Chocolate Raspberry Rugelach

Rugelach, an Eastern European Jewish pastry, means “little twists” in Yiddish.  With their crescent shape and flaky, buttery crust, these  bite-size treats are cousins of the French croissant. They are typically filled with fruit preserves, cinnamon, nuts and/ or chocolate. When I set out to make rugelach at home (having long eaten rugelach at bakeries, I…

Blueberry Almond Buttermilk Muffins

I took my favorite buttermilk muffin recipe, from the cookbook Clueless Baker by Evelyn Raab, and added almond extract, fresh blueberries, and a crumb topping adapted from a recipe by Tutti Dolci. In place of store-bought buttermilk, I stirred together milk and lemon juice, and let the mixture turn acidic and curdle. Buttermilk lends tanginess and…

Basil, Walnut, and Ricotta Pizza

The other day, I was craving one of my favorite pizza toppings – homemade basil and walnut pesto – but my food processor had broken, and the new one had yet to arrive in the mail. So I prepared a pizza with deconstructed pesto: whole basil leaves, coarsely chopped walnuts, and grated Parmesan, sprinkled over a layer…

Coconut Vanilla Pancakes

Coconut adds texture and fragrance to these dessert-like pancakes, which are the invention of one of the students in my after-school cooking class. On a recent afternoon, I set out to teach the kids how to make a simple pancake recipe by Mark Bittman. A creative young chef added shredded coconut to the batter and…

Peanut Butter and Dark Chocolate Biscotti

I recently wrote a column for The Knockturnal about my latest cookie creation: biscotti with a subtle peanut butter flavor and bursts of dark chocolate. With a high fat content from the peanut butter and nearly a stick of butter, these are less crisp than traditional Italian biscotti, which typically only contain the fat from eggs.  Prepared…

Poppy Seed Apricot Squares

I got the inspiration for these bar cookies from a visit to a Romanian bakery in New York City, where I tried a pastry filled with a thick layer of poppy seeds. Popular in Eastern European cooking, poppy seeds can be sprinkled on bread rolls, mixed with noodles, or combined with milk, sugar, and other ingredients to…

Baked Empanadas with Roasted Peppers and Monterey Jack Cheese

This is my twist on empanadas, a classic Spanish and Latin American pastry typically filled with meat, fish, cheese, or corn. Empanadas can be baked or fried, but I prefer the former (it’s more convenient, and the empanadas taste lighter.)  I adapted a dough recipe from A Cozy Kitchen, swapping butter for olive oil to yield a…

Peanut Butter Granola Cookies

You don’t have to be a huge fan of peanut butter to enjoy these cookies, which are light, airy, and have a subtle peanut flavor. To enhance the texture, I used a high-quality, crunchy peanut butter, and threw in some homemade pecan and dried cherry granola. My granola (see recipe in the note below) is…

Mint and Sesame Focaccia

During a recent after school cooking class, I taught a group of middle schoolers how to make focaccia, a classic Italian flatbread coated in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt or herbs. One student decided to top the dough with a unique combination of seasonings: toasted sesame seeds, dried mint, sea salt, poppy seeds,…

Tiramisu Cookies

Flavored with coffee powder, mascarpone cheese, and a dusting of cocoa powder, these bite-sized cookies taste just like tiramisu, a classic Italian dessert made with layers of mascarpone filling and espresso-soaked biscuits. The idea for this recipe came to me when I wanted to send a friend some tiramisu, her favorite dessert, but figured cookies…

Greek Yogurt Chocolate Mousse Tarts

These mini tarts feature a chocolate shortbread crust and a lighter, healthier twist on chocolate mousse made with Greek yogurt instead of heavy cream. I got the inspiration from a simple, delicious Greek yogurt mousse recipe on the blog Food52 and tweaked it to include rose water and raspberry jam, which complement the tanginess of…

Chive and Potato Momos

Momos are Tibetan dumplings popular in North India, Nepal, and other areas with large Tibetan communities. They can be filled with vegetables or meat, pan-fried or steamed, and are sometimes covered in a spicy tomato chutney. The other day, I tried an excellent steamed momo filled with chives at Little Tibet, a restaurant in New York,…