Aside from almost an entire chocolate cake leftover after the weekend, I was also left with a whole, untouched loaf of challah. What to do with it? My first thought was french toast, but we don't exactly have a stove top to fry that in. My roommate suggested I make a french toast casserole, specifically one she enjoyed at a bridal shower we both attended. I got the recipe but decided to just find my own recipe for bread pudding. (It seems to me that I wasnt the only one with bread pudding on the brain, as seen here and here.) I was kind of nervous about making it because this is the type of dessert that I thought the girls would balk at. Soaked bread? Knowing that these girls would eat anything I set before them, I forged ahead (and told them it was challah kugel- made them feel right at home!). Bread pudding is, as I said before, bread that is soaked in custard and then baked. You can add whatever you feel like, chocolate, raisins, fruit, etc. This recipe is adapted from Marcy Goldman's in which she adds white chocolate. I didn't have her exact ingredients on hand, so I just used whatever I did have, using the guideline of about 3 cups liquid. I used some cream, a bit of regular milk, and soy milk for the rest. I also totally missed the seventh egg, using only six medium. The resulting bread pudding was certainly no beauty, but was so..... housewarming. My roommate cut into it and deemed it delicious, so then I knew it was going to be okay. I was worried that the texture would be wet and mushy and eggy, but I was happy to see that it wasn't wet at all, but perfectly moist. I set it out for the girls to devour, and when I came home most of it was gone. I really was surprised about that. Anyway, feel free to doctor this recipe as you wish. And just know that french toast is not your only option when contemplating uses for stale challah. This post is headed straight to Yeastspotting! Check it out!
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
Friday, March 18, 2011
I'm not really sure why I never thought to make crackers before. They are as easy as pie (dough) and awesome. Awesomely addictive, that is. In addition to the spelt pitas that I made for Shabbat last weekend, I made these, figuring I'd need something to much on Shabbat morning. Well, they didn't make it that long. I know I only made half a recipe, but still. This recipe comes from Whole Grain Baking (another duh!). It was hard to pick a cracker recipe but knowing that I still had rye flour sitting in the fridge, I opted for these Crispy Rye Crackers. Just like pie crust, you mix some dry ingredients together, in this case, rye flour, regular flour, and a bit of cocoa powder. Stir in some caraway seeds (YUM!), rub in some fat, drizzle in some water and molasses. Chill, roll, bake. Done. I topped half of the batch with fleur de sel, but I think I preferred them without. I would say these would be great for tuna fish or whatever else you got laying around, but they are also so good by themselves. They are so munchable, you can't stop at just a few. Definitely going to try more crackers in the future. Sesame? Can't hardly wait.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
This past Shabbat, we had a school weekend in a beautiful community called Nof Ayalon. Knowing that the food we would be eating for lunch was yeshiva food, I took the opportunity to once again bring my own bread with me so at least I knew I would be eating something. I whipped out my Whole Grain Baking and decided to make the Spelt Pita. It's been a while since I last tried my hand at making pita (the last try was the successful Whole Wheat Pitot) and I still have a bag of spelt flour hanging around from when I discovered a health food store that sold presifted every type of flour imaginable. (I have since found a much closer store that carries everything in more. I even found rye flakes!) It seemed the natural choice. One might ask, why make pita when you live in Israel? Now, it's true that pitot are Israeli's most loveable bread, especially if you love falafel. With their built in pocket, they are ready for any sandwich filling and they are ubiquitous. Still, there's something to be said about homemade bread- it's just fun! Especially watching them balloon in the oven. That never gets old. And I've never seen a spelt pita in any store. So there. Back to the recipe. I made a half recipe and it was quite simple. Make a sponge, add remaining ingredients, knead, let rise. I stashed my dough in the fridge overnight and baked them off Friday morning. I rolled them a bit too thin, so next time I would make them smaller so that they are more bready and sandwich like. I wasnt able to enjoy them right out of the oven, they would be soo good that way, but nonetheless they were really good. The spelt lends a noticeable sweetness and mellowness and I love the speckled, branny look it gave the dough as well. These breads are off to Yeastspotting!
Months ago, when I was planning what to desserts to bake (I dont even remember what for), I found this upside down cake in Carole Walter's Great Cakes and decided to make it. I even went out and bought a can of apricot halves. I guess at the last second I opted for something else and so the apricots were relegated to the pantry shelf. I finally decided to put them to use (time for something else to take a seat in the pantry!) and having all the ingredients for this cake decided to make it while I was already making the pumpkin cake. This cake is a traditional upside down cake in that you just melt some margarine or butter in a pan, sprinkle with sugar and top with fruit. The batter is then spread over the top and baked. I had a slight mishap turning the cake out, I simply replaced the apricot halves and no one was the wiser. I was a bit nervous about how this cake would be received; my roommate was the first one to try it, and she, lover of all things fruit, declared it to be yummy. Although it finished second to the pumpkin cake, it was finished and enjoyed, and I'm happy that at least some girls tried something new. I think they were honestly astonished to see apricots on a cake. Anyway, some notes. The cake was nice and moist but I was nervous the fruit would make the top of the cake too soggy. Indeed it was very moist, which is to be expected somewhat. Take care to thoroughly drain and dry the apricot halves to prevent any problems. The cake looks quite elegant but would also be at home with some vanilla ice cream.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Last week, I took a girl to the doctor on Emek Refaim. While she was in his office, I took the opportunity to go into the supermarket right next door. This supermarket is quite pricey, but their produce is beautiful and they carry loads of American products. I rarely go there because it's not often that I'm in the area, but I decided to take advantage. The first thing I looked for was canned pumpkin. I had gone through my last can around Thanksgiving time to make a pumpkin pie and I decided it was time to replenish my stock. I came home with four cans. :) This is all very well and good, but then came the challenge of figuring out what to do with them. First up? Pumpkin cake. I know, I know. Last year, I made Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Buttercream. But this cake? Far more humble. Baked in a simple 9x13, made with whole grains, and studded with chocolate chips.... as homey as homey gets. I cut them into huge hunks and piled them on a plate. Made with both margarine and oil, this cake was tender and moist; you could see it in the cut pieces. As far as the whole grains? You never would have guessed they were there. A dusting of powdered sugar would be nice here, but forgo it as I did if you're feeling rustic.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
I've had my eye on these for aaaages and I finally got around to making them this week. (Tip-Writing down a list of all the things you want to bake is really effective in getting rid of baker's block! I think it's safe to say that I'm back on my baking game!) I happen to love gingerbread and I think the pairing of the spices with white chocolate is brilliant and not just in terms of the color contrast. Put that into moist, fudgy bar form, and you have a winning combination. (I wonder how it would play out in a scone....) Anyway, I did make a couple of changes based on the reviews on the Martha Stewart website and they were to cut down the butter/margarine. Reviewers complained they were too greasy so I used a bit less than two sticks rather than two and a half. Also, I baked them in a 9x13 pan for thicker blondies, rather than in an 11x7 pan for a thin blondie, as pictured on the site. These cookies were a hit with the girls! I'm always very surprised when they taste things other than chocolate. They were a bit wary of them at first- many didnt even know what gingerbread was! (Don't worry, I educated them fast!) After they got passed the name, they tasted and loved them. The few pieces that were left were finished the next morning by my roommates, who werent dairy at the time of baking. They subsequently declared them very delicious. :)
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Chodesh tov and happy Adar! New week, new month, new challah recipe. I thought I was done with my challah exploits, but it seems I can't resist trying a new recipe. These challot are special to me because the recipe is none other than my own mother's. Growing up, I can't remember a time when we always had homemade challah. It was very rare that my mother baked them, but when she did, it was a special treat. At some point in high school, I remember her making a honey whole wheat challah for Sukkot, and it was very shortly after that I started to bake challot myself. I have very warm memories of my mother's kitchen- she's a fantastic cook and baker. When the smell of these wafted from the oven and even more so when I took my first bite, I was brought back to her kitchen. I don't know why it took me so long to make them, but they turned out so well. The texture was so nice and fluffy, but the flavor was all water challah, just like I like it. I made half a recipe but doubled the salt and switched from fresh yeast to dry, as that is what I use these days. I also cannot overstate the importance of sesame seeds on top of challot. I don't know why I didnt insist on them all the time. They are delicious! This bake is also unique in that it's the first time I tried this brand new flour type, Stybel #18, flour especially for challot, hence the picture on the bag. I stumbled on it in the supermarket, and unable to resist anything challah related, I bought a bag to try this time.....