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Sweet finger food for Hanukkah tea parties

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Hanukkah is around the corner and it doesn’t matter how old you are, there is something about the holiday that brings out the kid in all of us.

We all have memories of specific Hanukkah traditions that took place in the home we shared with our parents. When I was growing up, tea parties meant a special occasion in my family. In my youth, Hanukkah was a perfect time for hot tea accompanied by dainty savouries, silver dollar latkes with sour cream and homemade applesauce, and, of course, scrumptious sweet treats, all elegantly served on my mother’s good dishes.

These luscious dessert recipes are great for a special tea, served at a brunch, or a coffee night with friends.

 

Pecan Cheesecake Squares

Cheesecake batter

o 250 ml (1 cup) light cream cheese

o 60 ml (1/4 cup) sugar

o 1 egg

o 5 ml (1 tsp) pure vanilla extract

Crust

o 125 ml (1/2 cup) margarine or butter

o 125 ml (1/2 cup) packed brown sugar

o 325 ml (11/3 cups) flour

o 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) baking powder

o 150 ml (2/3 cup) pecans, chopped

Filling

o 2 eggs

o 60 ml (1/4 cup) corn syrup

o 60 ml (1/4 cup) packed brown sugar

o 45 ml (3 tbsp) flour

o 1.25 ml (1/4 tsp) salt

o 5 ml (1 tsp) pure vanilla extract

o 250 ml (1 cup) pecans, chopped

Prepare a 33×23-cm (13×9-inch) baking dish with Canola oil spray and a piece of parchment paper cut to fit the bottom of the dish. Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F).

Cream together cheesecake batter ingredients and set aside.

Cream margarine or butter and 125 ml (1/2 cup) brown sugar. Add 325 ml (11/3 cups) flour, baking powder and pecans. Mix well and pat down firmly into bottom of the dish. Bake for 10 minutes.

For the filling, beat eggs until foamy and combine in corn syrup, 60 ml (1/4 cup) brown sugar, 45 ml (3 tbsp) flour, salt, vanilla and pecans.

Pour cheesecake batter over bottom crust and smooth. Spoon filling over cheesecake batter and smooth.

Bake for 30-35 minutes. Let cool completely. Refrigerate until cold and cut into squares. Keep refrigerated.

Freezes well layered between parchment paper in a well-sealed plastic container.

 

Old-Fashioned Strudel

o 4 eggs

o 175 ml (3/4 cup) oil

o 175 ml (3/4 cup) sugar

o 125 ml (1/2 cup) orange juice (about 1½ large oranges)

o 5 ml (1 tsp) pure vanilla extract

o 1.25 l (4¼ cups) flour

o 12.5 ml (2½ tsp) baking powder

o pinch (1/8 tsp) salt

Suggested fillings for 1/2 recipe (so you can have multiple flavours):

o 250 ml (1 cup) prune jam or prune butter, 375 ml (1½ cups) pitted prunes, cut in half

o 250 ml (1 cup) strawberry jam, 325 ml (11/3 cups) raisins and 250 ml (1 cup) unsweetened shredded coconut

o 250 ml (1 cup) apricot jam, 250 ml (1 cup) chopped apricots and 250 ml (1 cup) chocolate chips

 

Line two large cookie sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F).

In food processor, or by hand, process eggs and oil until foamy. Combine in the sugar, orange juice and vanilla. Add in flour, baking powder and salt and combine until flour has been absorbed. Touch dough to determine if it is still sticky. If so, add more flour, a few tablespoons at a time, until dough is smooth to the touch.

Divide dough into two parts. Form each into a ball and flatten them with your hand. Set one aside, covered.

Sprinkle flour on a pastry board or countertop and smooth it around. Roll out the first ball until it becomes a rectangle of approximately 43×33 cm (17×13 inches), sprinkling more flour as needed. If dough should tear, patch up holes with pieces of dough from the ends.

Spread jam leaving 6 mm (1/4 inch) at the edges. At the bottom of the rolled out dough, sprinkle, in a line straight across, the dried or candied fruit, coconut, chocolate chips, etc. Then roll tightly from the bottom to the top.

Carefully lift up the roll and place on the prepared baking sheet in a large U shape, keeping the edges away from the sides of the sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

Cool on baking sheet on a cooling rack. When completely cool, slice into 2.54 cm (1 inch) pieces, reserving ends for yourself. Serve strudel pieces on their sides to enjoy the different pinwheel designs. Each roll should yield approximately 15 pieces.

Store strudel in tin or plastic container between layers of parchment paper for two days, or freeze layered between parchment paper in a well-sealed plastic container.

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Brookie Squares

Cookie dough

o 125 ml (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened

o 125 ml (1/2 cup) packed brown sugar

o 125 ml (1/2 cup) granulated sugar

o 1 egg

o 5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract

o 250 ml (1 cup) flour

o 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) baking soda

o 5 ml (1 tsp) baking powder

o pinch (1/8 tsp) salt

o 375 ml (1½ cups) bittersweet chocolate chips, divided

Brownie batter

o 170 g (6 oz) dark chocolate, chopped

o 125 ml (1/2 cup) unsalted butter

o 125 ml (1/2 cup) sugar

o 3 eggs, lightly beaten

o 5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract

o 250 ml (1 cup) flour

o pinch (1/8 tsp) salt

 

To make the cookie dough, combine margarine or butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in a food processor or a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla until smooth.

Combine in flour, baking soda and salt. Mix in 250 ml (1 cup) chocolate chips. Remove from food processor to a bowl and set aside.

Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F). Spray a 23-cm (9-inch) square cake pan with Canola oil and line with parchment paper. Set aside.

To make the brownie batter, microwave chocolate and butter in large bowl on medium-low setting for 90 seconds. Stir until melted and smooth. Stir in sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; mix until smooth. Add flour and salt; mix just until combined.

Spread into prepared cake pan. Spread cookie batter evenly over brownie batter in pan. Bake for 40 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining chocolate chips, pressing them lightly down into dough. Bake until tester inserted in the centre comes out with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it, about 5 minutes. Transfer pan to rack and let cool completely. Cut into squares.

Freezes well in between layers of parchment paper in a covered plastic container.

Share and enjoy !