Thursday, December 29, 2011


Sambousek are mini pies filled with either meat, hummus or cheese. The origin is Middle Eastern and there are endless versions of these delicious little hand held pies. The recipes for the dough and fillings vary according to the country or group of people who make them. These are great to make and freeze, then all you have to do is take them out and reheat. I suggest reheating in the oven, but a very quick zap in the micro will do just fine. My husband likes taking one out for a quick ( and filling) breakfast each morning on his way to work.
The recipe I used is for a  pastry type dough with a cheese filling. You can play around with the fillings
(I did- I used basically what I had in the house, which was not exactly what the recipe called for, ,but  it worked out just fine). I had some leftover filling so I added some chopped olives and made another batch of dough for that. Mushrooms, mashed seasoned potatoes and a meat mixture are also a wonderful option for the filling. This recipe is adapted from the book "The Best of Micky Shemo", a wonderfully talented Israeli pastry chef.

before baking
after baking

 Here's the recipe: adapted from the original
( 25-30 sambousek)

500 grams ( 3 1/2 cups +1 tbsp.) flour
200 grams softened butter ( 1 cup)
1/2 tsp. salt
10 grams baking powder
180 ml. (3/4 cup) water 
80 ml. ( 1/3 cup) canola oil

250 grams feta cheese, finely grated
250 grams no fat soft cream cheese
1 egg+ 1 egg yolk (I just used one egg)
I also added a few gratings of fresh Parmesan cheese

 1 slightly beaten egg
 sesame seeds

How to:
1. Make the filling: 
    Mix all the ingredients to a smooth texture. Refrigerate.

2. Make the dough:
    Using the flat beater in a standing mixer, mix the flour, butter, salt, and baking powder to a crumbly    consistency. Add the oil and water and mix until the dough is smooth and uniform.
3.  Wrap the dough in nylon wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour (I found it had to be refrigerated for longer to achieve the proper consistency for rolling.)
4. Preheat oven to  170 C ( 340 F)

5.  Form and bake:
     Divide the dough into 25 -30 balls and cover with a kitchen towel to prevent from drying out. Roll out each ball into a circle about 1/2 cm . thick. Place a heaping teaspoon of  filling in the center and fold over in half. Secure the  edges by pinching and folding or rolling( sort of a braided look as you can see in the pictures). Mine didn't come out perfect but they held just fine.
Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush with egg and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
 6. Bake for 20 minutes until browned. (I found they needed more time , but that depends on your oven- just keep an eye on them)
7. Cool thoroughly and store in a  tightly closed container ( not in the fridge) only on the day of baking.
They can be frozen for up to a month. To serve, heat for a few minutes in a 170C oven.  



Monday, December 12, 2011

Cookie Chanukiya( menorah)

I got the idea of making a cookie chanukiya after seeing some 3 dimensional cookie creations on the web. The base is one big rectangle cookie, circle bases for the candles ( one group being higher than the rest , since that candle is called the "shamash" , or helper candle- it is the one you use to light all the other candles each night) and , of course candle cookies. It really didn't come out as I had envisioned it, but for a first try , it isn't that bad. At least I got the feel for it and now I know what I will do differently next time.
Getting back into the swing of cookie decorating , so hope to be posting more soon.
Happy Chanukah and Merry Christmas to all!
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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Honey Cinnamon Mousse Bavaria

This was a first try for a fairly involved and interesting tasting dessert. I didn't follow the recipe exactly and I probably should have. The taste was light, not too sweet and a nice change from the typical honey cake for Rosh Hashana. I like to play around with recipes, but I would go back to the original next time.

1st Birthday Cookies

she loves penguins!

candy for the birthday girl


balloons for Ronny

and baby elephants, too

already a year old!

baby animals

Halloween and other stuff

It's been months since my last post. Good reasons, mind you, but still... trying to get back into the habit of writing. I've made a lot of things in the past few months but have been very bad about taking pictures.Here are a few very recent things.
things that go bump in the night


candy corn, mummies and other Halloween stuff

Monday, May 30, 2011

Baby On the Way

Some cookies  for a colleague who is expecting in the fall and taking the next school year off. I did the basic covering in fondant and accented with royal icing, except for the letters on the blocks which were fondant cut outs too. As usual, had lots of fun doing them!
 Wishing her all the best!

baby blocks

baby bottles

rocking horse

Now that I think about it, I don't know why I label the pictures- I mean duh, you can tell what they are...!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Cakes and Cookies

I've been busy baking cakes lately. Some for friends' birthdays, some for actual paying orders ( how fun !). A few more to do this weekend- love every minute of it!
Milk Chocolate Malted Milk Ball Cake from Baked!

Devil's Food Whiteout Cake from Baking: From My Home to Yours
by Dorie Greenspan

Super Hero cookies for a birthday party

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sugar Baby

I've always wanted to explore the world of candy- beyond eating it, that is! I have to admit to being a sugar lover. Tried many times to kick the habit, but it's more powerful than me. I think , though, in recent years , I've at least managed to cut down my sugar intake, but what the heck- only pass this road called life once, and as long as I don't overdo it, I'll enjoy every last bite.
I came across this new book Sugarbaby, by the wonderful Gesine Bullock-Prado. It's not just a "cookbook"- she writes in a way that anyone can understand the workings and magic of sugar even if you've never(like me) dealt with it before ( other than in baking and that's really different). Her writing is humorous and fun to read. I ordered the book and when I received it, just sat down and read the whole thing from cover to cover. I continue to read it and learn more about working with sugar each time. You can check out Gesine's site for the book at She has a lots of extra tips and ideas that aren't in the book. She also has another great blog called Confections of a Closet Baker which is definitely worth following!

ANYHOO.... my first go at candy(this is the one I saw pictures of that made me buy the book.) Does anyone remember those bullseye caramel creams? I certainly do! Can't remember the brand name.
These Fleur de Sel Spirals are a vanilla cream fondant wrapped in a fleur de sel caramel. The caramel would be fantastic on it's own , but that touch of salt just takes it to a whole other level! Just like the original but 100x better. 
The process was nowhere near as difficult as I had imagined and I was soooo proud of myself! They came out great and I wrapped them individually in squares of waxed paper. Can't wait to try another project from the book. Enjoy!
Happy Mother's Day to all Mommies, Grandmas, mommies-to -be etc. ,etc.!!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Some of my recent stuff

Haven't had the chance to sit down and post lately-some husband hospital issues, but hopefully things will work out soon and health will return to this family.
 Just because I haven't posted, doesn't mean I haven't been busy( in between hospital visits, work, and whatever!) Actually, it's the baking and decorating that keeps me sane and gives me the relaxation and pleasure I need.
ballet slipper
ballet tutus and slippers
cake pops for a 2 year birthday

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cheese Mousse Cake

A few weekends ago, I had a Saturday morning brunch for Hubby's birthday. We were 16 people which meant a fair amount of food to prepare and of course the desserts were my specialty. In the midst of all the preparations, I didn't manage to get any photos of the table set up or the other things I made- I always remember after the last bite has been taken! But just BEFORE the last bite was taken on this cake, I  whipped out my camera - so at least it can be seen half eaten!
Also made homemade bagels, which I love, champagne cupcakes with a champagne frosting from the wonderful Sprinkle Bakes and chocolate bread rolls  ( which I can never decide if I want them during my meal or after- slathered with cream cheese!) I'll share the recipe for those sometime soon.

Anyhoo, the Cheese Mousse Cake was the finale and it was amazing, if I say so myself! I love anything with a cinnamon crumble top and even though it is called a cheese "mousse" , it is really just a version of a cheesecake.

The crust is the same as the  crumble topping, just baked in a ring form in advance.

                                        Crumbs before being baked.

                                The final result shortly before it disappeared!

If you'd like to give it a try, here's the how-to:

Ingredients ( for a 24 cm. ring)
Base and crumble topping:
250 grams flour
5 grams baking powder
2 grams cinnamon
100 grams demarra sugar
200 grams cold unsalted butter
1 egg

Make the crumble and base:
1. Heat oven to 180 C ( 350 F).
2. In a food processor with the sharp blade, mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon, sugar and butter to a crumbly mixture.
3. Add the egg and continue processiing until you get a dough that has large, moist crumbs.
4. Take 2/3 of the dough and roll into a leaf  the size of the ring. You can roll it a bit larger and then use the ring to cut the exact size. Place the dough with the ring around it on a baking sheet and pierce holes in it with a fork.
5. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
6. Place the remainder of the crumb dough on a baking sheet and bake together with the base for 15-20 minutes. Cool

Cheese Filling:
300 ml milk
teaspoon vanilla paste
4 egg yolks mixed together with 100 grams sugar
15 grams flour
25 grams cornflour
4 gelatin leaves ( or 16 grams of gelatin powder)
500 grams cream cheese

500 ml. heavy cream
150 grams sugar

Prepare a cream patisserie with all the ingredients except the cheese:
Soak the gelatin in cold water.
Heat the milk to boiling.
Add the cornflour and flour to the egg yolks mixed with the sugar.
Add a small amount of the milk to the egg and stir constantly to even the temperatures, return to pot to thicken.
It's very important to stir it all the time. When you see three or four bubbles, add the softened gelatin and mix to melt.
Pour the mix into a  stand mixer bowl and stir to cool slowly.
When cooled , add the cheese and continue mixing until incorporated.
In a separte bowl, whip 500 ml. of heavy cream with 150 grams of sugar until very thick. Fold the whipped cream into the cheese mixture until fully incorporated.
Pour the mix into the ring with the crumb base.
Cover the top with the remaining crumbs and  press down firmly.
Place in freezer to set for at least 6 hours.
2-3 hours before serving, place in the refrigerator.
Dust with powdered sugar right before serving. Cut with a sharp knife dipped in hot water.

Sounds a bit complicated, but it's really not- just a few steps and worth the effort!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Valentine's Day Cookies

 Here are some Valentine's day cookies I made just for practice. I'll give them to family and friends. One of these days I'll get myself organized and start to sell them, but until then, I just look for opportunities to bake and decorate!

    pink tinted heart meringues
(had so many leftover egg whites and I refuse to throw them away!)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Farm Stand Buttermilk Doughnuts(3 ways)

It's not Sunday morning where I live , but at least I'm getting this post out before Sunday is over!
So- I finally got the book "Baked Explorations" by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. I have their first book, "Baked: New Frontiers in Baking" which I absolutely love. When I heard about this group "Baked Sunday Mornings" that would be baking from the second book, I knew I had to join in.
These doughnuts are amazing! I was a bit concerned at first, since I am not a fan of frying things. But on the other hand, I am a major fan of doughnuts so I took the plunge! I was pleasantly surprised to find the recipe quite easy and the frying wasn't that bad at all. I thought the doughnuts might come out too greasy, but ..... man oh man are they delicious- not greasy at all and sooooo worth the time and effort ( which , as I said  wasn't that bad.). I rolled the doughnut holes in cinnamon sugar and dipped the doughnuts in a white or chocolate glaze, topped with the opposite color sprinkles. You can find the recipe on Baked Sunday Mornings, but believe me, the book is definitely worth adding to your shelf!