Tag Archives: challah

Peppermint Hot Cocoa Challah

Yield:
1 large loaf or 2 smaller loaves

hot cocoa challah w text

The holiday season is sort of a strange time for me. Like many American Jews, I grew up celebrating both Christmas and Hanukkah. When I decided to firmly embrace my Jewish side, I felt like I had to give up Christmas and some of the secular joys of the holiday season. To complicate matters, Christmas reminds me terribly of my mother who passed away when I was sixteen, and so while it is a connection to her, it is a bittersweet memory.

My mom really got into holidays – all holidays – whether it was Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas, she was ready with some tacky earrings, decorative salt shakers and surely an ugly sweater or two as well. She loved Christmas music, and from early December through New Year’s we would be subjected to a rotation of possibly the two worst Christmas albums ever made: Johnny Matthis and Amy Grant. I cringe just thinking about those CDs of hers.

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Nevertheless, the season is bittersweet as I balance my desire to connect to these memories of my mother, participate in some kind of festive activities while maintaining the strong Jewish identity of my family. I admittedly tread a fine line: baking holiday cookies every year for my husband’s office, (though not in red or green or Santa shapes) listening to The Nutcracker with my daughter and combining the flavors or chocolate and peppermint in various forms to pay homage to the season. After all, should Christians really get to drink all the skinny peppermint mochas at Starbucks!?

Two years ago I started making a chocolate peppermint bundt cake that my husband and I absolutely adored. And while I have been whipping up lots of batches of peppermint hot cocoa for my little one, I wanted to take these flavors to the next level by adding them to, what else: challah.

What makes this challah so special is not only the deep dark chocolate dough, or the melty,chocolate chips inside, but also the super gooey marshmallows dotting the top. When my daughter spotted the finished product her eyes lit up and she wanted to break into the chocolaty masterpiece right away. Who am I to say no, especially when it makes for such an adorable picture. And yes, she is wearing her ballet costume because she had been practicing her Nutcracker dance moves.

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It may not be overtly Christmas-y, nor is it exactly what I did with my mother. But somehow creating something new, that touches upon the joy and spirit of the holiday season, brings me comfort, connects me to my past and allows me to create new memories for my family.

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Peppermint Hot Cocoa Challah

Posted on December 22, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Butternut Squash and Sage Challah

Butternut squash and sage are one of my favorite flavor pairings. It makes a wonderful soup, and who doesn’t want to smother butternut squash filled pasta in a sage butter sauce? I do, and I would happily eat it for breakfast.

Butternut Squash Challah Nosher3

Pumpkin challah I have made and conquered, and I have even seen recipes for sweet potato challah. Still, I wanted to try my hand at using butternut squash, which is why I was thrilled to write a guest post for my friend and fellow blogger Melinda of Kitchen-Tested based on this idea.

Let me assure you: the result was fantastic. The butternut squash blended incredibly well into the challah dough and the color was just so pretty: a subtle orange flecked with tiny bits of fresh sage.

If you are looking for something uniquely Jewish to add to your Thanksgiving table this challah is definitely the thing.

For the full recipe, head over to Kitchen-Tested.

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Posted on November 18, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Mushroom, Onion, and Challah-Stuffed Acorn Squash

Challah stuffing stuffed acorn squash

Thanksgiving is one of my family’s favorite holidays. Besides Passover, it is one of the only times we all come together during the year and so my mother and I get pretty excited about planning; we spend months working on the perfect place cards, décor, side dishes and desserts. We went all out for Thanksgivukkah last year creating this recipe for sweet potato latkes with toasted marshmallows.

This year we are very much in the midst of menu planning, and can’t wait to make this new dish for challah stuffing stuffed acorn squash, made with classic Thanksgiving flavors like squash, dried cranberries, thyme and even pecans.

Challah stuffing stuffed acorn squash

This dish has a great “wow factor” due to its eye-catching presentation but is quite simple to make. You can even make it ahead of time to save time the day of Thanksgiving. This dish also serves as a great vegetarian entree for your guests.

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Challah Stuffing Stuffed Acorn Squash

Posted on November 12, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Savory Za’atar Challah

Yield:
2 loaves

Za’atar is one of my favorite ingredients to use when cooking. I roast potatoes with it and chicken too. So it was only a matter of time until I found a way to make a za’atar flavored challah.

Zaatar

I don’t make my own za’atar, but rather buy it in bulk whenever I am in Israel. You can either buy za’atar at a Middle Eastern or specialty spice store, or also make your own. Za’atar is traditionally made with a mix of oregano, sesame seeds, sumac and salt. I actually chose to add extra sumac in this recipe because the za’atar mix I bought didn’t have a strong flavor, but you can leave that out if you prefer.

Zaatar Challah

This challah has a lovely, subtle flavor that is perfect with a savory meal. I would serve this challah with hummus, tahini and baba ganouj for a lovely start to Shabbat dinner.

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Za'atar Challah

Posted on October 30, 2014

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Pumpkin Soup with Sage and Challah Croutons

We made it through the first set of the holidays. Congrats to all of us. Of course we look forward to and enjoy the holidays with out families, but they are also exhausting.

And what’s next? Another holiday of course. It’s time for Sukkot.

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By the time it’s Sukkot I am ready for lighter meals, which is why a delicious soup with a salad, cheese and crackers is my ideal menu. It’s satisfying, but a little lightened up after the past few weeks of meal-laden celebrating.

Sukkot also coincides with the fall, and my obsession for all things pumpkin. Cakes and pies, grilled and roasted: you name it I have done it or will be doing it. This soup is amazing because when you are roasting the pumpkin and red pepper with the sage you entire house will smell like the warming flavors of fall.

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Note: I prefer to roast the red peppers the day before making the soup. The skin comes off more easily with plenty of time for cooling.

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Pumpkin Red Pepper Soup with Sage and Challah Croutons

Posted on October 6, 2014

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Honey Whole Wheat Challah

Yield:
2 small loaves, or one large loaf

honey whole wheat challah

Dreaming up crazy flavors of challah like pastrami sandwich challah, balsamic apple date challah or gruyere and pesto stuffed challah is one of my greatest joys as a baker. But sometimes I do long for a simpler challah, and have even been known to make whole wheat challah. Yes, it’s true. I hope you were sitting for that.

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I use a half whole wheat, half all-purpose unbleached flour ratio when making my whole wheat challah. Yes, you could try to use all whole wheat flour, but challah is supposed to be light and fluffy, and whole wheat flour is simply more dense. Because the whole wheat flour is denser, I make sure to be particularly patient when letting it rise: for the first rise I allow 4 hours, and for the second rise another 1 1/2 hours. It may seem like a lot, but the result is worth it. My mother-in-law even commented about this challah, “this is sinful.” Whole wheat challah? Sinful? Well, I will take it. And especially from my mother-in-law!

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I also like to add ground flax seed in the challah for a little extra dose of healthiness which is impossible to detect. And inspired by the beautiful, Israeli challot of Breads Bakery, I love to add pumpkin seeds, whole flax seeds, oats, sesame seeds, black sesame seeds and even sunflower seeds on top for a fun and healthy crunch.

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This honey whole wheat challah is perfect for Rosh Hashanah. And instead of a savory topping like the ones I just mentioned, you could add a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar on top for an extra sweet, and healthy, new year ahead.

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Honey Whole Wheat Challah

Posted on September 18, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Summer Pesto and Gruyere Stuffed Challah

Yield:
1 large challah

There are few things better than a freshly baked challah. But sometimes even perfection needs a little shake-up. Or perhaps more accurately, a little stuffing.

I have experimented stuffing challah with sweet combinations like my Balsamic Apple Date Challah and super savory varieties like my Pastrami Sandwich Challah. But I had been hankering to try something with a little summer flare to it.

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This latest stuffed challah is a bit lighter than both my previous stuffed challah experiments, with brightness from fresh herbs and just a touch of richness from the cheese.

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And the truth is you can stuff your challah with any pesto variation you like: kale pesto, fresh herb pesto or a traditional basil-pine nut pesto.

Don’t want to include cheese? Just leave it out. You will still have a deliciously unique stuffed challah experience.

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Pesto and Gruyere Stuffed Challah

Posted on July 10, 2014

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Key Challah

Have you heard of the tradition of baking a shlissel challah, or key challah, the Shabbat after Passover? I hadn’t either until last year when I started noticing pictures of key-shaped challot and challot with keys baked somewhere in the loaf last year on Facebook and instagram.

Liz key challahI googled and finally found out the reason. A shlissel challah is a good omen, or a segula, for livelihood, parnassa.

Melinda from Kitchen Tested has a great explanation of this tradition:

The key challah is supposed to bring “segulah for parnassah” or a blessing to their home. Why right after Passover? On the high-holidays, we ask G-d to open the gates of heaven for our prayers and on Passover, we ask G-d to recall how He opened the gates for the entire nation of Israel in the days after the Jews left Egypt and were welcomed in to the “promised land.” When the challah is made to represent a key, we are asking for the key to unlock the gates for us as well.

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So what do you think – will you try your hand at making a key challah as a good omen? Koshereye has video instructions to help if you’re up for the challenge.

A special thank you to Liz Morley, aka mama Morley, for sharing her picture of shlissel challah with The Nosher.

Shabbat Shalom!

Posted on April 25, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Scrumptious Southern Sweet Potato Challah

Passover’s over; challah week is here! Yesterday we gave you dessert challah with our Double Chocolate Chip Challah and today we’re offering you this delicious Sweet Potato Challah devised by our friends down in Jackson, Mississippi.

Want to see how these…

sweet potatoes

…can be turned into this?

sweet potato challah

Click here to find the recipe on Southern & Jewish.

Bon apetit, y’all!

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Posted on April 24, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Double Chocolate Chip Challah

Yield:
One large loaf or two smaller loaves

I always say that I loathe Passover, but there is a part of me that also enjoys it. Or at the very least, appreciates its value. It’s a week where we are challenged to be even more thoughtful about the food we eat and where it comes from. And it’s almost like our own version of a Spring cleanse. Bye-bye carbs, hello vegetables and creative use of potatoes. I do feel lighter after a week without bread and pasta, despite my bitching and moaning all the way through. And believe me, my husband can vouch for my constant kvetching.

choc-challah-stamp2But the time has come to indulge in some carbs once again, and I can’t wait to get back to my Friday routine of baking challah with my daughter.

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And do you know what’s better than challah? Chocolate chip challah. And perhaps even better than chocolate chip challah? Double chocolate chip challah laced with cinnamon, vanilla and dark cocoa powder.

I swear by Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder and highly recommend you keep it stocked for cookies, cakes and sometimes even challah.

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Double Chocolate Chip Challah

Posted on April 23, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy