gluten free

Orange-Vanilla Flavored Cheese Stuffed Dates

Sometimes I think life is a bunch of holidays with not much in between. Except for the entire month of January.

I suppose that's a good thing, because holidays are happy and celebratory.

Also, there's the food. Except for Yom Kippur, every holiday has food. And even when it comes to Yom Kippur, there's the break-the-fast when it's all over and the break-the-fast is all about food. 

As far as holidays go, at this point of the year, we've just finished Thanksgiving. So what’s next up?

Hanukkah!

Hanukkah is a really delicious holiday. Lots of fried stuff like latkes and doughnuts.

It's also a dairy holiday because of the story of Judith, which you can read about it here

For our family, in honor of Judith, I make lots of dairy items in addition to the usual potato latkes and doughnuts. I have served cheese latkes and potato latkes with a yogurt based sauce laced with lemongrass. And also Potato Galette with Caramelized Onions and Cheese and Almond Crusted Winter Squash and Noodle Kugel (actually that one’s a favorite). 

Desserts? Maybe Meyer Lemon Yogurt Pie (you can use regular lemons) or Baked Goat Cheese with Honey Sauce and Cranberries. Maybe even cheesecake. Or some fabulous cheesecake cookies!

And also these stuffed dates! Easy to make, not too sweet (no added sugar), these little morsels are perfect for the holiday. If you don't want to use almonds for garnish, crushed, toasted coconut will do nicely.

Btw, these make a nice tidbit for New Year’s, either as hors d’oeuvre or late night snack. 

 

Orange-Vanilla Flavored Cheese Stuffed Dates

  • 12 medjool dates

  • 1/2 cup cream cheese (4 ounces)

  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt

  • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel

  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 3 tablespoons crushed toasted almonds (or pistachios or crushed, toasted coconut)

Cut the dates through the center, but not all the way through to the bottom. Remove the pit and spread the date slightly to form a hollow for filling. Mix the cream cheese, yogurt, orange peel and vanilla extract in a small bowl until the mixture is smooth and soft. Fill the dates with the cheese mixture. Sprinkle with the nuts.

Makes 12 

Kaniwa Mujadarah

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Everyone who knows me knows that Mujadarah is among my favorite things to eat. I serve it for my annual break-the-fast. I serve it anytime I have lots of people over for a celebration, like a birthday or a welcome-to-the-world party for a new grandchild.

I've made Mujadarah using brown rice. I've made it with bulgur wheat

Sometimes I add mushrooms (there's a recipe for that in my book, Hip Kosher).

Recently, the good folks at Pereg sent me a bag of Kaniwa. 

What?

Have you heard of kaniwa?

It's similar to quinoa (in fact some call it baby quinoa), but the seeds are much smaller (about the same size as poppy seeds). It is a complete protein, it's gluten-free and high in iron. That is a big big deal when you are looking for nourishing, meat-free recipes.

Unlike quinoa, kaniwa does not have a coating of saponin on the surface, which means it does not have the somewhat bitter, somewhat soapy taste that some find objectionable in quinoa. You don't have to rinse kaniwa (in fact, if you do, these teeny things will fall right through the holes in the strainer!).

I've actually cooked with kaniwa. A while ago I posted a recipe for Kaniwa Salad with Roasted Tomatoes. It's a terrific base for salads. A nice soup filler. You can sweeten it and eat it like cereal, for breakfast.

But me, with my mujadarah love? I made some kaniwa mujadarah! Look how beautiful this is! Perfect dish for a meatless Monday.

 

Kaniwa Mujadarah

  • 3/4 cup lentils
  • water or stock
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 1 cup kaniwa
  • 1-3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 large yellow onions, peeled and sliced
  • 10 ounces mushrooms, cut up
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin, optional
  • salt to taste

Place the lentils in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat. When the water starts to boil, lower the heat, cover the pan and cook the lentils for about 25 minutes or until they are tender. Drain the lentils and set them aside. While the lentils are cooking, place the carrots in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat. When the water starts to boil, lower the heat, cover the pan and cook the carrots for 5-6 minutes or until they are tender. Drain the carrots and set them aside. Place the kaniwa in a saucepan, cover with 1-3/4 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat, cover the pan and cook for about 15-18 minutes until all the water has been absorbed. While the kaniwa is cooking, heat 5 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until beginning to brown. Add the mushrooms and cook an additional 5 minutes or until the onions and mushrooms are soft and brown. Place the lentils, carrots, kaniwa and most of the onion-mushroom mixture in a bowl. Stir gently to distribute the ingredients evenly. Stir in the remaining olive oil. Add the parsley and cumin, if desired and toss the ingredients. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Top with the remaining onion-mushroom mixture.

If serving at a later time, cover the pan and reheat in a covered baking dish in a preheated 350 degree oven.

Makes 6-8 servings

 

The Silver Platter Simple Elegance Cookbook

The older I get, the easier my recipes become. Years ago I was willing to trek through a 3-pager with multiple steps. I made dishes such as French Onion Soup only after preparing my own stock. I was willing to put together a long-winded recipe for Paris-Brest.

No longer. I don't have the time, energy or patience -- and will leave those wonderful, worthy chores to younger folks. These days I create recipes that are simple, flavorful and interesting, but without taking shortcuts that would detract from the food.

I also appreciate when other people share the same ideals, which is why I love "The Silver Platter Simple Elegance," a new cookbook from the kitchen of Daniella Silver, with tips and notes from Norene Gilletz, renowned food blogger, cookbook author and matriarch of kosher cooking.

This is not merely a book where you can pick up a good recipe or two. Every recipe is approachable, using ingredients that even novice cooks will find familiar, with selections that are perfect for everyday cooking and many that are suitable for entertaining: Zucchini Dill Soup and Flaked Quinoa Schnitzel and Mustard-and-Garlic Roasted Potatoes and Granola Ice Cream Cake are just a few, glorious but easy finds that will make your family happy at dinnertime.

There's more: at the bottom of each recipe are tips from the master, Norene Gilletz, on such topics as what equipment is best to use, what can be done ahead, what substitutions are appropriate, how to make an everyday dish more company-friendly, and so on. 

The photos are gorgeous too.

The first recipe that caught my eye is the one for Candied Cauliflower. Can you imagine such a thing?! With but 5 ingredients (not including salt and pepper), this sounded too fabulous to miss, and it was every bit as delicious as it looks on the page. (And includes tips on buying cauliflower and nut-seed substitutions.)

Next, the Mango Wild Rice, because I love any dish with mango in it. This recipe is fairly simple, colorful, flavorful and with the bonus that you can cook it ahead. One of Norene's tips is to substitute dried apricots for the dried mango, but I used fresh mango instead. The recipe is versatile too!

Taste for yourself: Here are the two recipes I found particularly worthy. The recipes and photos are reproduced from The Silver Platter Simple Elegance by Daniella Silver with Norene Gilletz, with permission from the copyright holders. ArtScroll/Mesorah Publications, LTD.

Another thought -- this book make a delicious Hanukkah gift for someone who likes to cook.

 

CANDIED CAULIFLOWER WITH ALMONDS

pareve, Passover, gluten-free, do not freeze, yields 6 servings

 

Candied cauliflower, drizzled with honey and thyme and topped with sliced almonds, is a beautiful dish that will keep your guests coming back for more. I suggest you double the recipe!

 

Ingredients

  • 1 large cauliflower, trimmed

  • kosher salt

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme leaves

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

  • 3 Tbsp honey

  • ½ cup sliced almonds

  • thyme sprigs, for garnish

 

Method

 

1.  Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  Cut cauliflower into 2-inch florets. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. 

3.  Sprinkle florets with salt, pepper, and thyme. Drizzle with oil and honey. Top with sliced almonds. Rub all over to coat evenly. (Can be prepared up to this point and refrigerated.)

 4.  Bake, uncovered, for 35-40 minutes, or until cauliflower is golden brown and tender. Serve immediately.

 

Norene’s Notes:

 

Variation: Use pecan pieces or coarsely chopped cashews instead of almonds. If you have a nut allergy, substitute pumpkin seeds.

 

Hot Stuff: Don’t worry about the almonds burning. The steam created during cooking prevents that from happening. If your oven is on the hot side, you may prefer to stir in the almonds during the last 15 minutes of baking.

 

 

WILD RICE WITH DRIED MANGO & RED ONION

pareve, gluten-free, freezes well, yields 8 servings

 

My three girls are in love with mango, and this wild rice dish has become their latest obsession. The nutty flavor of wild rice is a perfect match for sweet mango and red onion. The dried mango plumps up a bit when marinated in the dressing, adding some softness to the texture of this dish.

 

Ingredients

  •  
  • 4 cups water
  • 1½ cups wild rice, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ medium red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 12 dried mango slices, thinly sliced into strips
  • ¾ cup dried cranberries
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ⅓ cup orange or mango juice
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

 

Method

 

1.  Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add rice and salt; cover. Reduce heat; simmer for about 45 minutes, or until the grains split and burst. Remove from heat; let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Drain, if necessary. Transfer to a large bowl; let cool.

2.  Add onion, dried mangoes, and cranberries. Stir in oil, orange juice, honey, parsley, salt, and pepper. Toss to combine. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

 

Norene’s Notes:

 

Variation: Since wild rice is fairly expensive, you can use ¾ cup wild rice and ¾ cup whole grain brown rice — their cooking time is about the same.

No dried mango? Substitute dried apricots.

Wild rice is gluten-free, fiber-packed, and high in protein and B vitamins. Elegance in health!

An easy way to cut dried mango is to use kitchen scissors.  

 

 

 

Saigon Chicken Pho

Last March Ed and I travelled to Vietnam and Cambodia. We had wanted to go to both countries for years, Angkor Wat (in Cambodia), the big draw of course. But when we were young adults it wasn't possible because of the Vietnam War, which, btw, the Vietnamese call The American War.

And then way led upon way, we took other roads more or less travelled until finally this trip got on our radar and we grabbed the opportunity.

It was a revelation in many ways. Because of the politics. Because these days Vietnam is a friend and trading partner. Because Vietnam is thriving, entrepreneurial and modern whereas the only photos I had in my head were horrific ones from the 1960s (and if you have any desire to see those they are on full display in Saigon's War Remnants Museum). 

I also didn't realize how totally different Vietnam and Cambodia are. In every way: culture, ethnicity, religion, language, food, the look of the people.

I vowed to try cooking some of the food we sampled in both countries. 

So far, so good. Especially the pho, one of Vietnam's iconic dishes.

Chicken Pho -- basically chicken noodle soup -- is what your bubbe would make if she were Vietnamese. It's nourishing, flavorful, rib-sticking, comforting, warmth-giving. Perfect now that the cold weather is upon us, at least here in Connecticut. 

Really. Try this pho. I can't stop wanting some.

Fyi, the second photo is a scene from the breathtakingly beautiful Ha Long Bay in what used to be called North Vietnam. The third photo is the scene in Saigon (Ho Chi Min City) where the helicopters took off on that fateful day in 1975 when the Americans left.

 

SAIGON CHICKEN PHO

  • 3-1/2 to 4 pound chicken
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • One 2 1/2-inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 3 1-inch thick slices fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 8 ounces dried rice noodles
  • 3-4 chopped scallions
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • garnish to taste with thinly sliced jalapeno peppers, bean sprouts, basil leaves, mint leaves, lime wedges. Sriracha (in the United States)

 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the chicken in a soup pot and cover with water. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 4-5 minutes, removing the debris that rises to the top. While the chicken in cooking, place the star anise, cloves, coriander seeds, cinnamon stick and peppercorns in a single layer in a small dish. Roast the spices for 3-4 minutes, or until fragrant. Add the roasted spices to the soup pot. Add the onion, ginger and brown sugar. Simmer the soup for about 2 hours, until the chicken is very soft. Strain the soup. Remove the chicken to a carving board and, when cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin and bones. Cut the breast and thigh meat into julienne shreds. (Use the rest of the chicken for other purposes or add more to the soup.)

Keep the soup stock hot over low heat. Cook the rice noodles according to package directions.

To serve, place some rice noodles in serving bowls. Pour the stock over the noodles. Scatter scallions and cilantro into each serving bowl. Garnish as desired with jalapeno pepper slices, bean sprouts, basil leaves, mint leaves and lime wedges.

Note: in restaurants in the United States it is customary to serve Pho with Sriracha sauce on the side, to splash into the soup. Not the case in Vietnam, where fresh chili peppers do the job of spicing the soup.

Makes 8 servings

Potato Salad with Lemon-Oregano Vinaigrette

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Some people say potato salad comes from German cuisine. Others tell you it is French. Or from some other European country.

But I think potato salad is actually thoroughly American.

Potatoes are a "new world" plant. Back in the 16th century, before Europeans ever knew there was even another continent, Spanish explorers sailed to what would later become the "Americas." They were looking for gold and plenty in the mythical kingdom of El Dorado. 

Surprise!

What they found were plenty of potatoes, and that was their real treasure.

They brought potatoes back to Europe, where it met with mixed reviews, especially because so many people thought potatoes were poisonous. Others refused to eat potatoes because they weren't mentioned in the bible. 

Fortunately potatoes are nourishing and easy to grow, so in the poorer European communities the people were obliged to eat them or starve. 

And so by the time Europeans settled in what would become the United States, potatoes were a staple part of the diet.

With all this in mind, I say again: potato salad is an American food, because -- it all started with the potato. And so it's the perfect side dish for a 4th of July picnic, barbecue or any other sort of get-together.

For my money -- potato salad is best when served at room temperature. Not hot, not cold. There are a zillion versions. Here's one:

Potato Salad with Lemon-Oregano Vinaigrette

  • 2-1/2 pounds small red potatoes        
  • lightly salted water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped        
  • 1 tablespoon minced parsley
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano (1-1/2 teaspoons dried) 
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, or salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place the potatoes in a saucepan, cover with lightly salted water and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until tender. Drain under cold water and peel, if desired. Cut the potatoes into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl. Pour in the olive oil and lemon juice and toss ingredients gently. Add the scallions, parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper. Toss gently. Let rest at least 1 hour before serving.

Makes 4-6 servings

 

 

 

Passover Orange Almond Cake

A few weeks ago I was going through my Passover recipes file and came across a recipe for Italian Almond Cake with Poached Fruit from the Jerusalem Post. Unfortunately, it didn't say whose recipe it was. Also I didn't have the second page of instructions.

I made some changes and figured out how to proceed based on similar cakes I've baked.

 First, I converted all the metric measurements. 

I figured out how much, in cups, came from 3/4 cup whole almonds.

I didn't use blanched almonds, figuring that almonds with skin were just as good.

I switched to coconut oil because I don't like margarine. 

I deleted the liquor and used orange juice instead, and added some freshly grated orange peel. 

I separated the eggs and whipped the whites with sugar to provide a lighter texture than I thought the cake would have without fluffed whites.

I didn't serve it with poached fruit (I used fresh oranges and sorbet).

Some would say that with all these changes the recipe is now mine, and I understand that.

Still, the cake was delicious and I would have preferred to give credit!

Btw, it's gluten free!

Here's my version of Passover Orange-Almond Cake.

Passover Orange Almond Cake

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 6 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh orange peel
  • 1/4 cup potato starch

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a small amount of the coconut oil, lightly grease an 8-inch round cake pan, line the bottom with parchment paper and lightly grease the paper. Set aside. Melt the remaining coconut oil and set aside to cool. Place the almonds and 6 tablespoons sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and stir at low speed for a minute until the ingredients are well distributed. Add the egg yolks, orange juice and orange peel and beat them in at medium speed for about one minute. Stir in the potato starch. Stir in the cooled coconut oil. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites for 1-2 minutes, going from low to high speed, or until the whites stand in soft peaks. Add the remaining sugar and beat until the mixture stands in stiff peaks. Fold them into the almond mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Makes 6-8 servings

 

 

Fried Rice is Always Welcome

Ed and I have eaten a lot of fried rice recently. In Hong Kong. In Vietnam. In Cambodia. In the Philippines.

You could say fried rice is a staple in our lives. Just this simple dish: hot rice, vaguely crispy from the fry, lightly salty (but never with added soy sauce) and with a bit of egg, onion (usually in the form of scallion) and cooked vegetables. And that's how we had it (with a change of seasonings, depending on where we were) throughout Southeast Asia.

And that's how we have it at home (only from now on I will add more of the flavorings we recently sampled -- like sliced chili pepper or fresh coriander or star anise).

Because no matter what else I make for dinner, Ed will always welcome fried rice as a side dish.

He will also welcome fried rice as the main dish.

That makes it very easy for me, especially on days when I don't feel like fussing over dinner.

It does take some thinking ahead, because it's best to make fried rice using cold, cooked rice.

After that it's simple. You stirfry the rice and add all sorts of other ingredients from cooked carrots or mushrooms or any other veggie, to frozen peas to canned water chestnuts to fresh scallions to leftover chicken or veal to scrambled eggs -- whatever you have! And season it the way you like.

Like the recipe below, which was a filling, satisfying, delicious one-pot dinner.

Another bonus -- I added some of the Carrington Sriracha flavored coconut oil that I mentioned when I posted about Sriracha-Parmesan Popcorn. I got the oil, among other things at Crafted Kosher, a new website that has an enormous assortment of interesting products. The coconut oil is coming in handy for many of my recipes (stay tuned). Just a small amount makes a huge flavor difference, as it did with this fried rice.

Fried Rice with Egg and Peas

  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha flavored coconut oil
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • 3 cups cooked cold rice
  • 3/4 cup thawed frozen peas
  • 1 cup diced leftover turkey, chicken or veal, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste

Beat the eggs in a bowl and set aside. Heat 2 teaspoons of the vegetable oil in a wok or stirfry pan over medium-high heat. Add the eggs and cook, stirring once or twice until they are set on the bottom. Turn the eggs over and cook briefly until firm. Dish out the eggs onto a chopping board, chop them and set them aside. Heat the remaining vegetable oil and the coconut oil in the pan. Add the scallions and stirfry for about one minute. Add the rice, eggs, peas, optional meat and salt and stirfry for 2-3 minutes to distribute ingredients and heat the rice.

Makes 2-4 servings, depending on whether this is a one-dish meal or part of a meal

 

A Vegetarian, Gluten Free Side Dish

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My freezer broke last week.

Fortunately I still have my original, trusted, reliable old freezer from the stone age in my basement. I transferred the meat and soups, casseroles and other goodies that I had cooked. Anything that could be saved.

Unfortunately quite a lot wasn't worth saving, so I threw away lots of stuff. Half a cake that no one liked and made me wonder why I had saved it anyway. Breads with 2 slices left that were stuck together with ice crystals. A chicken leg, freezer burned because the plastic wrap had fallen off. Like that.

It felt so good to get that freezer empty and clean, ready for the repairman, that I started on the cabinets. I discarded anything out of the sell-by date; open boxes of cereal, crackers that I had placed in plastic bins who knows when, 2/3 eaten jars of peanut butter. Like that.

I also cooked some of the stuff that was still good.

The sorghum for example.

In case you haven't cooked with it or know what it is, sorghum is a cereal grain. Easy to use, tasty and gluten free. I had tried some at the Wondergrain booth at the Fancy Food Show last year and then used some for stuffing. I love the texture and the fact that it is so versatile I can use it for so many different kinds of dishes.

Last night I mixed it with vegetables to use as a side dish with dinner. Not only did it taste good, it was colorful and lovely to look at on the plate, which always makes dinner much nicer. Early in the day I stuffed the sorghum-veggie mix into hollowed out tomatoes and baked them several hours later, so this is a good make-ahead dish.

Sorghum Stuffed Tomatoes

  • 8 large tomatoes
  • 1 cup sorghum grain
  • 3 cups vegetable stock and/or water
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 1 small chili pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped cooked vegetables
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

Slice a cap off each tomato and scoop out the insides. Chop the insides and set aside. Place the hollowed out tomatoes upside down on paper towels to drain off excess liquid. Place the sorghum in a saucepan, pour in the stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook for 35-40 minutes or until the sorghum is tender and the liquid has been absorbed. (If the liquid has not been absorbed and the grains are tender, strain off the liquid.) Set the cooked sorghum aside. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat the vegetable oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes or until slightly softened. Add the chili pepper, garlic and tomato insides and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the cooked vegetables and stir them in. Spoon the vegetables and any cooking fluids into the pan with the sorghum. Stir to distribute the ingredients evenly. Stir in the parsley and salt and pepper. Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet. Spoon the ingredients into the hollowed out tomatoes. Bake for about 20 minutes or until hot.

Makes 8 servings

 

 

Zimtsterne Cookies

 When you see the first twinkle of stars in the night sky, the Yom Kippur fast is over.  You take your fist sips of that long awaited coffee, and with it …. Zimtsterne.  German star cookies. To remind you that we celebrate a new year, new beginnings, being with loved ones. Sweet. Lovely. Gluten-free too.  Zimtsterne  3 large egg whites  1-1/4 cups sugar  1/2 teaspoon salt  one pound finely chopped almonds or hazelnuts, approximately  2 teaspoons ground cinnamon  2 teaspoons grated fresh lemon peel  confectioners sugar**  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.  Beat the egg whites until they stand in soft peaks. Continue to beat the whites, gradually increasing the speed and gradually adding all the sugar and salt, for 6-8 minutes or until they whites stand in glossy, stiff peaks. Remove about 3/4 to one cup of this mixture to a small bowl and set it aside.**  In another bowl, combine the nuts, cinnamon and lemon peel. Fold the nut mixture into the egg white mixture in the bowl until it is uniform in color. Spoon the mixture onto parchment paper and flatten the “dough” sightly. Let stand for about 15 minutes. Place another piece of parchment paper on top. Roll the dough about 1/2-inch thick. Remove the top piece of parchment paper. One at a time, cut out star shapes from the dough (the dough is sticky and difficult to work with). Place each star on the parchment paper on the cookie sheet.  When all the stars are cut, use the reserved sugar mixture and spread on top of each star.  Let rest for 60 minutes.  Bake for about 25-30 minutes.  Makes about 42  **you can skip this meringue coat and bake the cookies uncoated (in this case, do not set aside the 3/4 cup meringue. You might need about 1/2 cup more ground nuts to make the dough less sticky). When they are baked and cooled, mix about 1/2 cup confectioners sugar with enough water to make a paste and use a small spoon to cover the cookies with the sugar paste. Let dry and serve.

When you see the first twinkle of stars in the night sky, the Yom Kippur fast is over.

You take your fist sips of that long awaited coffee, and with it …. Zimtsterne.

German star cookies. To remind you that we celebrate a new year, new beginnings, being with loved ones. Sweet. Lovely. Gluten-free too.

Zimtsterne

3 large egg whites

1-1/4 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

one pound finely chopped almonds or hazelnuts, approximately

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons grated fresh lemon peel

confectioners sugar**

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.

Beat the egg whites until they stand in soft peaks. Continue to beat the whites, gradually increasing the speed and gradually adding all the sugar and salt, for 6-8 minutes or until they whites stand in glossy, stiff peaks. Remove about 3/4 to one cup of this mixture to a small bowl and set it aside.**

In another bowl, combine the nuts, cinnamon and lemon peel. Fold the nut mixture into the egg white mixture in the bowl until it is uniform in color. Spoon the mixture onto parchment paper and flatten the “dough” sightly. Let stand for about 15 minutes. Place another piece of parchment paper on top. Roll the dough about 1/2-inch thick. Remove the top piece of parchment paper. One at a time, cut out star shapes from the dough (the dough is sticky and difficult to work with). Place each star on the parchment paper on the cookie sheet.

When all the stars are cut, use the reserved sugar mixture and spread on top of each star.  Let rest for 60 minutes.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes.

Makes about 42

**you can skip this meringue coat and bake the cookies uncoated (in this case, do not set aside the 3/4 cup meringue. You might need about 1/2 cup more ground nuts to make the dough less sticky). When they are baked and cooled, mix about 1/2 cup confectioners sugar with enough water to make a paste and use a small spoon to cover the cookies with the sugar paste. Let dry and serve.

Gluten-free Gingersnaps

 A few weeks ago I wrote an article about  sorghum syrup for The Jewish Week  and mentioned that this sweetener (which was very popular before cheap, refined sugar came along) was gluten-free.  
 But then I gave a recipe for sorghum-sweetened gingersnaps and unfortunately the cookies were not gluten-free. 
 That was a mistake!  
 So here it is, a completely gluten-free recipe for gingersnaps. I like these even better than the original recipe. They are somewhat softer that regular gingersnaps. 

  

  Gluten-free Gingersnaps  
     
  3/4 cup vegetable shortening  
  1/4 cup coconut oil  
  1 cup sugar  
  1 egg  
  1/4 cup sorghum syrup  
  1 teaspoon vanilla extract  
  1 cup Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour  
  3/4 cup coconut flour  
  1/4 cup quinoa flour  
  1 tablespoon baking soda  
  1/4 teaspoon salt  
  1 teaspoon ground cinnamon  
  3/4 teaspoon ground ginger  
  3/4 teaspoon ground cloves  
  1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg  
  2 tablespoons sugar  
     
  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Combine the shortening, coconut oil and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed until well combined. Add the egg, sorghum syrup and vanilla extract and beat until well blended. Add the gluten-free flour, coconut flour and quinoa flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg and beat until the dough is well blended, smooth and uniform in color. Scoop mounded tablespoons of the dough and place them on the prepared cookie sheet, leaving an inch space between each piece (you will have to repeat or use several cookie sheets). Sprinkle the dough lightly with sugar. Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes or until the cookies have spread and are flat and crispy, with lines on the surface.   
  Makes about 60  

  

A few weeks ago I wrote an article about sorghum syrup for The Jewish Week and mentioned that this sweetener (which was very popular before cheap, refined sugar came along) was gluten-free. 

But then I gave a recipe for sorghum-sweetened gingersnaps and unfortunately the cookies were not gluten-free.

That was a mistake! 

So here it is, a completely gluten-free recipe for gingersnaps. I like these even better than the original recipe. They are somewhat softer that regular gingersnaps.

Gluten-free Gingersnaps

 

3/4 cup vegetable shortening

1/4 cup coconut oil

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1/4 cup sorghum syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour

3/4 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup quinoa flour

1 tablespoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground ginger

3/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg

2 tablespoons sugar

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Combine the shortening, coconut oil and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat at medium speed until well combined. Add the egg, sorghum syrup and vanilla extract and beat until well blended. Add the gluten-free flour, coconut flour and quinoa flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg and beat until the dough is well blended, smooth and uniform in color. Scoop mounded tablespoons of the dough and place them on the prepared cookie sheet, leaving an inch space between each piece (you will have to repeat or use several cookie sheets). Sprinkle the dough lightly with sugar. Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes or until the cookies have spread and are flat and crispy, with lines on the surface.

Makes about 60