Parshat Vayeshev inspiration:
“And Israel loved Joseph more than all his sons because he was a son of his old age; and he made him a fine woolen tunic (of many colors).”
I decided to recreate Joseph’s technicolor dream coat in traditional kiddush cookie form. Originally called Italian Flag cookies (hence the particular color pattern) and invented in Italian-American bakeries, they were quickly adopted by kosher bakeries in the early 20th century because the swap to margarine works beautifully, they are delicious and look very special, and they freeze particularly well. Well, maybe the freezing part was not the reason, but it certainly is convenient.
This recipe is inspired by Shannon Sarna of The Nosher, although I tweaked it a little. Just like the kiddush table cookies, but even yummier! My son has declared this his favorite cookie, and believe me, he has had plenty to choose from.
Joseph’s Technicolor Rainbow Cookies
1 c. white sugar
4 oz almond paste, pulsed in a food processor for 30 seconds until crumbled
1 c. margarine, melted
1 c. all-purpose flour
½ tsp vanilla extract
Red and green food coloring (about 8-10 drops each)
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 tsp vegetable shortening
Pinch of salt
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 8x8” or 9x9” square pan (I used cooking spray), line the bottom with parchment paper, and spray the parchment paper lightly. Prepare two more sheets of parchment paper so that you can re-paper it between baking each layer. Round pans work fine too, and then you have more to taste-test after you cut the cookies into rectangles.
2. Using a mixer, whip eggs and sugar until thick and pale yellow. Add crumbled almond paste and combine, then add melted margarine, flour and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure the margarine doesn’t sink to the bottom.
3. Divide the batter into three even amounts. Pour the light yellow (uncolored) layer into the pan, tipping it to reach the corners, and bake for 11-13 minutes, until fully set in the middle. Remove from oven and let cool before removing the cake from the pan.
4. While the first cake is in the oven, add red food coloring to one bowl of batter, and green to the other, and mix thoroughly.
5. When the first cake layer is out of the pan, place a new sheet of parchment paper, spray lightly, spread batter and bake. Repeat for the third layer. Allow cake layers to cool completely.
6. Prepare the chocolate by melting the chocolate chips, shortening and salt together in a small saucepan on medium heat for about 3 minutes, stirring to combine and so that the chocolate doesn’t burn. Set aside while you build your cake.
7 On a clean sheet of parchment paper on a tray or large platter, spread a thin layer of raspberry jam on the green layer (I like using an offset spatula for this). Stack the white layer on top, spread another thin layer of jam, and top it with the red layer.
8. Dollop a scoop or two of chocolate onto the top (about half of the chocolate), and spread a thin layer across the top. Place in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to harden.
9. Remove from the fridge and flip the cake over. Spread the remaining chocolate over the top. Chill again.
10. Carefully cut into 1x2” rectangles and serve. Ready for an oneg!
Parshat Miketz inspiration:
“And behold, from the Nile were coming up seven cows, of handsome appearance and robust flesh, and they pastured in the marshland. And behold, seven other cows were coming up after them from the Nile, of ugly appearance and lean of flesh, and they stood beside the cows [which were] on the Nile bank. And the cows of ugly appearance and lean of flesh devoured the seven cows that were of handsome appearance and healthy; then Pharaoh awoke. And he fell asleep and dreamed again, and behold, seven ears of grain were growing on one stalk, healthy and good. And behold, seven ears of grain, thin and beaten by the east wind, were growing up after them. And the thin ears of grain swallowed up the seven healthy and full ears of grain; then Pharaoh awoke, and behold, a dream.”
We are going to have two seven-layer cakes at our tables this week. One fat and one skinny. Luckily, both of our prognostications are delicious. The ever-popular Seven-layer Sponge Cake with Mocha Buttercream, and a Seven-layer Crepe Cake.
Seven-Layer Sponge Cake With Mocha Buttercream
2/3 c. margarine
2/3 c. vegetable shortening
½ c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp instant coffee powder, dissolved in ½ c. water
4 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Sponge cake layers
12 eggs, divided into whites and yolks
2 ¼ c. sugar
¼ c. almond milk (or your favorite substitute)
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla extract
¾ c. all-purpose flour
1. Make the buttercream by creaming together the margarine and shortening with a mixer until light and fluffy.
2. With the mixer off, sift in cocoa powder and add vanilla extract. Slowly integrate before blending with a mixer. Sift in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, blending with the mixer in between. Scrape the bowl to make sure all is integrated.
3. Add coffee, 1 tbsp at a time, and beat well, increasing up to medium-high speed, until the frosting texture has been achieved. You won’t need to use all the coffee.
4. Chill until about an hour before you want to assemble the cake.
5. Heat oven to 350. Prepare a loaf pan by spraying well with neutral oil, placing a rectangle of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, and spraying the parchment paper. Prepare six more pieces of parchment paper to line the bottom of the pan.
6. Whip egg whites in a large bowl until they form soft peaks. Set aside. If using a stand mixer, transfer to a large bowl because you will need your mixing bowl.
7. Beat egg yolks and sugar until the mixture is thick and pale yellow (5-8 minutes). Reduce mixing speed and add the almond milk, lemon juice, vanilla extract and salt, and slowly increase speed to high. Beat on high for 3-5 minutes until the mixture has re-thickened.
8. Gently fold the beaten egg whites into the batter, a little at a time, until incorporated. Sift in flour, ¼ cup at a time, folding after each addition.
9. Scoop 1 cup of batter into the prepared pan and gently spread it into an even layer. Bake for 9-11 minutes, until cake is just starting to brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and let sit for 2-3 minutes until cake has pulled away from the pan. Turn out the cake and allow to cool.
10. Repeat lining and spraying the pan, and baking the batter, until you have seven layers.
11. Remove buttercream from refrigerator while cake layers are cooling, at least 20-30 minutes.
12. When all cake layers are fully cool, assemble by carefully spreading a thin, even layer of buttercream between each layer. Frost the outside with buttercream and chill until ready to serve. (Assembling a cake with this many layers takes practice. If you aren’t a pro baker, don’t worry if it doesn’t look bakery quality. It tastes better than bakery quality.)
Seven-layer Crepe Cake
(Everyone seems to have a favorite crepe recipe, so feel free to use yours or this one)
2 c. all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 c. almond milk (or your favorite substitute)
2 c. whipped topping, sweetened to taste
1/3 c. raspberry jam
1. Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the eggs, oil, and vanilla, and mix together with a whisk. It will get clumpy, don’t worry about it yet.
2. Add the almond milk a little at a time while stirring with the whisk. Keep stirring until you work out the clumps. Keep stirring—it can take a while. I have tried a few different techniques, but have found this method is pretty easy while still minimizing the bubbles in the final product, it just takes an extra 3 minutes or so.
3. Heat a non-stick medium sized frying pan to medium-low. Spray with neutral cooking spray and pour 1/3 c. of batter in the pan, rotating the pan to create an even, round sheet. Cook for about 2 minutes, until the batter has changed color slightly throughout (it does this from outside edge to center, if your pan is even) and the edges have lifted and started to curl a little. Flip the crepe and cook for another minute.
4. Slide the crepe onto a plate, spray pan, and repeat. This recipe makes 12 crepes, so there are plenty to sample, burn or tear and still have enough for your cake.
5. Briefly mix together the whipped topping and raspberry jam. It will lose some of its body, but try not to overmix or the filling will run out.
6. When the crepes are complete and cool, find a presentation plate and start layering. Layer a crepe and coat with filling, then repeat until you have a stack of 7 crepes. Decorate if desired, but no need to go crazy—this represents the years of famine, after all.
Victoria Lupia lives in Oklahoma City with her husband and two children. She is an art conservator with a specialty in preservation of Jewish and Native American objects. Her sister, Jewish Link Editor Elizabeth Kratz, is trying to convince her to turn her year of edible parshiot into a book project.