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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A few (childish) secrets revealed

I am not a gourmet cook by any stretch of the imagination, but I do have a nice repertoire of main dishes, desserts and confections that I make quite well. 

Very few of these dishes are old family recipes, and there's really no plausible reason to be secretive about how they are prepared.  Yet my Über-patient wife can tell you that I have a childish habit of keeping most of these recipes locked up in a little leather-bound diary... and of not sharing them with anyone!

I can't explain why I started this stupidity.  I'm guessing it's because I love when people enjoy the things I prepare, so some subliminal instinct likely kicks in that wants to force them to have to come back to me whenever they wish to taste these culinary treats again.

I'm quite a catch, no?

So, we're all in agreement that I have a problem... and that it would probably be therapeutic to try to work through it. 

It would be therapeutic for me to loosen up and realize that people will still want to enjoy things I've prepared even if they could easily prepare them themselves.  It would be therapeutic for my wife (she who LOVES to share recipes) since she won't be tempted to chase me around the kitchen with a cast-iron skillet. 

But the true beneficiaries of this attempt to become a better person will be you, dear reader.  Starting today you will get to see some of the stuff I've had locked away all these years.

So, as the holiday of Shavuot is only a few days away I thought I'd share a couple of recipes that lend themselves nicely to a dairy menu.

The first one is a recipe for ersatz Kahlua® I inherited from a friend back in the early 80's while we were undergraduates at Hebrew University on Mount Scopus.  A batch of this stuff costs a tiny fraction of the real stuff... and it tastes exactly the same! 

Ersatz Kahlua®


  • 4 cups water
  • 6 teaspoons instant coffee
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 ½ cup vodka (use the cheap stuff)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup (optional) *

1. Bring water to a boil and add instant coffee and both white and brown sugar.

2. Immediately after pouring in sugar turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes (stirring occasionally)

3. Remove from heat, add vanilla and chocolate (if used) and allow to cool.

4. Once liquid is cool, add vodka

Once all the steps are completed give the whole mess a good stir and immediately pour into empty bottles (using a funnel) and close tightly.  The whole process shouldn't take longer than an hour start to finish!

Note:  You can safely double this recipe, but I've had bad results when I've tried to triple or quadruple it.  Also, if you want to make ersatz Tia Maria® instead of Kahlua®, just use rum instead of vodka.  They are otherwise identical recipes.

*  If you want to keep your ersatz Kahlua® Parve (meaning non-dairy), make sure to use non-dairy chocolate syrup or leave out this optional ingredient.

OK, other than getting hammered on ersatz black/white Russians, sombreros and mudslides, I'm sure you were wondering what else you could do with your stash of newly minted ersatz Kahlua®.

I'm glad you asked:

Chocolate [ersatz] Kahlua® Cheesecake


  • 8 oz. Chocolate cookie crumbs (I use Oreo® crumbs if I can find them)
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 2 envelopes of dessert topping (e.g. Dream Whip®)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 lb. cream cheese (splurge and use the Philly!)
  • 2 tablespoons [ersatz] Kahlua®
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • 12 oz chocolate chips (melted and cooled)
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • One square bittersweet chocolate
  • 10" (or two 8") ungreased spring-form pan(s)

1.  If chocolate cookies aren't pre-crumbled, crush them into a fine crumbly mess and place in a mixing bowl.

2.  Add melted butter to cookie crumbs and mix thoroughly

3.  Press buttery crumbs into an even layer on the bottom of the spring-form pan(s)

4.  Bake for 7 - 8 minutes @ 350° and then put in refrigerator to chill

5.  Process dessert topping with milk until stiff

6.  Add cream cheese and mix until smooth (no lumps!)

7.  Add [ersatz] Kahlua®, sugar and melted chocolate chips

8.  Process until smooth and then pour over chilled cookie crust(s)

9.  Lick bowl until face and ears are sufficiently chocolaty and then wash mixing bowl

10. Process whipping cream until stiff (but not too much or you'll end up with butter!!!)

11. Pour over chocolate layer using a spatula.

12. Garnish with shavings of bittersweet chocolate

Note: Refrigerate for minimum of 6 - 8 hours before serving!

Wow, that was a liberating experience!  I need to open up like this more often!


Posted by David Bogner on May 30, 2006 | Permalink


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That's® a lot of sugar®, but it sounds yummy®.


Posted by: Yehuda Berlinger | May 30, 2006 3:08:00 PM

I still have Kosher Kahlua left over from before it lost the OU, but this recipe will DEFINITELY be filed away for when my stash runs out. Awesome! And that cheesecake recipe sounds heavenly! Unfortunately, I won't have time to make it before Yom Tov, but you don't need a holiday for an excuse for cheesecake! ;-)
Chag Sameach.

Posted by: Essie | May 30, 2006 3:40:58 PM

Hey, that sounds good... yum! I will definately be trying (and enjoying, I'm sure) your recipe. Thanks for sharing!

Posted by: zemirah | May 30, 2006 4:17:24 PM

Oh . . .oh, I'm so happy . . .

Posted by: sarah | May 30, 2006 4:22:25 PM

OOOO YUM! Thanks for sharing! Can I link it for the next Kosher Cooking Carnival? PS: I posted some recipies over at Sadie's, one of which is especially for you and Zahava (hint: it involves limoncello!) :-)


Posted by: ezer knegdo | May 30, 2006 5:14:11 PM

Somethings are a lot easier than you think they'll be.
Good for you for unlocking the vault.

I must add however, that sharing a recipe for cheesecake seems like small potatoes for a man who confessed to being pooped on in the shower, but to each his own...

Posted by: Shifra | May 30, 2006 5:39:41 PM

Helloooo! Diet here!

Posted by: lisoosh | May 30, 2006 6:29:05 PM

Sounds tasty.

Posted by: Jack | May 30, 2006 6:35:09 PM

That is truly awesome! I will have to try this soon. I must point out however that the mudslide link requires bialeys irish cream which no longer has kosher supervision...now how do I make that?:)

Posted by: Jewish Blogmeister | May 30, 2006 7:47:11 PM

My family is big on sharing recipes with anyone and everyone, with half our recipes being called by the name of the person who it's from ("Malke Neuman Meat"). But my mother refuses to divulge one recipe, even to her own children: Her Mounds recipe. (They're incredible.) She makes and brings them as gifts to many engagement parties or kiddushes, and she wants them to be special, so she'd rather not have anyone else know it. It's the only decent reason I've heard for keeping a recipe secret...but I still managed to get it a couple weeks ago. :P

Posted by: Ezzie | May 30, 2006 8:19:25 PM

I'm picturing the trial and error process that went into perfecting this recipe.....

Posted by: Olah Ima | May 30, 2006 9:10:48 PM


Hmmmm.... was that a pig that just flew by the office window?

Posted by: zahava | May 30, 2006 9:50:14 PM

Oh... And Ezzie... if I ask REEEEEEEAAAAALLLLLLY nicely (and especially since I doubt your mother and I travel in the same circles) would you ask her permission to email it to me privately? I LOVE coconut and chocolate and the store-bought stuff here in Israel is not up my alley.... It goes against my nature (as you might guess from today's post), but I will even promise NOT to share it (with anyone except David, that is).....

Posted by: zahava | May 30, 2006 10:08:25 PM

Yehuda... Sorry about all the registered symbols. Just trying to keep things all legal like. :-)

Essie... Ma Pitom?! Of course there's still time! Enjoy!

Zemirah... Please let me know how it comes out for you.

Sarah... If memory serves you've tasted my Kahlua. If you're happy... I'm happy. :-)

Ezer Knegdo... Thank you for the yummy recipe. And of course you can share this with your next carnival.

Shifra... I'm a puzzle, huh? :-)

Lisoosh... Oh c'mon it's Shavuot. Live a little!

Jack... You should have Stacey make it for you and find out for yourself. ;-)

Jewish Blogmiester... I noticed that too, but there are a lot of non-Jews who read this too so I left it in.

Ezzie... I was going to warn you about my wife and those two ingredients in mounds... but too late. :-)

Olah Ima... Forget the trial and error that went into the recipe. You don't really think that triple and quadruple batch I ruined went to wasted, do you? :-)

Zahava.. Why yes, apparently pigs do fly.

Posted by: treppenwitz | May 30, 2006 10:44:05 PM

I wonder if this is actually cheaper than partaking of the pre holiday price gouging on the store cheesecakes

Posted by: The Town Crier | May 30, 2006 10:56:34 PM

Ezzie: You should NEVER have let the cat out of that bag. We all want that recipie ;-)

Posted by: Ezer Knegdo | May 31, 2006 12:09:06 AM

how come all the other people I know who refuse to give recipees are terrible people? One particular 'friend' who refused to part with a recipee for marshmellows, when you could not find a kosher one in Yorkshire UK, has had th chuzpa to ask me for a recipee for one of my dishes - I gave it to her and questioned her as to why she will not share 'her's - she answered : "but mine are special". I must add that I have spent the following day in Leeds Main Library and got 3 recipees for Mashmellows - made loads (in different coulours - hers were white only) and served them 'casually' at a Bnei Akiva coffee morning when I knew she will be there. She was in utter shock! She has never forgiven me either.

Posted by: savta yaffa | May 31, 2006 1:28:56 AM

yum! sounds delish.

Posted by: Sarah | May 31, 2006 2:03:40 AM

Just one small question... what is 'dessert topping'? Is it like cream? or icing sugar? What would you subsitute (and how much)?

Sorry for being a backward Australian!

Posted by: zemirah | May 31, 2006 2:37:21 AM

And my Ima just emailed me and asked me if I have a good recipe for some exotic cheescake. HASHKACHAH HASHKACHAH!!(divine providence)

Posted by: brad | May 31, 2006 3:11:34 AM

In the words of the Beatles: "number 9, number 9, number 9"

Posted by: cruisin-mom | May 31, 2006 3:23:41 AM

I love Kahlua. It is my favorite liqueur! I always have it on hand.

If and when I ever have the (dis)pleasure of meeting Jack, I will make him some!! LOL!

Thanks for sharing the recipe. I never knew any man who could actually like...bake!

Posted by: Stacey | May 31, 2006 5:57:57 AM

Sure, another Chicken Vindaloo experience. Just what I need. ;)

Posted by: Jack | May 31, 2006 7:05:24 AM

Town Crier... Probably not, but I can assure you that it is waaaay better.

Savta Yaffa... Your friend's statement that her recipe were 'special (and the implication that yours were not) goes back to my theory of why I think I was set on not sharing. Granted I would not have been as direct as your friend, but there is some aspect of wanting people to associate something delicious only with you. I guess I'm a bit selfish under it all.

Sarah... Try out the recipes and let me know what you think.

Zemirah... Dessert Topping is a powdered substance that comes in an envelope which when blended with milk creates a thick whipped cream-like topping for cakes or fruit dishes. Dream Whip is one brand but there are many others. I have no idea what is available down under, but look for any dry whipped topping mix that one would blend with milk.

Brad... Go know! :-)

Cruisin' mom... I'll take that as a good thing. :-)

Stacey... Wait... you and Jack aren't married but living in different cities??? But I read on Dating Master that... :-)

Jack... I assure you these recipes are both tested and considered perfectly safe. Unless, of course, that was supposed to be a jab at Stacey's prowess in the kitchen... in which case I won't intrude on a marital dispute. :-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | May 31, 2006 10:54:00 AM


How many cups of Kahlua do you have at the end? That is, how big a bottle does one need?

Does it have to be a glass bottle?

Posted by: sarah | May 31, 2006 11:10:57 AM

Sarah... I'm sure you could look at the recipe and figure out how many cups... but I usually store it in bottles, not cups so I relate to your question that way. I typically double the recipe (I figure if I'm already making a mess in the kitchen...) and the yield is somewhere between 2.5 and 3 liters. You can use plastic in a pinch, but I like to keep my alcohol in glass bottles... call me old fashioned. Save your grape juice bottles or beg a few from a neighbor. BTW, thanks for the mention on both of my most recent posts.

Posted by: treppenwitz | May 31, 2006 11:19:57 AM

Re: Baily's Irish Cream
I was in Scotland last summer and came across the most delicious flavor of Haagen Dazs ice cream I've ever tasted: Baileys Irish Cream. I noted with considerable interest that it had an OU. And for those thinking maybe it included the favor ingredients but not actual Baileys, the ingredients list included Bailey's Irish Cream by name. What do we make of that? BTW, I haven't been able to find this flavor since and could only find it in one store in Scotland. But as it was AMAZING, I would appreciate any leads anyone (especially from the UK) might have.

Posted by: Temporary Delurker | May 31, 2006 4:33:04 PM

temporary delurker... Glad you decided to say hello. First of all, you are not the first one to mention that they'd seen Haagen dazs Baileys® Irish cream flavored ice cream with an OU. So I went to the OU's product page and did a search for Haagen Dazs Bailey's Irish Cream... and it is listed as OU d. Sooo here's a link to a site that will send you a pint right to your door. Let me know how it turns out.

Posted by: treppenwitz | May 31, 2006 4:48:41 PM

I was referring to number nine of the directions!...

9.Lick bowl until face and ears are sufficiently chocolaty and then wash mixing bowl

Posted by: cruisin-mom | May 31, 2006 5:19:46 PM

Unless, of course, that was supposed to be a jab at Stacey's prowess in the kitchen

There is a reason why I carry a bottle of Pepto Bismol on me.

Posted by: Jack | May 31, 2006 6:17:05 PM

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