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Red Velvet Hamantaschen

The Jewish festival of Purim celebrates the defeat of Haman’s plot of destroy the Jews in ancient Persia as recorded in the book of Esther. It is a happy holiday with costumes and celebrations. My favorite part is the food, of course, particularly the hamantaschen. Hamantaschen are triangular pastries, traditionally filled with poppy seeds, but now they come in a wide variety of flavors. The triangular appearance of these yummy treats may originate from the shape of Haman’s hat. Purim is also associated with the gifting of food, mishloach manot, and hamantaschen are usually part of the package. I have fond memories of my grandmother mailing us a shoebox stuffed with hamantaschen each year, with filling flavors including peanut butter, cream cheese, apricot, and raspberry. It was always such a treat!

Hamantaschen

In order to build up a big stash of hamantaschen to gift, I got together with a few friends this weekend and we, along with our young kids to “help,”, made 5 different types of hamantaschen ranging from traditional fruit filled, to rainbow (super gorgeous and impressive), to black and white (yummy but not so triangular) to red velvet. The Red Velvet Hamantaschen were a last minute addition to our repertoire but were a perfect foil to my grandmother’s traditional cream cheese filling, looked gorgeous, and tasted great. And let’s be real, I just moved back to the south, so everything needs to be red velvet, right?

Red Velvet Hamantaschen

Some general pointers for Red Velvet Hamantaschen and hamantaschen in general:

  • Refrigerate the dough before trying to roll it out. It makes it less sticky and you want the dough to be fairly cold when you bake it so it holds it shape and doesn’t spread out everywhere, because spreading dough causes spreading topping and those usually aren’t so triangular.
  • Do not overfill your hamantaschen. It is tempting to pile in the filling. Restrain yourself. Otherwise it’ll leak out and make a big mess on your cookie sheet.
  • For the red velvet goodies, roll out the dough on a cutting board or parchment paper. You don’t want to risk the red food dye staining your counter. Or your hands…just be careful during the preparing the dough process. I didn’t have much trouble with red hands while rolling out the dough.
  • Make sure the hamantaschen sides are well sealed before baking. You can use the “pinch” method or the “fold” method to seal the edges but just do something to prevent the filling from leaking.

Hamantaschen

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Red Velvet Hamantaschen (adapted from The Holiday Kosher Baker)

Yield: 18-24 hamantaschen

Ingredients for Dough:

3 eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/2 teaspoons red gel food coloring

3 cups all-purpose flour (plus extra for rolling out the dough)

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

Pinch of salt

Ingredients for Filling:

1/2 pound (8 oz. block) cream cheese

1 egg yolk

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, oil, and vanilla. Add in the food coloring and mix until well blended and the color is uniform throughout.
  2. Add in the flour, cocoa, and mix until combined.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  4. Meanwhile, make the filling by mixing together all of the ingredients until well blended. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes prior to using.
  5. After an hour, remove the dough from the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line 2 cookie sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
  6. On a cutting board or parchment paper sprinkled lightly with flour, roll out the dough until about 1/4-inch thick. Turn over the dough at least once while rolling it out to make sure it’s not sticking too much underneath.
  7. Using a 2-3 inch diameter drinking glass or cookie cutter, cut the dough into circles. Collect the scraps and roll out again to make more circles until all the dough is used up. Place about 1 teaspoon of cream cheese filling in the center of each circle.
  8. Fold the 3 sides into the middle to form a triangle, making sure to pinch carefully along each edge to avoid leaking filling.
  9. Bake for 14-16 minutes until the cookies are set. Carefully transfer to cooling racks.
  10. Store in airtight containers at room temperature. Can also be frozen for several months.

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Red Velvet Molten Lava Cake with Cream Cheese Ice Cream

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I’ve been working on several treats to fit the theme of the day. You’ve already read about Spiced Chocolate Ice Cream and “Go Red” for Heart Health Snack Mix and there are more coming up this week. But this one here is the piece de resistance. Since I’m currently living south of the Mason-Dixon, what could be a more iconic red dessert than red velvet cake?

Red Velvet Molten Lava Cake with Cream Cheese Ice Cream

I’ve made red velvet before, with okay results. The color is usually gorgeous but sometimes it’s just too dry for my liking. Making a molten lava cake definitely bypasses that issue! The ooey gooey cake batter just flowed, once releasing the individual cakes from their ramekins.

For me, though, the frosting makes the cake, not just for red velvet cakes, but for all cakes. It’s not infrequent that I’ll lick the frosting off a cupcake, just to chuck the rest of cake because it’s too dry or bland. So I knew I had to highlight the classic cream cheese frosting flavors that red velvet is also known for. As you know, I love making my own ice cream and trying out new flavors. And the cool creamy consistency of ice cream is the perfect match for molten lava cake batter!

Cream Cheese Ice Cream

So here’s a recipe for rich amazingly delicious Red Velvet Molten Lava Cakes to be paired with Cream Cheese Ice Cream. Both are easy and not too time consuming to prepare, though I recommend making the ice cream in advance since it can be tough for ice cream freezers to work well in a warm kitchen, which might happen when heating up your oven to bake the cakes. If you make them concurrently, plan out your timing well, because you want to serve the cakes as soon as they’re ready and not be waiting around for ice cream to freeze while the molten lava solidifies!

Melt together white chocolate and butter, then add sugar and cocoa powder. Slow add in to beaten eggs.

Melt together white chocolate and butter, then add sugar and cocoa powder. Slow add in to beaten eggs.

Add in red food coloring and flour

Add in red food coloring and flour

Divide into 4 ramekins

Divide into 4 ramekins

Bake at 400F for 15 minutes

Bake at 400F for 15 minutes

Run a knife around the edges then carefully invert the ramekin onto a dish. Let sit for 2 minutes then remove

Run a knife around the edges then carefully invert the ramekin onto a dish. Let sit for 2 minutes then remove

This is a gorgeous treat to cap off your Valentine’s Day dinner. Enjoy!

Red Velvet Molten Lava Cake with Cream Cheese Ice Cream

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Red Velvet Molten Lava Cakes with Cream Cheese Ice Cream (adapted from thespiffycookie.com and Epicurious.com)

Yield: 4 individual serving cakes and 1 quart ice cream

For the cakes:

6 ounces white baking chocolate

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the ramekins

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons red food coloring

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

pinch of salt

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. In a microwave safe bowl, melt the white chocolate and butter until smooth. This will take approximately 2 minutes; stop the microwave to stir every 20-30 seconds to avoid burning. While the chocolate and butter are melting, use the remaining butter to thoroughly grease the ramekins.

2. Add in the cocoa powder and sugar and stir until combined.

3. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs. Add in a small amount of the chocolate mixture and stir together to allow the eggs to warm slowly (temper) to avoid scrambling. Repeat 2-3 more times then add in the remaining chocolate batter and stir until fully combined.

4. Stir in the red food coloring, flour, and pinch of salt. Divide the batter among 4 well greased 3/4-1 cup ramekins.

5. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and run a knife around the edges right away. Invert each ramekin onto an individual serving plate and let sit for 2 minutes, then carefully lift up the ramekin. Top with cream cheese ice cream (or whipped cream) to serve.

For the ice cream:

Cream Cheese Ice Cream

Yield: 1 quart

8 ounces neufchatel cheese (lowfat cream cheese), softened

1 cup skim milk

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

3/4 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions:

1. In the bowl of an electric mixture with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, milk, lemon juice, sugar, and salt until smooth. Then pour in the heavy cream and beat on low speed until just combined. You can also do this step with a blender or food processor.

2. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and freezer according to manufacturer’s directions. Transfer to a freezer-safe container to store. Let come slightly to room temperature before topping the Red Velvet Molten Lava Cakes.

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