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Recipe Category: Sweets & Treats


Hibiscus Sangria

Red, in many West African cultures, is a symbol of strength, spirituality, life and death. Hibiscus is native to West Africa as well, and its tangy flavor has been a part of Juneteenth celebrations since the beginning. 

Ingredients

  • 5 cups water (or more to adjust for taste) 
  • 2 Tbsp chopped ginger 
  • 1 cup dried hibiscus petals 
  • 1 cinnamon stick 
  • 1 750 ml bottle of white wine (Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay) 
  • 1 ½ lbs fruit cut into chunks – for example – mango, strawberries, peaches, pineapple, blueberries 
  • 1-2 oranges, sliced thinly with peel still on 
  • Lime chunks – cut limes into halves and then each half into quarters 
  • ½ cup light rum 
  • 2 cups water and 1 cup sugar (for simple syrup) or honey or agave syrup to taste 

Directions

If making/using simple syrup – Bring 2 cups water to a boil. Add in 1 cup sugar and simmer until sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool. 

In a large heat-resistant bowl, combine dried hibiscus, chopped ginger, cinnamon stick, lime chunks. Boil 5 cups water in a kettle or pot and gently pour water into the bowl to cover these ingredients. Let steep 45 minutes – overnight. If steeping overnight, place in fridge once stuff has cooled down. The longer it sits, the more intense the flavor. Once done steeping, strain and reserve liquid; discard solids.  

Combine all fruit in a large pitcher. Add rum, then hibiscus-spice liquid, wine, and simple syrup or another sweetener. Stir and let sit from a few hours to overnight before serving. 

Eastern European Honey Cake

Popular all over the former Soviet Union states, honey cake is traditionally layers of cake and sweetened sour cream filling. The cake layers are more cookie-like and after the cake is assembled, it must sit for at least 12 hours to let the cake layers absorb the syrup and soften to a cake-like consistency. This version is a spin on the traditional, using whipped cream and fresh ginger.  

Ingredients

  • Cake  
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter 
  • 1/3 cup honey 
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar 
  • ¼ cup sugar 
  • 1 egg  
  • 2 Tbsp heavy or whipping cream 
  • 3 ¼ cups All Purpose flour 
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • Ginger Syrup 
  • ½ cup sugar  
  • ½ cup water  
  • 2 oz ginger, peeled, cut in 1-inch chunks 
  • Lemon Cream Filling 
  • 1 large lemon  
  • 1/8 cup heavy or whipping cream 
  • 1 cup powdered sugar 

Directions

Cake Layers 

Melt butter and honey in a large bowl over a simmering pot of water, stirring continuously until the butter melts. Take off heat and stir in sugars to cool down.  

In a separate bowl, whisk egg and cream and add to cooled butter-honey mixture. 

Sift flour and baking powder into liquid mixture and using your hands knead just enough to bring it together to a cohesive dough, cut it and roll into 9 even balls and wrap in cling film and chill in fridge for 1 hour. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  

Roll each piece of dough into a thin layer. Take a round 6” plate and cut each into a disk. Bake each disk for about 8-10 minutes on sheet pans lined with parchment. You may need to do it in 2-4 batches depending on how much oven space you have. Let them cool completely before assembling the cake. Bake any rolled dough offcuts along with your disks. 

Ginger Syrup 

While your dough is chilling, heat syrup ingredients until they come to a simmer and let sit. When ready to use, remove ginger. Let cool.  

Lemon Cream 

Zest and juice the lemon. Beat cream, adding powdered sugar, until medium peaks, then whisk in lemon zest and juice, continuing to whip until peaks are stiff.  

Assembly 

Pulverize 2 of the disks and the baked scraps with a food processor into crumbs.  

Brush disks heavily with syrup. Let it absorb, then brush again to absorb. Place one disk on a plate. Spread 3 Tbsp of the cream on top – about 1/4”. Place the next disk on top and press down slightly, continuing with all seven disks. Drizzle the top with tea, then spread the cream. Repeat until you used seven biscuit discs. Spread the rest of the whipped cream on top and all around the sides of the cake. 

Pat the cake crumbs all over the top and the sides of the cake so they stick. Most important! Refrigerate for at least 12 hours before cutting into the cake so the layers have time to soften.  

Grilled Fava Beans

Grilling fava beans in their pods is simple and delicious. They get a subtle, smoky flavor that goes great with a squeeze of juice from a grilled lemon half.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds fresh fava beans, in pods
  • 2 ½ Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • 2 lemons, halved

Directions

  1. Toss fava beans in a large bowl, with olive oil and a few generous pinches of salt. Place lemon halves and beans in a single layer on your grill over medium heat
  2. Grill about 3-4 minutes until there are nice spots of char. Flip over and cook another 3-4 minutes. If pods start to burn, move them to a cooler spot on the grill to finish cooking.
  3. Transfer charred lemon and favas to serving place. Sprinkle with chile flakes or togarashi. To eat, tear open a pod, take a fava bean and pinch the skin to slide out the bright green beans. Be careful of the stream from the hot pod.

Strawberry Balsamic & Ricotta

We can’t get enough of this easy peasy treat that is healthy enough for breakfast and just sweet enough for dessert. When organic strawberries are in their prime, you’ll want to make this for loved ones and guests again and again. Shhh. Don’t tell mom how simple this is.

Ingredients

  1. 1 cup of Bellwether Farms Basket Ricotta to 1 Tbsp sugar, mixed  
  1. 1-quart strawberries, cut in chunks  
  1. Aged balsamic vinegar, we like Calolea (local!) 

Directions

Spread a thin layer of the ricotta mix on the bottom of your berry bowl. Drizzle a little of the balsamic. Add your strawberries and a nice spoonful of ricotta on top and drizzle with more balsamic. Makes enough for 4 – 6 people. Serve immediately.  

Dark Chocolate Truffles

Inspired by Chicago’s Fannie Mae’s Trinidads. Indulge your favorite mom or mom-figure with this easy recipe sure to please. She deserves it! Use the best quality chocolate you can find for these for the smoothest, more decadent results.

Ingredients

  • 7 oz dark chocolate chips, or if a block, chopped in small chunks or flaked
  • 6 oz heavy cream
  • 1 ½ Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 ½ lbs white chocolate
  • 6 oz dried, sweetened coconut
  •   
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Directions

Place the dark chocolate in a glass boil. Heat the cream until little bubbles form (on the stove vs. the microwave works best so you can watch.). Pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit for 30 seconds. Whisk until smooth. Add the butter and whisk until incorporated. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate, 3-4 hours or until very firm.

While the ganache cools in the fridge, toast your coconut in the toaster or regular oven at 325 degrees, 5-7 minutes until light brown. Let cool.

Melt 2/3 of the white chocolate in a glass bowl over a double boiler until just melted (about 113 degrees). Remove from heat and stir in the remainder of the chips. You can also use a microwave, but be careful not to burn, heating at 30 second, then 15 second intervals as the chocolate melts. Add the remaining 1/3 of the chocolate and stir in until melted. Stir in the coconut and let cool, until room temperature and thick (about 80 degrees).

While the chocolate is coming to temperature, scoop your dark chocolate ganache using a 1 Tbsp cookie scoop onto a parchment lined sheet. Using a spoon, dip each scoop into your coconut white chocolate, tapping the bottom of the fork to get any extra chocolate off the truffle (this prevents “legs” on the truffle and keeps it round) and place it on a fresh parchment lined sheet pan. Repeat with remaining truffles. Refrigerate until firm. Keeps 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Sweet Potato, Carrot & Apple Tsimmes

This traditional Ashkenazi stew is sometimes made with meat, but this one is all vegetarian. Sweet and comforting, it is a favorite served at Jewish holidays and my become a go-to at yours too. Feel free to sub out your favorite yam or Japanese sweet potato for the tried-and-trues.  

Ingredients

  • 5 carrots, peeled and sliced into ½” rounds  
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1” pieces  
  • 2 cups veggie broth 
  • 2 Granny Smith apples  
  • ¼ cup dried currants  
  • ¼ cup raisins  
  • ¼ cup dried apricots, chopped roughly  
  • ¼ cup mild flavored honey 
  • ½ tsp each salt and pepper  
  • 2 oranges, zested and juiced  
  • 2 Tbsp potato starch  
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil  

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In a saucepan over medium heat, cook carrots and sweet potatoes in the broth for about 10 minutes, until slightly tender. Remove from heat, drain.  

While the root veggies are cooking, peel and core the apples, cutting into ½” wedges. In a small bowl, mix the dried fruit, honey, juice and zest, salt and pepper and potato starch. Pour root veggies and apples into a casserole dish and pour juice/fruit mixture over. Drizzle olive oil over. Bake for 30 minutes or until crispy and golden.