Here in Israel, we don't call it a run-up to chag for nothing. All over the country, people are running around and FREAKING OUT over the impending TWO DAY CHAG!!! When we first made aliyah, I vacillated between thinking that (A) everyone here was crazy, I mean good grief, I could prepare two day yom tov in my sleep and (B) how wonderful it was that everyone is preparing for the same holiday. Six years down the road, I am slightly less enamored of the supermarket chaos that ensues two full weeks before yom tov. If you saw the creative parking that goes on in the lot at our Rami Levy (think drunken sailors and illegal mid-lane car abandonments), you would understand my frustration. But it is still truly beautiful that we are on the same page, gearing up for Rosh Hashana. And I just have to keep telling myself that. Even if I am now enough of an old-timer to think two days of yom tov is really, really long.
|Fear not the crystallized ginger -|
but do try sprinkling a little flour over it while
you're chopping so it doesn't stick to your knife
So what are the keys to getting ready for Rosh Hashana? Here's my take: Shop early. Get whatever you can buy in advance, things you can freeze like chicken and meat, dry goods, items with long shelf lives. Start preparing early. Bake and freeze, if you have the room. Make recipes that are quick and require little patchke-ing. Like this one. Mix it up, chill just a bit, bake in two long loaves, cool, glaze, and slice. I considered giving you two variations, one with crystallized ginger and one without, because I thought the ginger flavor might be a bit much for some people. The flavor is indeed quite pronounced shortly after baking, like when you can't wait for the bars to cool and you slice off an end and you burn your fingers and your tongue just a little, but it's worth it. The next day, though, the flavors meld and mellow perfectly. Even if you've never tried it, be adventurous - add the crystallized ginger. But if you don't have it on hand, or don't feel like chopping it up (I can't resist a little patchke!) but still want a spicy kick, add an additional 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger. Or just omit the crystallized ginger, and it's still a delicious honey dessert for a sweet New Year. Definitely a step up from your traditional honey cake.
Spiced Honey Sticks with Lemon Glaze
100 grams or 1/2 cup margarine at room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup finely diced crystallized ginger
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, optional
1/3 cup confectioner's sugar
Cream the margarine with the sugars until smooth. Beat in the egg, then the honey and vanilla. Add in the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Mix in crystallized ginger. Chill dough at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Divide dough into two and, with oiled hands, roll each into a long, narrow log about 13 inches long, and place on the sheet, leaving space between the two rolls. Flatten slightly.
|I cheated - I used two separate pans.|
|Not so impressive without the glaze, but still yummy.|
Mix together glaze ingredients. Drizzle diagonally across loaves with a disposable decorating bag, a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off, or even with a fork.
Now check out all the other recipes featuring honey from the September Kosher Connection Recipe Linkup!