Sunday, September 26, 2010

High Cookie Season is Here!

In case you didn't know, October is National Cookie Month.  It seems appropriate to me because October is the beginning of some great cookie holidays!  We debut the Halloween Cookie Collection Friday, Oct 1st.

Oct 1st is also very special because we will have our official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the bakery.  Click here for more information.  I hope to see you on Friday!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

"Ojarascas" By Another Name

I have to confess.  Some of our best cookie ideas come directly from our customers.  When our bakery opened on June 22, a customer came to me to "talk cookies."  The subject turned to one of her favorites called "Ojarascas."  I had never heard of this cookie.

Well, within a few weeks she returned with samples from a local Mexican bakery!  It was a heart-shaped, thick cut cinnamon-flavored shortbread cookie.  I loved it!  I told my friends about it and they never heard of it.  But, after I described it, my friend, Adam, said, "Oh, you mean 'Pan de Polvo.'  We get'em in the valley.  I'll pick up some next time I visit mom."

Well, I couldn't wait for Adam or his mom.  After a little homework and several trials, I came up with the MCJ version of Ojarascas, aka Pan de Polvo.

Now, I'll be the first to admit that I'm never sure about the authenticity of my ethnic flavors, but as long as it's made with butter and tastes great, well, I'm pretty satisfied.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Sweets for the New Year

As the Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashanah approaches, we have perfected some traditional sweets.  We've added to our repertoire three types of rugelach: choc/raspberry, apricot/walnut and chocolate.  We're also offering decorated apple-shaped cookies.  I'm really proud of our rugelach because many recipe trials were conducted to obtain a flavor and shape that was something truly special. 

Rugelach is special for many culinary reasons.  It has a truly unique shape and flavor.  Rolled up like a small croissant, it stands out from the more traditional flat or round cookies.  Also, the dough is a flaky cream cheese based dough which has very little sugar.  The sweetness comes from the filling and sugar sprinkled on top.  Even with this added sugar, rugelach is not an overly sweet pastry. 

Lastly, rugelach takes a bit of practice and craftsmanship to make.  The dough is very delicate and must be handled gingerly to obtain a flaky cookie.  And since there is little sugar in rugelach, baking times tend to be longer. 

A dear friend of mine (who happens to be orthodox Jew) brought me some authentic rugelach from Israel last year.  One of the desired qualities was a slightly raw center.  This is not difficult to achieve because rugelach is a dense pastry that does not rise very much.  I was not really in favor of undercooked dough (that wasn't even very sweet), so we tend to bake ours a little longer to achieve a more fully cooked center. 

I encourage you to try this yummy pastry for the Jewish New Year (or any time of the year!).