Monday, January 23, 2017

My first kokosh cake

Kokosh cake is a queen of the Jewish cakes, but in some parts of the world - like in Berlin - impossible to find in bakeries. Because a queen...Anyway, the advantage of such a situation is that I can be so hungry for a piece of kokosh that I can try to make it my own. But the last week, I was in one of those craving days, when I was missing a lot of heimishe food and as one of my many decisions for the next months is to try at least every week something new, I took the tremendous decision to make my own kokosh. 
The Kokosh cake is made of two parts: the filling and the dough, with their specific ingredients. There are many of them, especially a lot of sugar - cheat week, here I am. 
For the filling, you need the following ingredients:
- 1/2 cup cocoa
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup powder sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoon vanilla extract
Mix well all the ingredients until you have a compact mix. As I will discover later, the cinnamon is not necessarily. But until it melts, imagine a kitchen wrapped in the sweet smell of sugar and the aromas of cinnamon. This process takes less than 10 minutes, but you need to do it calmly, step by step, in order to mix well all the many sugarly ingredients.
Leave the filling mixture to rest and proceed to the next step: the dough. You can start warming the oven at 250C. Take a big tray and cover it with a kitchen parchment.
For the dough you need:
- 1 tablespoon of dry yeast
- 4 cups of flour
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 150 gr. butter
- 3 tablespoon canola oil
In a saucepan, melt the butter - it can be done in around 10 minutes. If the cake is not supposed to be tasted by kids, you can add some drops of rum or Baccardi. It will actually help to balance the excess of sugar.
Dissolve the yeast in a glass with 1/4 warm water. Wait until it starts to bubble.
Add all the other ingredients, and mix them well.
Knit the dough as often as possible, until you have a compact dough. Some recipes recommend to add some orange juice as well, as it may help the dough to keep being fresh for a longer time - although it may not be necessarily as this cake will be eaten and disappear as fast as the storm wind. For knitting the dough, you may need another two cups of flour. After it is ready, leave the dough to rest for around 10 minutes. You can also put the dough in a ziploc bag and keep it refrigerated it over night and use it the next day. 
The amount of the dough - and filling - is enough for two separate batches of kokosh. I personally preferred the thicker dough with consistent filling. The kokosh experts say that the thinner the dough the better so...follow the ancestral knowledge, always. Therefore: roll the each piece of dough as thin as possible, eventually trying to keep a rectangle shape. Thus, the both ends will have the same size as the middle. In my case, it worked the opposite, but, hey, it was my first ever kokosh!
Time to add the filling. For a better spread, before spreading it, paint the dough with some canola oil.
You are almost done! Time to roll the dough - for me, this was my scary moment, as I was almost sure that somehow everything will broke into small pieces of dough. Would be wise if you prevent the dough to get glued on the table by adding some extra flour before you start rolling. You can also spread an egg yolk - challah style (btw, if you use enough dough, you can also make a bracha and separate challah before starting to prepare it) -  on the outside. Some add some warm water to thicken the consistency of the yolk.
The preparation time for the dough is around 45 minutes.
Before I put in the oven, I left the kokosh cake in the making a bit outside, to rest for around 10 minutes. With the oven warm at 250, it is about time to start the baking. Let it in the oven for around 20-40 minutes. Check every 10 minutes if necessary, to be sure that it will be not too burned out. 
While the dough is in the oven, get ready for the last part of the cooking process - and the less creative one: cleaning. Warning: there is a lot of cleaning and washing to be done thereafter, particularly because using cocoa and other sticky ingredients. 
Time for some tasting! The cake is done and all you need is to having a bit and try to be a good food critic. In my case, I noticed that the cinnamon can be unnecessary as it brings a bit of sourness without any particular good addition to the overall taste. I also realized that the next time I would love to bake it less. Maybe will add the orange juice, at it gives more freshness to the dough.
The two kokosh rolls serve around 20-25 pieces. 
To drink with a cup of mint tea - no, you don't need any more sugar to that - or a coffee or a glass of warm milk.

Bon Appetit!

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