Monday, September 21, 2009

Dip the apple in the honey....

It's a new year - תש"ע, or 5770 since the world was created. Rosh Hashana always reminds me of my grandfather, my mother's father, which is funny, because to the best of my recollection, we never spent the holiday together. I imagine that Zeidy is listening to the shofar, critiquing the baalei tefilah, keeping things moving along in the yeshiva shel maala... And Bubby is wishing everyone gut yontiff, loudly, and handing out honey cake. I made their honey cake for chag, the famous honey chiffon cake that Bubby used to bring to doctors to ensure a good report, and the same cake that they used to make and deliver to friends, just because they liked it. I served as speedy delivery girl on more than one occasion, to one of their friends - who is my age, not theirs - who lived in our neighborhood. Baking and eating the cake, which I foolishly never particularly enjoyed when they made it, is now one of those traditions I won't let go of; Dani loves it, and anxiously awaits the the Rosh Hashana season just for a taste of Bubby and Zeidy's honey cake. They were special people, and this cake reminds me of them and the high standard they represented, one I struggle with daily to uphold. Bubby may not have been well-educated, but she was a true believer. Zeidy did not always deliver his message in the most politically correct or diplomatic way possible, but damn if he wasn't usually correct. He lived and breathed Torah; he knew more by heart than many learn in a lifetime, and he got the greatest joy out of learning and living by what he learned. Hope they are up there, acting as meilitz yosher for all of us. We could use it.

As much as it is not my policy to share baking recipes, I could not imagine anything better than everyone baking this honey cake for their New Year - also great to end your pre-Yom Kippur meal. If anyone out there would like to try it out, here is the recipe:

Honey Chiffon Cake

9 eggs, separated
2/3 cup sugar, divided use
1-1/3 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup honey

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Beat the egg whites with 1/3 cup sugar until stiff peaks form. (If you are unaccustomed to beating egg whites, start beating the whites with a whisk beater. When the whites begin to froth, add the sugar slowly, beating on high speed.) Transfer the whites into a large bowl (unless you have two mixer bowls, in which case, use a second bowl). Beat the yolks with the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar, the add the oil, some of the flour, baking soda, honey (spray the measuring cup with cooking spray before measuring the honey, which will allow the honey to slide out easily.), and then the remaining flour. Mix a small amount of the beaten whites - by hand - into the yolks to lighten them, then fold the yolk mixture into the whites. Pour into an ungreased tube pan. Bake for 45 - 60 minutes, until the top is browned and puffed and does not feel moist. Cool upside down.

Our Rosh Hashana was good. We enjoyed the simanim on the first night, having tried to incoprate them into some dishes. The leek kugel was a partcular hit - thanks, Caryn! We shared lunch on the first day (davening ended by 12:30) with our two pot-luck buddy families - Lori and Seth, and Ariel and Josh. It was a pleasure to host; the fun of having company, without half of the work or half the pressure. I think it is a good thing to be with good friends on chag. In the same vein, we went to Shoshana and Steven's for lunch the second day, which is liable to become a chazaka next year, so watch out! As always, we had a great time there. David worked very hard in getting ready (gabbai-wise) for yom tov, and it thankfully paid off, as things went smoothly in shul.

I managed to crank out over 500 cookies and bars for chag, but I would not have been able to get then out to my customers without my chief assistant, Shana. She assembled the platters, according to a very complicated spreadsheet, for almost two and a half hours. I wrapped, and then she labeled, and we seem to have been successful. Here are most of the platters from erev Rosh Hashana - actually forgot AGAIN to take pictures until everything was wrapped - guess that's the way the cookie crumbles (sorry, amusing myself).
I developed three new flavors for the holiday: honey sugar cookies, a soft sugar cookie delicately flavored with honey; caramel apple bars, soft, cakey bars, studded with apples and raisins, topped with a caramel glaze; and spiced carrot bars, carrot cake-like bars, full of carrots and golden raisins, frosted with a honey-cinnamon cream. So without further ado, here are a few close-ups.
Mint brownies, black and white cookies, apple crumble bars, spiced carrot bars, honey sugar cookies, peanut butter bites.
Lemon wedges, chocolate dipped chocolate caramel cookies, caramel apple bars, chewy chocolate chip cookies, chocolate cherry brownies, molasses cream sandwiches.
And that's all for now. Hope you are enjoying a meaningful Aseret Y'mai Teshuva.
P.S. Am now adding pictures to previous posts!

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