Non-traditional sweets to break the fast

Photo by Keri White

In many Sephardic cultures, the first bite to break the fast is traditionally something sweet — a piece of cake, dried fruit, sugared nuts, a spoonful of jam or a milky, sweet drink made from an infusion of rosewater and toasted seeds.

Some Ashkenazi Jews serve zimsterne, a star-shaped spice cookie, to start their break-fast.

Today’s column takes that theme and varies it a bit, featuring three different cookie recipes for your Yom Kippur buffet: white chocolate coconut raspberry jam cookies, flourless chocolate chocolate chip cookies and pecan snowball cookies.

White Chocolate Coconut and Raspberry Jam Cookies

Makes 3-4 dozen cookies
Even though they seem to be a variation on simple, homey chocolate chip cookies, these cookies are incredibly rich and sophisticated. They are also pretty, with the ribbon of raspberry jam running through each one.

Some people don’t like chocolate or coconut — this is mystifying but true nonetheless. In such cases, you can omit the coconut and dark chocolate and double the white chips.

2½ cups flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 stick butter at room temperature
¼ cup sour cream
½ cup granulated sugar
1½ cups brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon almond extract
¾ cup white chocolate chips
¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup sweetened, flaked coconut

4 tablespoons raspberry jam
¼ cup of white chocolate chips

Make the batter: Cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.

Add the egg and vanilla; mix, then add the sour cream and mix well.

Add the dry ingredients and mix. Add the chocolate chips.

Make the swirl: In a heatproof bowl, melt ¼ cup of white chocolate chips in a microwave oven on 30 percent power for 1 minute. Watch it carefully; white chocolate can burn easily.

Once melted, add the raspberry jam and mix well.

Put them together: Add about 1 tablespoon of the jam mixture in various spots throughout the dough in the bowl and just barely fold it in. Do not to overmix the jam into the dough, or your dough will turn pink. You want more of a swirl effect, so once that is achieved, stop mixing.

Drop the mixture by spoonfuls onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet, flatten slightly and place in a 350-degree oven for 10-12 minutes. Repeat the second step in batches until all the dough is used.


Flourless Double Chocolate Cookies

Makes about 18 cookies
These are so rich and delicious, they elevate the mere cookie to something really special. Be sure not to overmix or overbake as that will impact the texture.

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
½ stick butter
1 egg
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar
¼ cup cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup chopped walnuts

Heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Melt ½ cup of the chocolate chips and the butter in a microwave-safe bowl at 50 percent power.

Remove it from the heat and whisk in the egg, sugar, cocoa powder and baking powder.

Add the remaining chocolate chips and nuts.

Drop the mixture by spoonfuls onto a parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

Leave the cookies on the sheet for 5 more minutes after baking.


Pecan Snowball Cookies

Makes 3 dozen cookies
These humble round cookies are an oldie but a goodie; every time I make them, someone asks for the recipe. Rolling them in powdered sugar twice may seem like a pain, but it is worth it. The first pass brings some additional sweetness; it almost melts the sugar to the cookie. The second pass, after the cookies cool, makes them look pretty with the dusting of powdered sugar.

1 cup butter, softened
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2¼ cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cups finely chopped pecans
¾ teaspoon baking soda
Additional powdered sugar for coating cookies

Heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Cream together the butter, powdered sugar and vanilla.

Mix the remaining ingredients together and add to the butter mixture; continue mixing until dough holds together.

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls, and place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes — do not allow the cookies to brown.

While the cookies are still warm, roll them in powdered sugar. When they cool, roll them in powdered sugar again.

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