Home Food The Shabbat table: School break? Time to bake!

The Shabbat table: School break? Time to bake!

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Good Shabbos, Shabbat Shalom! Family Day is observed in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick on the third Monday of February. The kids will be home from school and baking with them is a wonderful way to keep them occupied.

Purim is also quickly approaching, so check out the creative selection of heavenly hamantashen from cookbook author and food writer Leah Koenig, including some terrific tips on how to shape and fill them.

Here are some super ideas for creative gift baskets for Purim that you can make with your kids, from Rise’ Routenberg and Barbara Wasser’s award-winning cookbook, Divine Kosher Cuisine: Catering to Family & Friends.

One of my readers, Sheila Jacobson, recently emailed me her recipe for apple Brown Betty, also known as apple crisp. Sheila wrote that: “I was educated in Anglican private schools in Westmount, in Montreal, and we had apple Brown Betty about once a week, as dessert after lunch, and everyone just loved it. I thought I’d bring some sweet joy to school kids for the approaching Family Day long weekend, or for when they come home after school during this very cold and long, tiring winter we’re now having.”

Apple Brown Betty

Apple Brown Betty (Foodista/flickr/CC BY 2.0)

Shared by Sheila Jacobson

Crisp Topping:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/16 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/16 tsp. ground mace
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cubed, chilled unsalted butter

Apple Filling:

  • 6 cups peeled, cored and sliced apples (use a mix of apple varieties – Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Honey Crisp, Braeburn, McIntosh, etc.)
  • 2-3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (juice of about 1 lemon)
  • 3/4 cup beige sugar (organic cane sugar), or granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 8 tsp. cornstarch (2 tbsp. + 2 tsp.)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp. ground mace
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup cubed, chilled, unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 375 F. Generously butter an 8” x 8” glass baking pan; put it in fridge to keep cold.

Topping: In a large bowl, combine flour, sugars, spices, baking powder and salt. Cut in chilled butter cubes with a pastry cutter, or just rub in with your fingers till it looks “crumbly.” Place topping in fridge to keep cold while making filling.

Filling: Slice apples about 1/8-inch thick. Place in a large bowl and toss with lemon juice. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, mix both sugars, cornstarch, spices and salt. Pour mixture over sliced apples and toss with your fingers till apples are evenly coated. Add butter cubes and spread evenly through apple mixture.

Assembly: Pour apple filling into chilled baking pan and spread evenly. Spread chilled topping evenly over apple filling.

Bake on middle rack of oven for about 55–60 minutes, until golden.

Let apple crisp cool to room temperature, or serve warm with either vanilla ice cream, sweetened whipped cream or plain.

Serves 4-6


The recipe for these addictive, crunchy cookies comes from my “pan-pal,” Cori Freedman. I was visiting my daughter and her family in Richmond, B.C., and we were out for dinner at a Chinese restaurant. Cori Freedman and her family stopped by our table to chat for a few minutes. After the meal, they stopped by once again. Freedman reached into her purse and gave each of us one of these yummy cookies from her “bubbe bag.”

Freedman said that, “These are the cookies that my grandchildren adore, so I always bring them along with me to give to them as a special treat when we go out for dinner together.” She told me that she discovered the recipe in a magazine advertisement and adapted it to make in her food processor. She continued: “I hope your family (and your readers) enjoy these cookies as much as mine does!”

Cori’s toffee chocolate almond crunchies

Almond chocolate chip cookies (Whitney/flickr/CC BY 2.0)

Shared by Cori Freedman

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 pkg. (200 g) Skor toffee bits
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, if desired

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a food processor, process butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and egg together until smooth. Add flour, baking powder and salt; process until blended. Blend in vanilla.

Remove mixture from processor bowl and transfer it to a large mixing bowl. Stir in oats, toffee bits, chocolate chips, almonds and dried cranberries, if using, until well combined. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets.

Bake on the middle rack for eight to 12 minutes, or until light golden. Cool for five minutes on sheet, then transfer to rack and cool completely.

Makes about four dozen. Freezes well.


Norene Gilletz is the leading author of kosher cookbooks in Canada. She is the author of 12 cookbooks and divides her time between work as a food writer, food manufacturer, consultant, spokesperson, cooking instructor, lecturer and cookbook editor. Norene lives in Toronto and her motto is, “Food that’s good for you should taste good!” For more information, visit her website, or email her.

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Norene Gilletz
Norene Gilletz is the leading author of kosher cookbooks in Canada. She is a food writer, food manufacturer, consultant, spokesperson, cooking instructor, lecturer, cookbook editor and now a podcaster. Norene lives in Toronto and her motto is “Food that’s good for you should taste good!” For more information, visit her website at gourmania.com..