High Holy Day baking time!!!
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High Holy Day baking time!!!

Hello fellow cookers and bakers, it is that time again… the High Holy Days are upon us. For the last 10 years or so, my friend Sue Kaminer and I get together to bake honey cake and mandel brot every year for the holidays. Like everything else, it has become a tradition. We switch homes each year, each one bringing along a blender, mixing bowls, and most important, baking pans. We share the ingredient list, with one of us going to the fruit store and the other to the grocery store. Over the years, some friends have joined us; they are welcome as long as they bring their own stuff!!!! Only once in all the years did we make a mistake with our honey cakes and they did not rise. I think we were too distracted having fun, laughing, and maybe drinking a glass of wine while we were mixing and left something out. The good news is that these recipes work so well, can be dairy or pareve, and can be frozen.

I am also including a recipe for Date Cake from a brand new book “The Kosher Baker” (Brandeis University Press/University Press of New England) by Paula Shoyer that will be released on Sept. 7. Watch for my review of this book with more than 160 dairy-free recipes, and a couple of more recipes for readers to enjoy on the “Keeping Kosher” page of The Jewish Standard, on Sept. 3.

Invite a friend to join you this year and start your own tradition baking together! I will have lots more High Holy Day recipes next week. In the meantime, get a head start on the baking.

Honey Cake

1 small orange
1 small lemon
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup sugar (brown or raw)
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup honey
1 cup coffee or 1 tbsp. coffee dissolved in one cup boiling water
3 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. each ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg
Optional: chopped or slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut orange and lemon and put in the blender. Add 4 eggs an blend until smooth. Cream sugar, honey, and oil in a large mixing bowl. Add the fruit and egg mixture and mix well. Add dry ingredients alternating with coffee, beating after each addition. Use 2 large loaf pans. Line bottom with parchment or waxed paper. Pour batter into pans and sprinkle with (optional) slivered almonds. Bake for one hour.

Mandel Brot

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. orange juice
1 1/2 cups chopped nuts, raisins, or chocolate chips (can get pareve ones)
3 1/2 cups flour
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
Mixture of cinnamon/sugar to sprinkle

Preheat oven to 350 degres. Spray cookie sheet with non-stick spray. Mix the eggs, sugar, and oil. Add the vanilla, orange juice, and chopped nuts (or raisins or chips). Add the flour, salt, and baking powder. Work well together. Shape into 5 strips and place on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove and cut into 1/2 inch slices on a diagonal. Do not separate. Bake for 15-20 minutes more. Let cool before slicing.

Date Cake

-from “The Kosher Baker”
Received from Limor Decter, whose mother-in-law, Barbara Decter Schlussel, makes it every Rosh HaShanah.

(Store covered in plastic at room temperature for up to five days or freeze wrapped in plastic for up to three months)

Spray oil for greasing pan
2 cups pitted dates
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup (1 stick) pareve margarine, melted
2 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch loaf pan with spray oil. Chop the dates roughly into 1/2 to 3/4 inch pieces. Place the chopped dates and boiling water in a large, heatproof bowl. Let sit 5 minutes. Mix in the melted margarine, eggs, flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the cake comes clean. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then remove to a rack to cool completely.

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