Tuesday, September 29, 2009


So even though I would like to not admit it (only because it means we are closer to winter), Fall has arrived. I believe it may have even froze last night. However, last year was my first real experience with a true Fall/Autumn season and I have to say it was wonderful. There is a briskness in the air, the leaves are golden and on the ground, the sound of football games are in the background, and the smell of baked goods is usually coming from my house. I had gone on pretty much a hiatus from baking over the summer, but I have bounced back with my first fall recipe. I have always wanted to make challah bread, because I love its light yet dense buttery flavor and when I came upon this recipe in the new Martha Stewart Living magazine, I had to commit. It does take a bit of time, but it is so worth it... We managed to not eat it all last night, and hope to make bread pudding with the leftovers.

Apple-Honey Challah

Apples and honey, Rosh Hashanah's symbols of a sweet new year, are perfect additions to a loaf of challah.

Makes one 9-inch round loaf.

4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter or nondairy margarine, plus more for bowl, pan, and plastic
3 1/2 cups unbleached bread flour, plus more for surface
3/4 cup warm water (100 degrees)
2/3 cup honey
2 large eggs plus 3 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons active dry yeast (from one 1/4-ounce envelope)
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/2 tart green apples, preferably Granny Smith, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 1 3/4 cups)


1.Butter a large bowl, and melt 4 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat; let cool. Combine 2 tablespoons melted butter, the flour, water, 1/3 cup honey, the eggs and yolks, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Mix until dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and knead until smooth, about 10 minutes.
2.Transfer dough to buttered bowl, and brush with 1 tablespoon melted butter. Cover with plastic. Let rise in a warm place until dough almost doubles in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.
3.Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Pat into an 8 1/2-by-14-inch rectangle. Top with apples; knead to incorporate. Return to bowl. Brush with remaining tablespoon melted butter; cover. Let rise again in a warm place until dough almost doubles in volume, about 1 hour more.
4.Preheat oven to 375 degrees, with rack in lowest position. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan. Roll dough into a rope (about 24 inches) on a floured surface. Coil into a circle, and transfer to pan. Butter plastic wrap, and cover dough. Let rise again until dough almost doubles in volume, about 45 minutes more.
5.Heat remaining 4 tablespoons butter and 1/3 cup honey in a saucepan over medium-low heat until butter melts. Brush dough with half the honey-butter. Bake until golden brown and firm, about 35 minutes.
6.Brush challah with the remaining honey-butter. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Turn out loaf from pan, and let cool.


Friday, September 25, 2009

An Art Adventure

This weekend Native American artists from across the Northern Plains will gather in Sioux Falls, South Dakota to hold one of the largest Art Markets representing their culture and heritage. For more information you can visit their website, http://www.npiam.org I will be there on Saturday, and will report back about how it was and hopefully my many great findings. Regardless it should be and interesting excursion away from the homefront.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Black and White Crackle Cookies

Recently I was going to make a dessert for a friend of mines birthday, and she requested that I make these chocolate cookies that I had given her in the past from David Lebovitz's book "Room for Dessert". Lebovitz is like the guru of anything sweet so there are many great recipes for all kinds of desserts in his book, but the most acclaimed one that I have made thus far has to be the recipe for these black and white cookies. These are not the traditional New York style black and white cookies, but they are black and white nonetheless. They look beautiful and taste even better, many of my friends say they should come with a warning label, because literally once you pop you can't stop.

It's a Beautiful Day

It was a Beautiful Labor Day weekend here in Orange City and Christian, Roux, and myself tried to make the most of it. We went to the lake in Yankton, SD, we went to a movie, and we barbecued with some friends and had a bonfire, but my favorite part about our weekend, was this walk. I give thanks for everyday that we get to live on this earth, and these moments amongst nature with the ones that I love are so special, though simple, they mean so much. This area also holds a special place in our hearts, because along this trail is where Christian and I got engaged, with Roux in tow. It is refreshing to be able to visit this place that holds such a wonderful memory in our lives.