Challah is one of my favorite breads. I prepare a slightly sweet, spicy and tender whole wheat challah on Friday. I enjoy leftovers all week-long (usually in the morning with the required cups of coffee), toasted and slathered with butter and Spanish honey or a spoonful of homemade Turkish fig butter.
Of course, one cannot live on bread alone (though I almost can). Chocolate is also required for sustenance. We’ve been playing around with a vegan chocolate truffle recipe (or as my little girls calls them, “KKKKruffles!”). The recent creation of a fig, ginger and orange variety are over-the-top scrumptious and focus on the chocolate, chocolate, chocolate.
A blog posted a yummy homemade whole wheat tortillas recipe. Hers look perfect; mine appear “rustic” at best (read: ugly) but taste great. They are stuffed with all of the fixing for fish tacos (or in my case, bean tacos, as fish is making me nauseous. Hubby says, “It’s another BOY.”).
Other recent adventures in Curls and Carrots land: the hubby completes the long interview trail; there is lots of gardening; the kids and I enjoy nightly evening walks around the ‘hood. Littlest Guy rides in the stroller and four-year-old Snu Magoo walks with me, up to a mile. She calls them our “Girl Walks”!
Whole Wheat Challah
Adapted from Yummly.
1 cup hot water (110•F)
2 1/4 tsp. bread machine yeast (Red Star)
1 tsp. granulated sugar 1/4 cup butter or Earth Balance, melted
1/4 cup good quality honey
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 cups organic, whole wheat bread flour
1 tsp. cardamom (or substitute cinnamon or nutmeg)
1 1/2 tsp. fine salt 1 cup golden or brown California raisins (optional)
1 egg 1 Tablespoon water
1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
your seed of choice, such as pumpkin, sunflower, sesame or poppy.
- Place the hot water, yeast and sugar in a bread machine. Close and allow to sit fifteen minutes.
- Add butter, honey and egg.
- On top of it, add the flour, raisins, cardamom and salt.
- Run the “dough” cycle.
- Do not open the machine after the cycle ends. Allow the challah to proof on a counter (free from drafts) for several hours, or overnight in the refrigerator.
- Divide the bread into at least three strands, or more for a complex braid.
- Roll the strands out on a floured surface. Braid the strands.
- Place the challah in a standard-sized, greased loaf pan.
- Mix the egg, water and vanilla. Brush the challah with the mixture. You will not use all of it.
- Sprinkle the challah with your seed of choice.
- All challah to rise in the bread pan, in a warm place, for at least an hour. The challah will rise above the pan.
- Preheat oven to 425•F. Place the challah in the preheated oven. Cover with parchment paper.
- Immediately reduce the temperature to 350•F.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the loaf light golden and makes a hollow sound when tapped at the bottom.
- Cool and slice. Serve with butter and honey, if desired. Reserve extras; this bread makes the ideal French toast.
Gingered Fig Truffles (Vegan, GF)
Adapted from Giada de Laurentiis at The Food Network
1 cup roasted, salted cashews
1 cup water
12 ounces 60-70% dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup fig jam, homemade or store-bought, or 1/4 cup puréed Turkish figs and 1/4 cup honey
1 tsp. fresh, grated ginger
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
the zest of one orange
Topping suggestions: unsweetened cocoa powder; chopped, crystallized ginger; chopped, roasted pistachios
- Line a standard-size baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Blend the cashews and water in a food processor until creamy. You will not need all of the cashew cream.
- In a medium bowl, combine 2/3 cups of cashew cream and the dark chocolate. Place the bowl over a pan of barely simmering hot water.
- Stir occasionally until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth, a few minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the preserves, ginger, vanilla and orange zest.
- Taste the mixture. If it is not sweet enough for your taste, add additional fig jam, one tablespoon at a time.
- Place the mixture in a food processor and process until very smooth and velvety.
- Refrigerate the mixture until firm, several hours or overnight.
- With a small “melon-ball” ice cream scoop or a tablespoon-size round measuring spoon, spoon out the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Roll the mixture into balls and return to the baking sheet. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
- Roll the truffles in your chosen toppings and enjoy. Keep refrigerated to maintain freshness.
©Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, shannaward.com (2013-2014), unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author, Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, and/or owner is strictly and completely prohibited.