Easy Jam and Almond Hamantaschen Cookies

Tender almond shortbread filled with beautiful, juicy jam – Hamantaschen time is here again! Choose your adventure – sweet raspberry with a hint of herbaceous basil? Creamy goat cheese with thyme-infused fig? Or do like I did and make both! #TeamBoth

My previous recipes have used everything from traditional poppy seed fillings, to vegan approaches to making these classic cookies, to all-natural supernatural colors! And this year is all about jam!

I’m working with beautiful jams gifted by Jamnation – a company dedicated to using local fruit and sustainable, Fair Trade certified ingredients to make unique jams. They use less sugar and more fruit, so their jams pack a serious punch of fruity goodness! I was lucky enough to meet their founder, Gillian, a few years ago at a tasting of the Jamnation jams at my favorite local market. The fruit flavors were clear and vibrant, and we had a nice chat. Last year Jamnation’s Razzle Bazzle won a Good Food award and I got in touch to congratulate them. One thing led to another, and Gillian very kindly sent a box of jams for me to experiment with.

All this is to say that this post has been a long time coming! Thank you to Gillian and Jamnation for their generosity and patience! You can order their jams online, and shipping is a flat rate of $7. I highly recommend stocking up on their special jams – since receiving the gifted package I have bought several jars for myself.

My mission was to do right by these beautiful preserves, and I brainstormed a few options – chocolate dough, layering, dipping, garnishing! And I landed on Uri Scheft’s gorgeous rich almond shortbread dough. Uri is a renowned and award-winning baker, and owner of Lehamin Bakery in Israel. I’ll tell my Uri Scheft stories another time, but suffice to say, he is kind and his creations are an inspiration! If you’ve had the famous babka from Breads Bakery in New York, you have enjoyed Uri’s expertise.

The shortbread crust is different from my usual Hamantaschen pastry – still flexible and bakes up beautifully. With the Jamnation jams tucked inside, these Hamantaschen baked up like jam hand pies – sturdy but tender, rich pastry with a soft fruity filling. For Good Food award-winning Razzle Bazzle, I let the raspberry and basil jam sing solo inside the crust. The other jam I used was Can You Fig It – fig with thyme, and I paired it with a creamy goat cheese. The cheese makes it more an appetizer, one I would be delighted to serve at a Purim cocktail party. Either way, you can’t go wrong!

This recipe is easy, especially because the tasks can be split up with the dough and cookies resting in the fridge. I hope you love them as much as I do!

Hanukkah 2019 Guide – Cards

Nosherium Hanukkah Card Round Up 2019

Every year brings more and more beautiful Jewish design. I like to order several cards each year, then try to remember to send or give them to friends. Check out some of my favorite Hanukkah and holiday greeting cards, many have Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday discounts. Click on the photos to get more information and to purchase cards of your own!

Let me know in the comments if you are or know of a great independent artist making Hanukkah items, I always love learning more!

Morris Essex hand drawn blue Hanukkah card
Rifle Paper Co. Silver Hanukkah card

Olive Oil Chocolate Cupcakes and #WeeknightBakingBook

Nosherium Olive Oil Chocolate Cupcakes #WeeknightBakingBook Hanukkah Olive and Gold Decorations

Years ago, before I started this blog, started reading Hummingbird High. It’s a baking blog with beautiful recipes, photography, and prose by Michelle Lopez. I found myself making her recipes, marveling at her cake decorating skills, and asking many questions of her. She was generous with her time and always inspired me – I absolutely relied on her excellent guides to Portland, OR when I visited several years ago.

Nosherium Olive Oil Chocolate Cupcakes #WeeknightBakingBook Hanukkah Gold Decorations
Nosherium Olive Oil Chocolate Cupcakes #WeeknightBakingBook Book Cover Flatlay

Michelle’s new book, Weeknight Baking: Recipes to Fit Your Schedule shows how to fit baking into a busy, 21st century life – short and simple recipes as well as more involved recipes in manageable steps over the course of a few evenings. I am deeply touched and honored to have received an early copy of the book to share and explore. The condition of me receiving this book was simple – share the recipes and book!

I made several recipes and shared the epic Pumpkin Bread on my Instagram, and followed the #WeeknightBakingBook hashtag to see what other people were making from the book. It makes me hungry, and so heartened to see people coming together to promote this beautiful work.

Nosherium Olive Oil Chocolate Cupcakes #WeeknightBakingBook Book Mixer

Today I’m sharing my version of the chocolate cake recipe with a #Hanukkah twist! This year Hanukkah starts on December 22nd and continues until December 30 – overlapping nicely with Christmas, and letting up in time for New Years. In past years, I’ve shared some less common recipes and approaches to celebrating Hanukkah – no latke recipes, no doughnut recipes… yet. We did Olio Nuovo Olive Oil Tasting, Frying-Free Hanukkah, shopping guides, latke round-up, as well as olive oil-centric recipes like a fresh Green Bean and Pomegranate Salad and Zesty Lemon Olive Oil Cake.

Nosherium Olive Oil Chocolate Cupcakes #WeeknightBakingBook Hanukkah Olive Leaves and Gold

The Weeknight Baking book is divided into categories – cookies, loaf cakes, bars, cakes, frostings, etc. Each of the categories has suggestions and instructions to help the busy baker, and there are reference chapters about ingredients, shortcuts, equipment, and substitutions. The substitutions came in handy when I realized I didn’t have (or really want to have) cake flour in the house. Michelle’s *mathmagical* formula let me use all-purpose flour instead.

The #vegan recipes are especially exciting because of how Michelle approached their development with her admirable curiosity. Additionally, each recipe includes suggestions for ingredient and flavoring tweaks – everything from different spices to how to get tahini in to more things (my life’s goal!).

Nosherium Olive Oil Chocolate Cupcakes #WeeknightBakingBook Hanukkah Gold Coin Sprinkles

Every year, I look for a new way to celebrate #Hanukkah’s miracle ingredient – olive oil. This year we have tender chocolate cupcakes featuring my beloved California olive oil with an easy chocolate buttercream. I decorated them with gold sprinkles, disks, and sugar to reference the rededicated temple of the Hanukkah story and the traditional, extremely noshable gelt coins. The mix of sprinkles I bought was pretty, but included tooth-challenging sugar balls, so I linked to another option above and in the recipe. A glitzier option would be using gold cupcake liners instead of the yellow ones I used.

In the spirit of Hanukkah’s story of liberation and self-determination, the cocoa products used in this recipe are fair trade or similarly certified. It’s getting easier to find ethically certified products, and I love featuring them here. If you’re looking for fair trade chocolate coins for the holiday and competitive dreidel, here here here here! They are all delicious!

Nosherium Olive Oil Chocolate Cupcakes #WeeknightBakingBook Frosting Square

A little confession: this is the first time I have made impressive-looking frosting. The chocolate buttercream frosting in Weeknight Baking is so straightforward, so easy, and so delicious! I piped blobs onto the fully-cooled cupcakes then used a tiny spoon dipped in hot water to spread it out from the center. It took as few tries, but I got pretty good at it!

Nosherium Olive Oil Chocolate Cupcakes #WeeknightBakingBook Hanukkah Olive and Gold Decorations
Nosherium Olive Oil Chocolate Cupcakes #WeeknightBakingBook Hanukkah Olive Leaves and Gold

These cupcake are perfect whether you are celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Solstice, Festivus, or just feeling like enjoying some tender, beautiful cake! Happy holidays, and happy cake days to you!

Round-Up: May 18th

Mirabelle Plum Afternoon Tea Cake

Happy Saturday! I hope your weekend is full of delicious food and good company. Here are some of the articles and posts I’ve been enjoying!

Mirabelle Plum Afternoon Tea Cake
I just made my Plum Delicious Torte recipe with strawberries from CSA box!
Gluten Free Nosherium Apricot Honey Fajitas with ZSpecialty
Honey Apricot Fajitas are one of my favorite dinners, check out my recipe!
I’ve been trying to choose a shelf for our hallway bathroom. Both of these Urban Outfitter options are contenders – the Modern Shelf would be cute in blue, and the large Triangle Shelf would be nice and shallow.
Beauty Products! I’ve been loving the Beta Hydroxy Acid and Lactic Acid from The Inkey List at Sephora – affordable and simple. I’ve also been testing a gentle exfoliating cleanser from Lush, and a the Algenist Vitamin C+ Serum.