Orange-Chocolate Soda Bread

orange choc soda bread4

This one-bowl breakfast-bread is quick to assemble. Serve it on a fancy plate to add some “wow” to your breakfast table.

The rosemary-cheese soda bread was a hit, but I wanted something sweeter this morning. This adaptation of the savory recipe adds some sugar, a touch of cinnamon, a hint of orange, and plenty of chocolate chips. The result is similar to scones, but a little more “cakey” in texture.


  • 2 c. flour.
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2-1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2-1/2 Tbs. sugar
  • zest of one orange
  • 3 Tbs. butter
  • 3/4 c. sour milk or buttermilk*
  • 3/4 c. chocolate chips (mini-chips are best)

*To make sour milk: put a scant tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup, then add milk to get to the 3/4 cup mark.


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

  1. Mix together flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, sugar, and orange zest.
  2. Cut in butter.
  3. Stir in milk.
  4. Mix until just incorporated–don’t over mix.
  5. Shape dough into a ball, using a little flour to prevent sticking.
  6. Place onto a prepared baking sheet (greased, or lined with parchment), then flatten until about 2″ thick.
  7. Slit the dough into eighths, cutting almost—but not quite—through the depth.
  8. Bake for 20–25 mins.


Find more of my recipes in the cookbook: You Can’t Have Dry Coffee: Papa’s Excuse to Have a Nosh And Nana’s Perfect Pastries

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A Weekday Treat—Overnight French Toast


Number 2 pencil, nerdy t-shirt and a plate of French Toast—Max is ready for his test.


I haven’t made this recipe in years, and then two things happened that brought it to mind.

1. Molly came home from her math tutor’s house with three large loaves of day-old bread. There was no explaination as to why she was given the bread, nor where it came from. We hypothesize that the tutor thinks we are a pauper family with 8 kids—a least that was Molly’s first thought and she right away informed the tutor that there are only three kids in the family. 2. Tomorrow is the beginning of AP test week—no wait it’s only the first of two AP test weeks—at our over-achieving, why bother with college when you can take 2 dozen AP classes in high school high school. (I know that my editor friends will be all over that sentence, but that’s what you get from a designer.) Anyway, nothing like a good breakfast before an AP Computer Science test, right? A great use for old bread, and what a wonderful treat for a weekday breafast.

Overnight French Toast

  • 1 loaf french or Italian bread, sliced thick

The night before: Mix the following together in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1-1/2 c. milk
  • 1 tsp. grated orange or lemon rind
  • 2 Tbs. brown sugar (I used white)
  • 1 or 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla or almond extract

Arrange the bread slices in the pan, on top of the egg/milk mixture. Wait a minute and then turn them over. Cover and place in refrigerator over night.

In the morning: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place bread onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake 10 minutes on a side.

Here is the bread, ready to be tucked in for the night:


Passover Granola Bars

Here’s a great Passover treat to enjoy with your morning coffee, or to send with your kids for a school snack. The granola bars are very soft, and benefit from being refrigerated.

makes 24 bars


  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • ½ c. butter, softened
  • ²/₃ c. almond butter
  • 2 tsp. almond extract
  • 3 c. matzo farfel
  • ¼ c. sesame seeds
  • ¼ c. sunflower seeds
  • ²/₃ c. slivered almonds
  • 1 c. dried cherries


  • peanut butter for almond butter
  • vanilla for almond extract
  • pecans for almonds



1. Preheat oven to 350°.
Lightly grease a 13˝ x 9˝ pan.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the brown sugar, butter, almond butter, and almond extract. Stir in the remaining ingredients and press it all into the prepared pan.

3. Bake for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned.

4. While warm, lightly score into bars; cut through when cool.

For many more passover recipes from my kitchen, please get the book Essential Passover from Scratch: Recipes and Stories from My Mother’s Kitchen

Cinnamon Rolls

For more tasty bakes, see my collection of family specialties:

You Can’t Have Dry Coffee: Papa’s Excuse to Have a Nosh And Nana’s Perfect Pastries

DSCN0822 cinnamon rolls sm

When it’s a holiday weekend, we like to make the dough the night before, and then have them ready to make and bake the next morning.

Cinnamon Rolls

Proof the yeast:

  • 2-1/4 tsp. yeast (1 package)
  • 3 Tbs. sugar
  • 1/2 c. warm water

Stir in:

  • 2 Tbs. butter, melted
  • 1/2 c. milk, lukewarm
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 tsp. salt

Add and knead for 10 minutes:

  • 3 t0 3-1/2 c. flour

Cover and let rise for 1 hour or in the refrigerator over night.

Roll out the dough into a 12″ x  9″ rectangle.

Brush with:

  • 1-1/2 Tbs. melted butter

Mix together and sprinkle on top:

  • 1/3 c. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 c. raisins
  • 1/2 c. chopped pecans

Starting with the long side, roll up the dough. Slice it into 12 pieces and place, cut side down, into an 11″ x 7″ pan. Let rise for 1 hour. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes.

When it comes out of the oven, mix together and cover with:

  • 1-1/4 c. confectioners sugar
  • 2 Tbs. melted butter
  • 3-4 Tbs. milk

Maralee’s Moroccan Stew-Soup

Morrocon stew. To make it a soup just add more water or stock.

My sister’s kitchen always smells good. She is a master at soups. When we were at her house last week she made this dish, using many things that were picked fresh from her garden. It was delicious. This is my attempt at it. I’ve included some meat, but it is equally good as a vegetarian dish.

Moroccan Stew

  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 pound beef, cubed (I used some stew meat)
  • 4 c. kale, chopped (reserving 2 cups)
  • 3 c. chopped sweet potato
  • 2 large carrots, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 c. raw red lentils
  • 28 oz. can tomatoes, chopped + 2 cans water
  • 15 oz. can garbanzo beans (or 1/2 c. raw)
  • 1 Tbs. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp dry ginger
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 Tbs. curry powder
  • 4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • dash cayenne
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. allspice

In a large soup pot, brown the meat (if you’re using it) in the oil, and then add the onion. Cook until the onion is soft. Add everything else except for 2 cups of the kale. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer, cover and let cook for several hours. Taste and adjust for any of the seasonings you’d like to have stronger. About 5 minutes before serving, stir in the reserved kale. This will add a bit of brighter green to the dish, as well as a little bit of crunch.

Serve with rice, and some hot sauce on the side.

To  make as a soup, add some additional water or some stock.


These are best when served right from the pan, and plopped into a bowl of chicken soup.

My mom would make kreplach every Yom Kippur. I don’t think I’d tasted one in over 20 years, but in my mind I could TASTE them, and finally I broke down and made some. With thanks to Cousin Betty and sister Maralee for helping to jog my memory, since all I had was a scrawled note of my mother’s with the recipe for the dough.

Every culture has their dumplings: pierogi, gyoza, wonton. The Jews have their kreplach. The triangular kreplach from my mother’s kitchen are made with a dough that is part mashed potato and part noodle. For the frugal-minded cook, a little piece of a leftover roast is the basis for the filling. They are first boiled, then fried— there is nothing better!

Fry these until they are nicely browned and crisp.

Gently boil for 5 minutes before frying.




For the filling

  • 1 c. cooked beef, loosely measured, then ground
  • 1/3 c. grated raw onion
  • 1–2 Tbs. oil, if your meat is very dry or lean
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ tsp. seasoned salt
  • For the dough
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 c. flour
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 medium potato, boiled



Put a large pot of salted water on to boil.

Prepare the filling

Mix together the ground beef, onion, oil, egg, and salt.

Make the dough

Using a fork, beat the egg, mix in the flour and salt, then mash in the boiled potato. On a lightly floured board, knead the dough for about a minute, adding only a little more flour as necessary.


Divide the dough into two halves. On the floured board, roll into a rectangle, about 8˝ x 10˝, then cut into 2˝ squares. Place about a teaspoon of filling in the corner of each square. Put a little water into a small dish, dip your finger, and wet two adjacent edges of the dough square. Fold one half of the dough over to meet the wet edges, forming a triangle, then press to seal well. Continue filling and sealing all of the kreplach.


When the water has boiled, drop the kreplach, in batches, into the boiling water, lowering the temperature so that they cook at a low, easy boil. Boil for 5 minutes, then remove, using a slotted spoon, to a cookie sheet.


In a deep pan, pour in about 1/8˝ of oil. When very hot, add the kreplach, cooking in small batches. When browned, turn over to cook on the other side. Remove to drain onto a paper towel. Serve while very hot and crisp, with a bowl of homemade chicken soup.

A sweet babka for a sweet new year

For more tasty bakes, see my collection of family specialties:

You Can’t Have Dry Coffee: Papa’s Excuse to Have a Nosh And Nana’s Perfect Pastries

A babka is a yeast-dough coffee cake, usually filled with fruit and/or chocolate. My nana made a babka each year for Rosh Hashana, which she made as sweet as possible so that we would enjoy a sweet year. I remember her emptying out jars of jam (usually leftover Passover eingie, or maybe some plum jam), throwing in some extra sugar and cinnamon, plus a handful of nuts and raisins. In her honor, I made one for my family today, and filled it with a jar of tart cherry jam, some chocolate chips, cinnamon-sugar and a handful of slivered almonds. The fun in making this is that you can use whatever filling you like.


If you’d enjoy the recipe, please visit the Apple iTunes store to download my app, iNosh. Here’s the link for that:

I’m donating half of the proceeds to Mazon, A Jewish Response to Hunger

And here’s a preview of some of the content on the app. For now, it’s only available for iPad users.

iNosh info

Black Bottom Brownies

For more tasty bakes, see my collection of family specialties:

You Can’t Have Dry Coffee: Papa’s Excuse to Have a Nosh And Nana’s Perfect Pastries

My test-taster, Max, gives a thumbs up.

During the course of my blog’s hiatus, I was laying in bed one night, thinking about packing and moving across country and how black bottom cupcakes are so delicious, yet so fussy to make. That is how Black Bottom Brownies were born.

Black Bottom Brownies

For the batter:

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • dash of salt
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1 c. cocoa

Cream together the butter and sugar, add the eggs, vanilla and salt. Carefully stir in the flour and cocoa (so that you don’t have dust everywhere). Spread batter into a greased 10 x 14 pan.

For the topping:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. mini chocolate chips

Beat together the cream cheese, egg, sugar and salt, stir in the chips.

With the end of a small spoon, make deep indentations in the brownie batter, carefully spaced so that you will have one per cut brownie. Fill a small ziplock bag with the topping, zip it shut, then snip off about a 1/2″ corner of the bag. Using the bag like a pastry bag, squeeze a dollop of filling into each indentation of the batter. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 mins.

Use a ziplock as a pastry bag to squeeze in the filling.

Out of the oven…

…and into waiting hands. (Try and wait until they’re cool before cutting.)


**Seeking test bakers! This recipe left me with a half batch of leftover filling.  I suggest using an extra egg yolk in the batter, and making half the recipe of the filling using just an egg white. The new filling recipe would look like this:

  • 4 oz. cream cheese
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 heaping Tbs. sugar
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 c. mini chocolate chips

Let me know if you try this and how it turns out.

Or: After tasting these, and realizing how rich and filling they are, I might just use up all of the filling next time, putting the dollops closer together—even touching a bit, making much smaller brownies.