Tag: dessert

Chunky Monkey Marzipan Nice Cream

Baby I’m back and it feels SO GOOD!! I finally found my blogging groove again and I’ve been cooking and shooting so much – not because I felt pressured, just for the sheer joy of it. It reminds me why I started the blog in the first place, and made me realize just how much I’ve missed it.

This recipe came to me one night this week, and I literally couldn’t sleep thinking about it! How it would taste, what dish I could use for it and how I would shoot it. It was inspired by one of my first smoothie experiences – back in the days when smoothies weren’t that popular. It was the banana, date, milk and honey smoothie from Bissaleh, the Israeli restaurant that gave me my first taste of Israeli cuisine when I was just a teenager. I’d order the drink – ice cold – whenever I would go, and it was just. so. freakin. good. Come to think of it, it’s the place that got me hooked on dates too. And sachlav. And malawach. And everything in between.

Call it the Middle Eastern take on chunky monkey – a classic banana ice cream filled with chocolate fudge and walnuts. Truth be told I’ve never actually HAD chunky monkey ice cream, and banana flavor wouldn’t normally be my thing. But nice cream is another story. If you’ve never made it, it’s basically the best ice cream hack of all time – blending frozen banana chunks until it’s the consistency of smooth-as-butter soft serve. And it’s pretty darn good too. Add some dates, almonds, marzipan and silan and you’ve got yourself a marriage of flavors that is pretty addictive. The fact that it’s good for you? that’s just a cherry on the top.

Now I know marzipan is one of those love it or hate it ingredients. Personally, I used to hate it growing up, but when I married a rainbow-cookie-lover, it slowly grew on me. My kids are huge fans of rainbow cookies too, so I had to come around.

Normally when I think of marzipan desserts, I imagine using almond extract for that intense flavor, but when Molly Yeh put chunks of store-bought marzipan into her biscotti in her cookbook, Molly on the Range, I started looking at marzipan in a new way. She also got me hooked on using the stuff instead of fondant for easy cake decorating (like in this cake!). Basically the stuff is magic.

Marzipan, like rosewater, is an acquired taste, so if you’re not a fan, no worries, you can just sub chocolate chunks in this recipe. You can also do a lot of other substitutions like candied almonds instead of roasted ones, other nuts of you choice, or figs instead of dates. Basically you can customize this however you like and it’ll still be delicious.

And you know what? If you don’t like bananas, just go ahead and fold the ingredients into some softened vanilla ice cream. How good would that be? Or just stuff some marzipan into a pitted date. Or into your mouth. You can’t really go wrong with that.

Are you a fan of marzipan? What are some of your favorite nice cream flavors? Share them with me in the comments below!

Related Recipes:

marzipan biscotti
marzipan date truffles
nutella banana ice cream
banana nut milk & honey smoothie
date and almond hamantaschen

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Fruit Salad with Basil Honey Lime Dressing

To me, Passover, or Pesach, is all about tradition. I’ve never actually hosted the holiday in my own home, but I imagine that when I do, I’ll be making the same foods that my mother always made.

I have fond memories of my mom’s Passover ratatouille, mock chopped liver, beet salad and cucumber salad all neatly arranged in mason jars on the door of the fridge. She always had big jars of simple syrup on the counter, which she used to sweeten everything from chicken to fish, meat and nuts. Towards the second days, when everyone had enough of the heavy meals, she always diced up a huge fruit salad in our giant glass Pyrex. And she doused it in simple syrup too.

The simple syrup didn’t bother me, especially as a kid, because the fruit tasted like candy. But the bananas – they just threw the whole thing off. There were never really rules to what went into the fruit salad – it was whatever was leftover around the house – but it almost always had melon, kiwi, sliced bananas, walnuts, and oranges.

There was always someone in the house who was walking around scratching their throat from one of the fruits – probably the kiwi, and I think it was usually my sister. But we still ate it – bananas, oranges and all – and we sipped up all those sweet drippings from the bottom of the bowl like they were liquid gold. Ah, Passover memories.

While everyone is busy preparing trays of Passover brownies, whipping up macaroons and fancy pavlovas – I’m here to say that it’s really just about the tradition. Fruit salad may be simple, but it’s what my Momma always made, and it’s what I plan to make when I host Passover in my home in the coming years.

For this recipe, I’ve done away with all the fruits that I picked out of my Mom’s fruit salad – the awful mushy bananas, pithy oranges, and throat-scratching kiwi’s. Instead, I used melons, mangos, plums and nectarines, and fancied it up with a basil honey lime dressing (a lot healthier and more flavorful than the simple syrup of my youth!). Feel free to adjust this salad to your liking – adding more lime juice for extra tartness, or more honey for extra sweetness. And you can also switch up the herbs with some fresh mint instead of basil, if you so desire. Don’t forget to top it off with some coconut whipped cream and chopped nuts to really take it over the top!

Wishing you and your loved ones a very fruitful and happy Passover!

Other Passover Desserts:

marzipan apple crisp
nutella banana ice cream
chocolate ganache tart with macaroon crust
raspberry sorbet

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Mexican Hot Chocolate Pecan Pie

It’s amazing how I’m becoming less and less into sweets. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love a good dessert. But sometimes I find the sugar so overly cloying. Like in pecan pie.

But with pecan pie being so traditional and all, I didn’t want to just cut it out of my life without at least trying. So try I did. And succeed, oh yes, I did!

Enter Mexican Hot Chocolate – the sweet and spicy rich chocolate drink with just the right amount of kick. I love how the bittersweet chocolate and chili balances out the sweetness in this pie. It totally works.

I’ve done this before with brownies, and it has become one of my most favorite recipes. My guests always ooh and ahh over my Duncan Hines fix, thinking I spent hours perfecting the best brownie recipe.

With pecan pie, it’s just the same. The filling is really fairly simple, and if you use a frozen pie crust like I did (insert-surprised-emoji-face-here), it’s as easy as 1-2-3.

This beauty is being gifted to Melinda of kitchen-tested for her pie bar tomorrow, which I will be lucky enough to be sampling from, after her crazy Thanksgiving feast! Sorry that I had to slice it open Mel!

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for a play by play of Melinda’s incredible meal! Happy Thanksgiving!

Oh, and happy pie eating too :)

Related Recipes:

Mexican hot chocolate brownies
pecan pie lace cookies

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Something Sweet Review & Giveaway

I can’t remember the last time I was this excited about a cookbook. OK maybe I do. It was Ottolenghi’s Plenty More. But other than Ottolenghi books, I don’t usually count the days until a cookbook comes out. It’s different when that cookbook is written by a friend and fellow kosher blogger, and when it’s jam-packed with mouthwatering desserts. Only desserts. 

The talented Miriam Pascal of OvertimeCook has been giving me (and all her readers!) sneak peeks into her cookbook for months now. As a foodie friend and fellow food photographer, I got a behind-the-scenes look at Miriam’s amazing photography, and I couldn’t wait to see it in print. Miriam and I started our blogs around the same time, back in 2011. We both had little experience with photography, but as our blogs grew, our photography improved and so did our traffic. As a food blogger, Miriam takes the cake (literally) for the most amazing desserts that she posts on her blog, as well as in her food column for Ami Magazine. I’m not much of a baker, but when I actually feel like shlepping out my kitchenaid, I turn to Miriam for delicious, no-fail recipes every time. I’m so proud of her achievement, that I even filled in for her, guest posting on her blog while she was busy putting the finishing touches on this book.

Leave it to Miriam, I just knew there would be no stone left unturned in her cookbook. She has literally covered all the bases, from a baking guide, to ingredient substitutions, kitchen equipment, baking tips and a holiday guide. I love the range of desserts she covers, including cookies and bars, cakes and cupcakes, muffins and pastries, pies and tarts, desserts and party treats, candy and chocolate, drinks and frozen treats and finally, frosting and toppings. That last one seriously has me drooling. I am a frosting addict.

Now not only did Miriam cover pretty much every dessert you can think of, she also listened closely to her reader’s requests, and developed recipes like no-margarine chocolate chip cookies, no-margarine sugar cookies, healthy muffins, egg-free chocolate mousse and even a coconut oil pie crust (I truly appreciate this one!). The best part about the recipes in Something Sweet is that they are truly accessible. Nothing is over-the-top fancy and all the recipes use basic ingredients that we can all find in our pantry.

Many of my followers know that I’m not a big baker, so I truly appreciate the clearly written recipes, thoughtful variations and plan ahead options. I don’t think there’s a single recipe in Something Sweet that overwhelms me, and that says a lot! Some of the recipes I’ve got my eye on include the bourbon pecan snowball cookies, gingerbread biscotti, oatmeal cookie wedges, honey sour cream pound cake and cinnamon cheese buns.

It doesn’t get more perfect than gorgeous photos, great recipes and an all-around well-written book. Congrats to Miriam on this tremendous achievement!

I’m excited to be giving away a copy of SOMETHING SWEET just in time for the holidays! To enter:

  1. Comment on this post and share your favorite “something sweet” (it can be food or dessert).
  2. For an extra entry, follow Busy In Brooklyn via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. Just be sure to leave a note in the comment letting me know where you follow.

Giveaway is open to U.S. residents (for international entries, prize can only be shipped in the U.S.). Winner will be chosen at random at 10:00 AM EST on Monday, September 21st, 2015.

Purchase Something Sweet on Amazon

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Rosewater Cheesecake Mousse Parfaits

I like rosewater, can you tell? Honestly, I hadn’t even heard of the stuff before I married into a Sephardic family. And I didn’t like it at first either.

Rosewater has a very distinct, perfumy taste and you either love it or hate it. I like how it compliments certain dishes, when used in the right proportions – never too much, just a splash for subtle floral notes.

I especially like to incorporate rosewater into my Shavuot recipes since the holiday is also called “The Feast of the Roses”. On Shavuot, Jews commemorate the giving of the Torah at Mt. Sinai. It is told that Mount Sinai was covered in roses at the time the Torah was received, so many communities have a custom to decorate their homes and synagogues (as well as Torah scrolls) with roses. In some Sephardic synagogues, it is customary to sprinkle rose water on the congregants. I’ll pass on that one, but rosewater-scented mousse? yes please.

When it comes to light and airy cheesecake mousse, there are so many possibilities and if rosewater is not your thing, you’ve got plenty of options! Think vanilla, or lemon, almond or coffee, anything tastes good with cream cheese and whip cream! And the filling? You can go to town on that too! Angel food cake, brownie crumbs, blueberry sauce or lemon curd are all great ideas to use in a cheesecake parfait.

Since I’m not much of a baker, and cheesecake is so difficult to perfect (just ask Molly), I take the easy no-bake route and go for the mousse. It’s Shavuot after all, so we get to whip out (pun intended) the heavy cream and really go at it!

If you follow my blog, you probably know that I love to cook seasonally, so when Shavuot rolls around, I always try to incorporate something rhubarb or strawberry into my menu. You can go with fresh or frozen here, but since I always keep my freezer stocked for smoothies and popsicles, I went with that. The sweet and tangy ruby-colored sauce, with notes of honey and pomegranate, is a perfect match to the rosewater-scented cheesecake. I finish it with some cinnamon graham cracker crumbs (mixed with some melted butter, of course) and a shaving of white chocolate. Does it get any better than that?!

Now that I’ve got my dessert down pat, I’ve got to think up some menu’s for our 3-day food fest! I’ll definitely be making my gluten free broccoli parmesan poppers (recipe to be posted on Wednesday), as well as my famous roasted eggplant parmesan. I’m thinking of making my roasted tomato soup with muenster breadsticks and maybe my zucchini parmesan chips. Goat cheese ice cream is always a huge hit and this linguini lasagna is a huge time saver.

Of course there will be some meat meals too, and these Moroccan fish balls are definitely making an appearance as an appetizer. What’s cooking in your kitchen for the holidays? I’d love to hear your menu’s (maybe it will give me some ideas!), so leave a comment and share them with me below!

And don’t forget to check out the Shavuot category for more great recipes and ideas! 


Related Recipes:

goat cheese ice cream
classic cheesecake
strawberry rhubarb soup
sachlav rosewater pudding

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