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Cover: Founding Flavors

Recipes with Jam

28Oct 12

What Does 100 Years of Existence Get You? Unforgettable Rugelach!

While last week’s blog entry focused on the Founding Flavors’ discovery of Tel Aviv’s Vaniglia ice cream shop, today I’m focusing my attention on an equally enticing sweet shop called Said Abuelafia & Sons bakery.  This bakery—located in Jaffa, a southern suburb of Tel Aviv—has been around since the late 1800s.  Given Jaffa’s 4,000 years of existence, this could technically place Abuelafia among a list of newcomers!  Once you arrive at this outdoor bakery and swoon over its mouth-watering selection of savory and sweet pastries, you quickly understand why customers have been lured back to this establishment for over a hundred years.

After a little assistance from the staff, I opted for dibla, awwami, and rugelach.  The dibla is best described as a pastry that has a crunchy texture with a slightly sweet taste and is topped off with sesame seeds.  While I’m glad I tried this pastry, I did feel like I’d wasted by calories on a treat that was not very flavorful.  Next, came the awwami, which is a donut ball that is offered with or without jelly filling.  My overall impression… that which we call a donut ball by any other name would taste as sweet.  Don’t get me wrong, the awwami was delicious but I was looking for something that had a combination of ‘to die for amazing’ and unique to Israel.

That is when I tried the rugelach.  And, hands down, the rugelach at Abuelafia has the Founding Flavors’ stamp of approval because it is one of the best rugelach that I have ever tasted.  In addition to a delectable blend of chocolate and cinnamon, there are three things that stand out about their rugelach.  First, the overall appearance of the rugelach, which is displayed in large mounds and perfectly lined with chocolate or jam filled swirls.  Second, the size of the rugelach is large enough to hold you over until lunch or dinner but not so small that you keep craving more as you tour around the area.  Third, the consistency of the rugelach is substantial, chewy, and not overly drenched in syrups or honey.  This is particularly key as a tourist because the last thing you want is to be strolling around Tel Aviv eating rugelach and then be left with a sticky hand and no conveniently located area to wash up.

Said Abuelafia & Sons bakery is a pastry establishment that is definitely worth a visit.   If you’re ever in Jaffa, head towards 7 Yefet Street, one block behind the Jaffa clock-tower, and you will not miss it.  Abuelafia’s rugelach was so amazing that it left me wanting to try my hand at making some on my own.  So, stay tuned for next week’s blog entry on making rugelach!


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01Oct 12

Mastering the Linzer Cookie

So, the original plan was to wow you with my natural baking talent but that, of course, was before I’d actually delved into making Linzer cookies.  Ahhhh, where to start. Perhaps, with the burning of the hazelnuts during the blanching process, a step needed to remove the skin off the nuts? Or, maybe after I pulled out my Linzer cookie dough from the refrigerator only to find that it was thoroughly stuck onto the pan and only a crowbar could remove it. And, how could I forget the electricity outage! When did this happen do you ask? That’s right, right in the middle of the baking process!  And so there I was in the middle of my pitch-dark kitchen at ten in the evening, just me and the Linzers, when I realized something. They were delicious! Yes, a little too moist…okay, mushy but they were actually quite tasty. All I needed now was a few tweaks here and there and the electricity gods to show me some pity. So, after a few more rounds, I finally felt comfortable with my Linzer cookies.

Here is what I learned:

First, after my first attempt at the cookies, I decided that I did not particularly care for certain ingredients listed in the recipe I found, such as ground cloves. While the addition of this spice was not bad it made the cookie taste like a Christmas treat, which is delicious during the holidays but not necessarily a taste I want to have in August!

Second, the original recipe also called for the use of hazelnuts. While the recipe actually stated that I needed to toast my hazelnuts in the oven at 400°F for 10 minutes, I found that in order to avoid burning the nuts it was better to set the temperature to 350°F and only bake the hazelnuts for 6 minutes. This, of course, could depend on your oven and climate but a lower temperature and less time worked best for me.

Third, when I used my food processor to grind the hazelnuts, the nuts were still too coarse, which made it difficult to roll out the dough. Consequently, I made a new batch of dough using almonds instead and found that not only was it easier to finely grind these nuts but I also preferred the overall taste of the dough.

Fourth, when making the jam filling, the recipe called for bringing sugar and jam to a boil. While this filling was yummy, for a fresher taste, I substituted blueberries for jam to create a filling that was just as delicious and easy to make.

Still intrigued and want to try it out? Check out my recipe below.


Mastering the Linzer Cookie
Recipe type: Cookies
  • Linzer dough:
  • Almonds, finely grinded: ⅓ cup
  • Bread flour: ½ cup
  • Butter: 8 tablespoons
  • Cinnamon: ½ teaspoon
  • Egg yolks: 1½
  • Linzer filling:
  • Blueberries: 1½ cups
  • Sugar: ⅓ cup
  1. Mix butter, eggs, and sugar in a bowl.
  2. Then add in the bread flour, cinnamon, and almonds. Once all ingredients are mixed together, remove the dough from the bowl, cover in plastic saran wrap, and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour.
  3. While the Linzer dough is in the refrigerator, add the blueberries and sugar into a saucepan and bring them to a simmer using low heat. Allow the mixture to simmer for two to three minutes before removing the pan from the heat.
  4. Take the blueberry filling in the saucepan and sift it through a strainer so that you are left with the liquid portion only.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 325°F.
  6. Remove the Linzer dough from the refrigerator and roll it out. Use Linzer cookie cutters to create both sides of the cookie and place them on a cookie sheet.
  7. Bake cookies for 12-15 minutes and then allow cookies to cool completely.
  8. Place a teaspoon of blueberry filling on the cookie side that does not have a hole and then gently place the cookie side with a hole on top. (Optional: You can dip the cookie side with a hole in powdered sugar before placing in on top of the jam filling.)


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