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Bringing a taste of autumn to the sukka
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Bringing a taste of autumn to the sukka

Butternut squash and sage hallah    
Butternut squash and sage hallah    

Sukkot is such a beautiful holiday: eating outdoors, decorating the sukka, and enjoying the flavors of fall with family and friends. The fasting is over and the craziness of the New Year rush has passed. You can leisurely enjoy long holiday meals outside. 

Even though the holidays fall a bit early this year, I still enjoy bringing autumn flavors into my menu. These recipes are beautiful and crowd pleasers, sure to further liven up your sukka

Butternut Squash and Sage Hallah

1/4 cup vegetable oil
5-6 fresh sage leaves
1 1/2 Tbsp. dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
5 1/2-6 cups all-purpose unbleached flour 
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 Tbsp. salt
1/2 cup butternut squash puree (fresh or frozen)
2 eggs
2 egg yolks plus 1 tsp. water
Additional fresh sage leaves for garnish
Thick sea salt

Place oil and sage in small saucepan over low-medium heat. Heat until sage becomes fragrant, around five minutes. Remove from heat and allow to sit 25-30 minutes. Strain sage but do not discard. Finely chop leaves. 

In a small bowl, place yeast, sugar, and lukewarm water. Allow to sit 10 minutes, until it becomes foamy on top.

In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, mix one and a half cups flour, salt, butternut squash, and sugar. Add water-yeast mixture to flour mixture along with oil and chopped sage. Mix thoroughly. 

Add another cup of flour and eggs and mix until smooth. Switch to the dough hook attachment if using a stand mixer.

Add an additional three cups of flour, one cup at a time, until dough is smooth and elastic. You can do this in a bowl with a wooden spoon, in a stand mixer with the dough attachment or, once the dough becomes pliable enough, on a floured work surface with the heels of your hands. Dough will be done when it bounces back to the touch, is smooth without clumps, and is almost shiny. 

Place dough in greased bowl and cover with damp towel. Allow to rise approximately three hours. 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Braid hallah into desired shape. Allow to rise another 45-60 minutes, or until the size has grown and hallah seems light. 

In a small bowl beat egg yolks with water. Brush liberally over hallah. Sprinkle with chopped fresh sage and thick sea salt. 

If making one large hallah, bake around 27-28 minutes; two smaller hallahs, bake 24-26 minutes. 

Paprika Roasted Chicken and Potatoes 

4-5 medium Yukon gold potatoes
4 chicken thighs and/or drumsticks
2 Tbsp. smoky paprika
1/2 Tbsp. hot paprika
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. fresh lemon zest
4 garlic cloves
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut potatoes into one-half inch slices. Grease bottom of a Pyrex dish. Lay potatoes on bottom of pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

Whisk together spices, lemon juice, zest, and oil. Spread over the chicken including underneath the skin. Allow to marinate for 30 minutes if possible. 

Place chicken and whole garlic cloves on top of potatoes.

Roast for 50-55 minutes, or until juices run clear and a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees.

Remove chicken and set aside. For crispier potatoes, return to oven for another 10-15 minutes or until desired doneness.

Yield: Four servings

Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate and Dried Cherries

Tip: To bring out the sweetness of cookies, don’t forget the salt! Combine one-half tablespoon thick sea salt with one-half tablespoon sanding sugar and sprinkle just a pinch on each cookie. The sanding sugar will make the cookies look beautiful, and the salt will really add a depth of flavor and bring out the cookie’s sweetness.

1 3/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup flour
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 sticks unsalted butter or margarine, softened
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 Tbsp. thick sea salt (optional)
1/2 Tbsp. sanding sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine oats, flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Beat butter or margarine with sugars with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla.

Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips and cherries (or other add-ins). Do not overmix. In a small bowl combine sanding sugar and sea salt.

Using a cookie scoop, drop cookies on a baking sheet two inches apart. Lightly flatten with moistened fingers. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt and sugar on top of each cookie.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Let cool for two to three minutes on baking sheet then transfer to cooling racks.

Yield: One dozen cookies

Recipes have not been tested by New Jersey Jewish News; therefore, the staff may be unable to answer readers’ questions.

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