Monthly Archives: February 2015

Challah, Challah Bill Y’all – A Judeo-Christian culinary experience



About a month ago, my expert challah-making friend Kate (who has a laundry list of talents I might add), taught our group of friends how to make challah! In school, Kate made challah every week with an extracurricular group to raise money for hunger relief and let me tell you, it was the highlight of my week. My roommates in our sorority house NOMMED every week on one savory and one sweet loaf – usually some herby garlic, cinnamon raisin, or the cherished pumpkin chocolate chip (life will never be the same without you).

Bringing back the college memories and teaching us a little about Jewish traditions, Kate brought the dough and we contributed the toppings. I learned that in the Jewish tradition, you always bless the bread, hence, the importance of the challah. Shoutout to our snazziest consultant travelling visitor, Chandler who contributed most of these pics. While I didn’t actually make this dough, I can show you a bit about the process and how to get to the pretty part of the challah baking process 🙂

First, we rolled the dough (that had been rising for a few hours), into tiny balls that would later be rolled out


Then, you take two dough balls for your little challah roll and roll them into long thin flat rectangles. This is where you’re going to create a bed for all the fillings. In the pockets, you want to OVERLOAD on ingredients. This is one thing I hadn’t thought of – but apparently when you’re adding filling to these, since the dough expands so much, you always want to put more filling than looks necessary.

In this instance, we made chocolate chip-PB, chocolate cinnamon, sundried tomato garlic basil, peanut butter nutella, and I think cinnamon sugar. Delicious!


After you put the fillings in, you want to start tucking them in. There’s a sort of braiding going on where you tuck the right bottom corner to the left side of the dough and up. Then you go the opposite way and press into the dough to seal it. Do this until the filling is completely enclosed. The one below is sundried tomato, garlic, olive oil, and basil.


imagejpeg_1IMG_0003Once everybody’s sealed up, you want to make an X with the two pieces of dough. Then, carefully wrap the two strands around each other, seal the ends together, and spiral to make a round loaf.



Place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 for around 25-35 minutes – seems to be an art to this timing! Serve the savory ones with some yummy soup and have the sweet ones for dessert! Here’s to faith-sharing and food. Cheers 🙂


Blueberry Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Cookies


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My friend JP likes to preface every discussion over which type of baked good to make with, “How about something that makes me feel like it’s really healthy but it tastes really NOT healthy.” Frozen fruit combined with chocolate and oats? I think you’ve found your mate my friend. I’ve always been a huge fan of the trail mix cookie, or as I like to think of it, pantry dump baking. In the past I’ve made popcorn cookies, and dumped graham cracker crumbs, broken pretzel sticks, and granola into my cookies to add texture and flavor to the classic cookie.

At my apartment, we are partial to certain types of baked goods – mostly muffins, bars, and cookies. I’ve made fewer cakes and pies in the past year because they’re not as portable/shareable. Tell me if you agree with me here – a warm plate of cookies or muffins seems more homey and personal when bringing something to a potluck.

I just thought of the play out of a scene (go with me for a second) – you bring a warm plate of cookies to a party and as you set them down, the party-goers/cookie monsters all dive for dessert. The quickest hands grab one or two for themselves and a friend, disappear, and then as two singles go for the last cookie, they graze hands and awkwardly defer to the other. Before you know it, the two sweets-lovers are now sweethearts and you are now responsible not only for their cavities but eternal happiness. ALL BECAUSE of your blueberry oatmeal dark chocolate cookies. It’s hard being you, sometimes, is it not?

So – I’m not going to claim that that’s actually happened to me, but the point is, cookies are a crowd-pleaser and always a good dinner party companion. I brought these to a paella dinner at a dear friend’s parents house, and they warmed our hearts and stomachs on a cold January night.

When you make this for a crowd, will you let me know if you become the cookie match-maker and now have four beautiful God-children and recently find yourself as a main of honor/best man? Because then I’m going to write a match-making cookbook.

Blueberry Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Cookies

adapted slightly from lady and pups

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1/3 cup granulated white sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar (light or dark, I used light)

1 large egg, at room temp

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt (fine grain or table salt)

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 cup old fashioned oats

1/2 cup coarsely chopped dark chocolate

1 cup frozen blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, beat butter and both sugars together until fluffy (like a whipped butter). Then beat in egg and vanilla.

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3. In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. Slowly beat this mixture into the wet ingredients. Stir in oats slowly with a spoon. Then, fold in chopped chocolate and blueberries.

2015-01-19 17.39.41-1I had to put this picture in here because this Penzey’s cinnamon is a GAME CHANGER MY FRIENDS. My friend Mike got this for me for Christmas and it makes the biggest difference in my baked goods. Splurge if you are feelin lucky.2015-01-19 17.39.33

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2015-01-19 17.51.374. Roll dough into 1-2 inch balls and space out about 3 inches apart on a greased baking sheet.

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5. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let rest in the pan for 1 minute, then remove and let cool on a baking sheet.