can remember, and if you’ve been with BIB since the early days, you probably remember when I posted about the South Beach Diet which I went on religiously after every baby. But then I started a career in food and diets that eliminated entire food groups became difficult to stick to. I also had a 90 day stint with Whole30, which I still firmly believe in as a nutritional reset, but not really as a way of life. It’s far too restrictive and there was so much prep involved which became near impossible with my busy lifestyle.

So, when I finally decided I was done with my yo-yo habits recently, I wanted to commit to a plan, if only for a few months – but a strict regimen that would help me lose the cookbook + baby + stress weight of the past few years – and with lots of people I know losing weight on keto, I decided to jump in blindly.

I thought keto would be easier to manage – that is, no major food planning – and I have to admit that that part is totally manageable. Since I cook pretty healthy for the most part, I find that adapting my regular dinners is pretty easy. I have no problem with grabbing a quick lunch, and I mostly skip breakfast, which isn’t a bad thing on keto since 16 hours of intermittent fasting is encouraged. The problem then, is the counting.


I legit hate diets where I have to weigh my food or count my calories. Maybe it’s the flashbacks of being on Weight Watchers in high school, when my scale became my best friend, but it’s legit the worst part about this diet. In this case, you’re not quite counting calories or weighing your food – you’re counting MACROS = grams of protein, carbs and fat throughout the day.


For optimum results on keto, it’s important to stay within your macros if you want to stay in ketosis. Keeping carbs under roughly 20 grams is HARD because every. single. thing. has carbs. And I’m not talking about pizza or pastries here. I’m talking about not overdoing the veggies. I’m also finding it hard to reach my fat macros, and for the first few weeks, I religiously entered my entire food diary into the Carb Manager app to keep track- and I saw a big difference. The weight came off easily. But now as I’ve settled into the diet, I’m getting sick of counting and while I haven’t gained any weight, the scale (and my inches) are extremely slow moving.

I’m still not ready to quit though, I just want to find the right balance for myself because I know this plan can really work if you do it right. In the meantime, these super easy keto crackers (which I adapted from this Pesach recipe by the genius challah/babka queen @naomi_tgis, Naomi Elberg), have been getting me through Shabbos meals because we all need some crunch to eat with our salads/dips when everyone else is eating fluffy Challah.

I’ve been trying them all different ways, and the everything bagel version wins hands down, but give the variations a try as well when you get bored of them!

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how to build a fish board
artisan toast, 6 ways
tuna with anchovy panko crumbs

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