Pashat Naso inspiration:
“The Nasi-ei (leaders) of Israel, the heads of their fathers’ houses, presented … their offering before Hashem: six covered wagons and twelve oxen, a wagon for each two nasi and an ox for each; they presented them in front of the Mishkan … And Moses took the wagons and the cattle and gave them to the Levites (whose job it was to transport the Mishkan in the desert).”
We are making Wagon Wheels! Wagon Wheels are a common treat in the British Commonwealth, and I learned about them when Paul Hollywood issued a particularly complicated challenge to “The Great British Bake Off” contestants. They are chocolate-coated sandwich cookies filled with raspberry jam and marshmallow cream. I simplified his process significantly by using my favorite brands of jam and marshmallow cream, but you can make them from scratch if you really want to.
- ½ cup raspberry jam
- ½ cup marshmallow cream
- 12 oz (or more) of chocolate chips, to be melted
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup margarine
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1. Make the biscuit dough by using a food processor with a pastry cutter (or forks and hands) to combine the flour and margarine until it resembles fine crumbs. Add in the sugar and vanilla extract and pulse together, then add in the egg yolk and pulse until it is mixed evenly but still crumbly.
2. Turn the dough out onto a kneading surface and knead together until the dough comes together in a single, non-crumbly ball. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill it for at least half an hour.
3. Heat the oven to 350° F. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper. Also have ready a wire rack with parchment paper (you can re-use one from the baking sheets) underneath to catch drips.
4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about ¼” thick. Cut out ~3” diameter circles and transfer them to the cookie sheets, with a little space between them. You should end up with 16-20 cookies (you want an even number). Place one baking sheet in the freezer for 10 minutes.
5. Move the baking sheet directly from the freezer into the hot oven. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until the edges are just starting to brown. Freeze the second sheet while the first is in the oven.
6. Remove the biscuits from the oven and allow them to fully cool. Pair up the biscuits by size.
7. Melt about 5 oz of the chocolate chips. I heated them in the microwave in 15 second pulses, stirring in between, until melted. Use a knife or off-set spatula to coat the one side of one of each pair of cookies with chocolate. This will become the bottom of the wagon wheel. Allow the chocolate to set, chocolate-side up, on parchment paper for about 30 minutes.
8. Coat the inside of the other cookie pair with 1 tsp of raspberry jam.
9. When the chocolate has set, apply 1 tsp of marshmallow cream to the other side of the biscuit (the non-chocolatey side).
10. Stack the biscuit pairs together so that the chocolate side is on the bottom, followed by marshmallow cream, raspberry jam, and a plain biscuit side on top.
11. Melt the remaining chocolate again, including the rest of the chocolate chips, stirring often so they don’t burn.
12. Put the wire rack in place. Coat the entire sandwich in melted chocolate, smoothing with a knife or spatula. Sitting on the wire rack to set, drizzle any leftover chocolate over the cookies. Allow them to set for at least 45 minutes.
Parshat Beha’alotcha inspiration:
“Hashem spoke to Moses saying: Make for yourself two silver trumpets; you shall make them hammered [from silver]; and they shall be used by you to summon the congregation and to announce the departure of the camps.”
Magnolia Lace Trumpets are trumpet-shaped ginger snaps with a light and fluffy filling. They take patience to make, but the effort is worth it. (And your little kids will have fun marching around the house with quiet and tasty trumpets at their lips.)
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp ginger
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup margarine
- ⅓ cup light corn syrup
- 1 ½ cups vegetable shortening
- ½ cup margarine
- 1 ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 egg white
- 2 Tbsp Disaronno
- 4 Tbsp hot almond milk
1. Heat the oven to 325° F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray well with canola oil. (If you don’t grease well, the snaps will stick and won’t work.) Also prepare two cones with a long handle out of aluminum foil, have a heat-safe spatula ready to lift a hot cookie off of a hot pan, and a wire cooling rack.
2. In a small bowl, combine the flour and ginger and briefly stir. Set aside momentarily.
3. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, ½ cup margarine and corn syrup. Stir gently over medium heat until the sugar and margarine are melted. Remove from heat. Add the flour mixture and whisk to combine, minimizing lumps.
4. Drop by rounded teaspoon, just two per batch, onto the greased paper. The drops will spread significantly. Bake for 7-9 minutes until bubbly and golden brown.
5. Remove from the oven and wait 20-30 seconds before using a spatula to lift the hot cookie, wrapping it around the foil cone. Place it on the wire rack, still around the cone, to cool. (This takes practice—don’t be discouraged if you lose a few cookies.) Repeat with the other cookie. When the trumpet cookie has set, you can remove the aluminum cone for the next batch.
6. Repeat steps 4-5 until all the batter is finished.
7. In a mixing bowl, cream together the shortening and ½ cup of margarine. Add 1 ½ cup powdered sugar and beat until the mixture is fluffy. Add egg white and Disaronno, one Tbsp at a time, while beating. Add the hot almond milk, one Tbsp at a time, and beat, scraping down the bowl to integrate, until it is simultaneously creamy and holds its shape. (You can use this as more sophisticated cake frosting, too.)
8. Put filling into a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Fill the cookies and trumpet your success!
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