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Posts Tagged ‘Jewish Recipes’

For those unfamiliar with Challah, it is a sweet egg bread which is a staple at Jewish holiday meals but enjoyed all the time.  Typically, it baked as a braided loaf or a round swirled loaf, both with shiny tops as a result of an egg-white wash prior to baking.  The recipe here differs from the typical challah by being made in a bread machine with its tall loaf shaped pan.  Another difference is that most store bought challahs are made without any dairy so that those who keep kosher can enjoy the bread with a meat meal.  This recipe contains butter and milk and is very delicious (I find the top 1.5 inches of the loaf to be heaven – almost as enjoyable as cheesecake).

Bread Machine Challah

Bread Machine Challah

I assume if you do not have a bread machine, you can combine the ingredients below and prepare it as you would any white bread.  In addition, many people enjoy adding ingredients.  Feel free to add a half cup of golden raisins (but possibly reduce the sugar content to compensate for the added sweetness of the raisins).  Some enjoy a little vanilla extract in their challah.For those with a bread machine, you know how simple making bread can be.  Place your wet ingredients in the pan first and then place the dry ingredients on top; let the machine do the rest.  I find with some bread machine recipes that the machine has some trouble combining all the ingredients together.  That is not the case here.

Bread Machine Challah – 1 Rolling pin

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup milk (I use ½% milk and have found using whole milk makes no difference)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt (approximate)
  • A pinch of saffron, crumbled (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, either melted or softened
  • 3½ cups bread flour
  • 1½ teaspoons dry yeast (not rapid rise)

Cook:

  • Measure milk into a measuring cup and microwave to a slightly warm temperature (settings vary based on microwave strength – start with 20 seconds and go from there if needed)
  • Pour milk into the bread pan
  • Add the next 6 ingredients (though you might want to beat the eggs first)
  • Top with flour and yeast.  If you are starting the machine with a time delay, place the yeast on top so it does not come in contact with the wet ingredients.
  • Set bread machine to the standard white bread setting, 1½ pound loaf, light crust.  Start and wait (about 3 hours).
  • When done, remove from loaf pan to cool on a rack.  Try not cool in pan as the bread machine paddle may have trouble coming out.  You don’t have to let it cool too much before you can slice.  Who doesn’t love fresh, warm bread?  Enjoy!
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It’s Purim!  Hold on, maybe I should start by quickly explaining what Purim is.  In late winter the Jewish people retell the story of Esther, who would one day become queen of Persia and save the Jews from the evil Haman (boo).  The holiday is marked by the retelling of the story along with carnivals and costumes.  Purim is the Israeli equivalent of our Halloween (and no, it’s not ok to dress as Charlie Sheen for Purim this year.)

The traditional food at Purim is Hamantashen, a triangular cookie modeled off of Haman’s (boo) three-cornered hat.  You can fill them with all sorts of delicious fillings.  My favorite growing up was the cherry filled ones.  They are just so delicious.  This year Jodi and I made three kinds: almond, cherry almond, and cherry.  We used the almond paste you can find at the grocery store and canned cherry pie filling*.

Make sure to be patient when folding the cookies.  It can be frustrating, and certain fillings will behave more than others.  If you aren’t as confident in your cookie folding skills I recommend starting off with an easy filling like raspberry jam.  I am also providing below a graphic** that may be helpful when folding the Hamantashen.

Hamantashen – 2 Rolling Pins – Makes 2 dozen cookies

Dough Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 stick butter or margarine
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 small orange
  • pinch of salt (less than 1/8 teaspoon)

Filling (choose what sounds best to you):

  • Chopped apricots combined with honey
  • Chopped dates combined with honey
  • Almond paste
  • Jams (raspberry, strawberry, blackberry, and orange marmalade all work well)
  • Poppy seeds
  • Pie filling*

Prep:

  1. Take the butter or margarine out of the fridge about 1 hour before you are planning to bake to allow it to soften.
  2. Wash the orange to remove any wax from the peel.
  3. In a bowl use a fine grater to remove the orange zest (the bright orange part of the peel).  Set aside.
  4. In a second bowl squeeze out the juice from the orange.  Set aside.

Bake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350º Fahrenheit.
  2. In a bowl combine butter and sugar until well mixed.
  3. Add the egg and stir to combine.
  4. Add ½ tablespoon of the orange juice, ½ teaspoon of the orange zest, and the vanilla extract to the bowl and stir well.
  5. Add the flour, salt and baking powder, and stir well until the dough is well mixed.
  6. Spread a thin layer of flour on a counter top or table to roll out the dough.  Also put some flour on a rolling pin.
  7. Roll the dough carefully until very thin (about 1/8 inch thick).
  8. Use either a cookie cutter, biscuit cutter or a rim of a glass (about 3 inches in diameter) to cut circles of the dough.
  9. Reroll any scraps of dough to cut additional rounds.
  10. Spread about 1 tablespoon of your filling (or a little less) into the center of the round of dough.
  11. Fold three sides of the round so that they meet toward the middle and pinch together the corners.
  12. Repeat this step with all of the cookies and filling.
  13. Place the cookies on a well-greased baking sheet.
  14. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until they are golden.
  15. Allow the Hamantashen to cool, serve and enjoy!

*A BIG note on using pie filling.  I found that filling caused the Hamantashen to not stay well in a triangle.  If you use filling use it sparingly and be prepared for some wounded soldiers.  Jodi and I think it might be worth separating the fruit from the goop and just using the fruit.  Our theory is that the goop was the culprit.

**

 

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