Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Challah 6- Strand Braid

As promised, here are the photos for the six strand braid. The recipe that I used is a real keeper- the dough was easy to knead and braid. The baked loaves maintained their shape and browned gorgeously. Not to mention, they were light and fluffy. I'll be making this recipe often.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Challah- 5 Strand Braid

Here's how to make a beautiful 5 strand braid. The resulting loaf has a lovely ridge down the center. The mantra to repeat as you're braiding is 1 over 3, 2 over 3, 5 over 2. Just remember, practice makes perfect!

Begin with five strands rolled out and attached at the top.

Take the left most strand, the first one, and bring it over the third strand.
Take the second strand and bring it over the third.
Bring the right most strand, the fifth, and bring it over the second. It should be right after the first strand and next to the strands that are overlapping. Repeat until the end. Adjust the braid so that the ridge is centered.

Simple and oh so lovely. A guide on the six strand with the recipe will follow soon. Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Orange Cake

This weekend, like many before it, I decided to stay in for Shabbat. When people stay in we find meals out by friends or I host myself. Friday night was at my close friend S and lunch I hosted. Dinner was lovely-- met some nice people and just enjoyed the sense of friendship and good conversation. I made Challah and dessert for both meals.. But more on that in other posts. Dessert for Friday night was easy. A simple, light, perfect to go with tea, cake that I had in mind to make for awhile. Orange cake. Perfect as I have a lovely bottle of Neilsen-Massey orange extract to use. This cake was delicious!! I actually think I ate half the cake myself. Maybe that's just because I'm off sugar during the week and I'm compensating?? Anyway, all I know was that it was texturally and flavorally spot on.

Orange Cake
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
4 eggs
3/4 cup oil
3/4 cup orange juice
1 tbsp orange extract
orange zest

Preheat the oven to 350. Thoroughly grease a bundt pan. Combine dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, stir the liquid ingredients well. Pour on top of the dry ingredients and stir well to combine. Pour into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let cool well before turning out onto a rack. To make the glaze, just throw together some powdered sugar, orange extract and orange juice to make a glaze of drizzling consistency.

Happy eating!

Thursday, January 22, 2009


It seems that wedding, or engagement season, never really stops. Thank G-d. Hearing such wonderful news never ceases to warm my heart and put a smile on my face. I adore weddings, all of the dancing and the happiness and the romance of it all really gets to me. So when T and D got engaged (FINALLY!) I was more than happy to contribute some baked goods to their engagement party. It's especially nice to contribute things to one another as many of us are immigrants, here without our families. That said, once here our friends become our family and we want to be there for each other whenever possible. I'd long been wanting to make Snickerdoodles... something about the name is just so.. FUN! And then I always like stick in something more sophisticated, AKA less likely to be appreciated so I chose Ginger Cookies. Thankfully, they were both easy to make and well received. Using a cookie scoop to scoop out the cookies really makes life alot simpler. The Snickerdoodles turned out soft and not crisp as they were meant to, but they were nonetheless homey and delicious. The Ginger Cookies had a nice texture and a nice bite; I like them spicy! The dough for the Ginger Cookies can be refrigerated overnight and scooped at your leisure the next day. Both of these recipes are from the King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion, a really worthwhile purchase.

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup margarine or butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
3/4 tsp salt
2 3/4 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Cream together the margarine, shortening, sugar, vanilla and baking powder. Add the eggs, beating until smooth. Be sure to scrape the bowl at least once. Add the flour, mixing slowly until combined. For the coating, combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Using a tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop the dough into the sugar-cinnamon mixture, turning to coat. Place them onto the prepared baking sheets and flatten with a glass or with your fingers. Bake the cookies for 8 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. Transfer to a rack to cool.

Sugar and Spice Drops aka Ginger Cookies
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 2/3 cups flour
Granulated sugar for coating the dough

Preheat the oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment. In a bowl, beat together the oil, sugar, molasses, leaveners, salt and spices. Mix in the flour. Place granulated sugar in a small bowl. Using a cookie scoop, scoop dough into the sugar bowl, turning to coat. Transfer dough balls to baking sheets. Either you can flatten the balls with your fingers, resulting in a smooth cookie, or you can leave them be, resulting in a lovely, crackled top. Bake the cookies for ten minutes or until set. Remove from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

It's Been Too Long...

My how the time flies... I didn't realize how long it's been since I last updated this blog and how much I've really missed it. I'm still stuck without internet in my room, but I will try to seek it out enough that I can update the blog-- I truly miss blogging! As far as the amount I've been baking... I bake now mostly for the weekends.. that's right, the usual challot and desserts for Shabbat--- as we all know, time and money are tight.. It gets expensive! I've neglected taking pictures of the things I have made because I figured that they'd never get posted.. I'll try to work on that and I will be back soon to post some cookie recipes that I made recently and was a fan of.. so be patient and stay tuned!