I made these little delights a few weeks ago and wanted to post the recipe just in time for Easter or Passover. These macaroons are delicious little mouthfuls that are perfect for any occasion as spring creeps into our lives. I’ve been so desperate for some sunshine or even blooming flowers so I’ve been baking a lot of really light summery things lately. With their strong lemon flavor, these fit the bill! The original recipe was from the New York Times but I modified it quite a bit. These are a take on the traditional almendrado cookie of Spain which is a cookie made from blanched almonds and heavily whipped egg whites. While made of the same ingredients as macarons, the Spanish cookie is nothing like its French cousin but is still a treat! Almendrados are traditionally flavored with cinnamon and I was delighted to come across this lemon flavored variation.
In reality, these cookies are much simpler to make than the typical almendrados. It’s made of five ingredients and comes together in less than fifteen minutes. The longest part of this recipe is the chilling period between preparing the dough and baking. The chilling period is meant to help dry the cookies out but chilling your cookies also gives the ingredients time to combine into deeper flavors. The original recipe called for chilling for twelve hours or overnight but I’m impatient and I shortened it to six hours. You can do it for the whole twelve hours if you’d like but I thought it wasn’t necessary to wait! The recipe also calls for the zest of one lemon. I used the equivalent of four tablespoons. I love lemons and I will often zest my lemons as soon as I get them and freeze the zest in the little sauce containers you get from eating takeout. This has worked really well for me because I adore strong lemon flavoring and I’ll often just take a container out from the freezer and use the whole thing. I would recommend trying it because it can help to preserve the delicious flavor from summer lemons well into the winter. Let me know if you try this recipe, I really hope that you do! It’s delicious and a nice mouthful of sweetness for the lingering chilly wintery nights that we’re having these days! Happy baking!
Almond Lemon Macaroon Recipe
160 grams (1 2/3 cup) almond flour (Original recipe calls for grinding your own blanched almonds but that is time consuming and a LOT of work)
150 grams (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
1 large egg
Zest of 1 lemon or 4 tablespoons of lemon zest
Additional 50 grams (1/4 cup) granulated sugar for topping
About 30 almonds for decoration
In a bowl, combine the almond flour, granulated sugar, and lemon zest. Add the egg and mix well. Alternatively, use a food processor to combine ingredients.
Wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.
Preheat oven to 350F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Put the additional 50 grams of sugar into a bowl.
Tear off pieces of dough (about the size of a walnut) and roll into a ball. Roll in the sugar and press an almond into the top until it is half buried in the dough. Aim the pointy part of the almond into the dough.
Bake cookies 8-10 minutes until the barest hint of color shows on them. Cookies should still be a little soft when removed from the oven so they don’t harden too much. Cool completely and store in an airtight container. Enjoy!
This recipe was a request from one of my friends and I can never refuse a friend! I put out a call for what people thought I should do next on my Instagram and she sent me this! It looked delicious and it ended up making one monster of a cake! I would recommend making this one for a group, it took me about two weeks to finish it off myself after I gave her half…it was a lot of cake! It was delicious but the flavor may not be for everyone! It doesn’t taste quite like caramel, contrary to the description of the recipe from the New York Times cooking section. It is definitely more of a butterscotch cake and I really enjoyed it. If you’re not a butterscotch person, you could still make the cake but change up the frosting type. The frosting is incredibly thick and lends most of the butterscotch flavor. I also followed the recipe to a tee and I would recommend not doing any crazy substitutions until after you’ve made the recipe once. I’ve found that it’s easier to substitute and get creative when I’m not forced to do so by my lack of ingredients and easier still when I’m substituting in a recipe that I’m familiar with. I’d be pretty hesitant to substitute in a complicated dessert recipe because I worry about it going wrong and wasting all the ingredients!
So how did this recipe go for me? Honestly, pretty well! The cakes were easy enough to make and once made, the cake kept really well in the refrigerator. I’d even say that I preferred to eat it cold out of the refrigerator than fresh out of the oven. This recipe calls for a stand mixer but I used a handheld. If you prefer one or the other, use that, it doesn’t matter a ton in this recipe. I think the trickiest part of the recipe was the icing. I didn’t have a problem making it on the stove but it was really hard to actually ice the cake. I choose to drizzle the icing onto the cake after I had put it on the cake stand and the icing got everywhere. Not only was the icing messy, it also hardens immediately as it cools which meant that it hardened all over my prep table as it oozed off the cake. Definitely not the ideal especially as I was frantically trying to ice it before I was expecting a delivery…. It was messy but I’d be happy to do it again now that I know about the potential for mess. I would recommend doing two passes of icing on top, an initial drizzle over the top then one last pass to even out the layer. Doing a smaller layer twice will help to keep the mess to a minimum and prevent any unnecessary icing loss. I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I did and happy baking! Let me know if you have any ideas of what I should try next in the comments below!
NYT Butterscotch Cake
For the Cake
225 grams (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
375 grams (3 cups) self-rising flour
400 grams (2 cups) granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
240 milliliters (1 cup) buttermilk, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Icing
225 grams (1 cup) unsalted butter
440 grams (2 packed cups) dark/light brown sugar (OG recipe calls for dark, I used light)
120 milliliters (1/2 cup) buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
305 grams (3 cups) sifted confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour 2 nine inch cake rounds.
Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, four minutes. Scrape as you cream if you can.
Add eggs in one at a time, mixing well and then scraping the bowl. Then alternate adding in flour and buttermilk, starting with flour and ending with flour. Add the vanilla extract last and mix gently to combine.
Divide the batter evenly between the two pans (It was roughly 650 grams in each pan for me). Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, 30-40 minutes depending on your oven. Let cakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes then turn out into racks and let cool completely.
For the icing, melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over low heat. Add the brown sugar and whisk to combine. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat and let bubble for five minutes, whisking constantly to prevent any of the mixture from burning.
After five minutes, carefully and slowly add the buttermilk, stirring constantly until it comes to a roiling boil. Remove from heat and add salt. Transfer to a bowl.
Mixing on low, add the confectioner’s sugar, whisking until smooth. Add the vanilla and mix to combine. Icing should be glossy and pour easily.
While the icing is still hot, spread one cup over the top of the bottom layer then add the top layer. Use the rest of the icing on the top and sides of the cake. It will set as it cools so work quickly and carefully.
I love Flannery O’Connor! This short story collection was a birthday present from my brother and I was overjoyed to see this amongst my shipment of birthday books from him. The first book of hers that I read was Everything that Rises Must Converge, one her short story collections published posthumously. O’Connor was an extremely talented author from the mid-twentieth century American South who died tragically young from lupus after publishing one novel, Wise Blood, and the short story collection titled A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories. O’Conner’s wit is unmatched, she is very easily my favorite short story writer other than N. K. Jemisin. A Good Man is Hard to Find is full of haunting stories that left me unsettled after reading them. O’Connor’s fervent Catholicism is also very noticeable throughout the stories, they’re all full of overtones of original sin and man’s unworthy nature. I really like O’Connor but I do have some reservations in recommending her stories to other readers for a few reasons.
One of the biggest issues with reading O’Connor these days is her prolific use of the n-word. And when I say prolific, I mean it. O’Conner uses the word intentionally, conveying the terrible meaning of the word every time it is written. O’Connor uses the word to highlight the fragility of the social order in the post war South but that doesn’t make it comfortable to read. Her use of the word is so problematic that it’s even brought up in the introduction by Lauren Groff. I don’t think that the short stories would have the same undertones if the n-word wasn’t used but I still was really uncomfortable reading some of the stories. I think if you do decide to read this story collection, you have to be prepared to read it critically and I would NOT read it aloud. Just because the word was written in the fifties and the author didn’t view it as problematic then does not mean that it is not a very, very problematic word. The other issue a future reader may have is the unsettling threat of condemnation and sinfulness inherent in man found in every story. I really enjoy reading the stories because of that element; it makes me more contemplative of my own actions. However, just because I enjoy it, doesn’t mean that it’s for everyone. Either way, these stories were a quick read that could be digested over a nice lunch hour. I would recommend the stories to the intrepid reader but perhaps not for those who can’t watch a scary movie without sleeping with the light on. O’Conner is the master of Southern gothic after all! Happy reading!
I bring you to another one of my mail ready recipes! This was another one of the recipes that I tested out for mailing and according to the recipients, they made it through beautifully! I think the key to mail-able baked goods is both density and freezing! I made these twice because I made a few mistakes the first time. The second time that I made them was about a week before I mailed them and once they were cooled, I froze them in ziplock baggies until I was ready to ship them. Even from Baltimore, they only took two days to make it to the recipients on the West Coast which was fantastic! I was really excited to make these because they combine brownies and pecan pie, two of my favorite baked goods! I found these as a I was going through the New York Times Cooking website. I’ve featured a couple of their recipes now and I cannot stress how much I love their cooking section. In an effort to keep the New York Times alive, the cooking section was monetized and a subscription costs about $45 a year. If you’re able to pay, it is absolutely worth it. Some of their cooking recipes can be hard and unnecessarily complicated but I’ve found that the variety and quantity of recipes is unmatched. This specific recipe is from Melissa Clark, one of the many wonderful writers for the food section. These brownies took a little time to perfect but are a wonderful afternoon treat! As I’ll share below, the first time I made them was a little bumpy but I got the hang of it by the second time.
So what went wrong the first time that I made this? A couple things but the biggest issue was the pan size. This recipe calls for a 8 inch square pan, the typical brownie pan. However, the closest thing that I have to an 8 inch square pan is my 9 inch cake rounds. Instead of buying yet another pan, I decided to make the brownies in my rectangular cake pan (8 by 13) which caused them to burn pretty badly because I misjudged the baking time with the thinner layer of brownies in a larger pan. The second time, I used my nine inch cake rounds and cut the brownies into squares once they had cooled a little bit. I also didn’t bake as long on round two because I was worried about burning them. The original recipe said to bake up to 55 minutes for the topping to set. I only baked for fifty minutes and found the fudge-y texture of the brownies to be so yummy that I didn’t want to bake it any longer. Because I chose not to bake it as long, the pecans were liable to coming loose. So a bit of a trade-off but one that didn’t affect my brownies too much after I froze them. I also found the recipe to a be a little bitter both times I made it. The brownie batter itself is very sweet but the topping wasn’t. It may have been because I used whole milk rather than heavy cream in the topping and I think you may have better results if you add an additional tablespoon or two of light brown sugar. So let me know how it goes for you in the comments below and happy baking!
Heat an oven to 350F. Put the pecans onto a large sheet pan and roast for 8 minutes or until you can smell the nuts. Set on a rack and let cool.
Once ready to bake, heat oven to 350F. Grease and line an 8 inch square pan with two inches of excess parchment on each side to help lift out the brownies once they’re baked.
To make the brownies, place the butter and chocolate into a medium pot and place on the stove over low heat. Melt, stirring constantly. Once melted, scrape into a large bowl and mix in the granulated sugar. Let sit until cool to the touch, 4-5 minutes.
Once cooled, whisk the eggs into the chocolate mixture. Whisk in the flour, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt. Mix in chips and scrape into the prepared pan. Smooth over the batter into an even layer and set aside.
Make the pecan layer by whisking together the melted butter, honey, brown sugar, heavy cream, and fine sea salt. Fold in the pecans until well coated. Once mixed, pour pecan mixture in an even layer over the brownie batter.
Sprinkle lightly with flaky sea salt and bake until the top is set and firm to the touch, 45-55 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely before cutting into 16 squares.
This book was brought to my attention by my boyfriend. I don’t believe I had ever picked up a book by Ken Follett until this one and I was utterly enchanted. When we first started dating, I vaguely remember Jason mentioning that he thought that I would like this book but never gave it another thought outside of that conversation. He actually brought me his personal copy earlier in this semester and I was intrigued, but intimidated by the size. This novel clocks it at 806 pages which is nothing to sneeze at and was a mountain even for me! I am really glad that I read this book because it transported me to another world. It was first published in 1989 and since then Ken Follett remains a prolific fiction writer. I hope to read some more of his work but it may have to wait until I work my way through my stack of unread books! But without further ado, I give you my take on The Pillars of the Earth.
The novel is written through multiple perspectives, that of Philip, Tom Builder, and others. I think the way Jason described the plot to me still rings very true; it is a book about a town trying to build a cathedral. But it is about so much more than just the stone building and the people who inhabit the surrounding area. It is a story of resilience and perseverance through the worst that life has to throw at you. It really cheered me up because if these characters can survive through the novel, I can also survive through the pandemic! I loved reading this book which I cannot stress enough. As a scholar of medieval history, I wasn’t sure what to expect but I thoroughly enjoyed myself and found the book to be well researched. To me, there were no glaring historical inaccuracies and the way the novel swept through the history of the unification of England into part of the Angevin empire was fascinating. I would recommend this novel wholeheartedly. I think that it has something for everyone but that perhaps it should be read by those 14 and up. It is a little racy at times and a trigger warning is highly necessary for the first part of the book. Other than that, I cannot recommend this book enough to people! Do yourself a favor and book yourself a pandemic escape with this amazing read! Happy reading!
As a kid, I was NOT the biggest fan of oatmeal cookies. Or anything to do with oatmeal for that matter. I HATED it. Maybe because it got too mushy easily or just seemed vaguely healthy, I couldn’t stand it! However, as an adult, I LOVE oats and all of their many uses in my baked goods. These cookies are absolutely delicious, especially straight from the oven! This recipe makes about 48 small cookies and if it was up to me, there wouldn’t be any left by now! These cookie are also part of my new quest for durable and mail-able baked goods! This recipe was from Antoni Porowski’s cookbook, “Antoni in the Kitchen”. Antoni is most well-known for his role in Queer Eye on Netflix specifically for his guacamole and other cooking skills. His original recipe looked delicious but I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand so I had to get a little creative with my substitutions and ended up making a somewhat similar cookie. The way I’ve been describing it to my friends has been a coconut-oatmeal-raisin-chocolate-cardamon cookie; a bit of a mouthful if you ask me! Antoni’s original recipe called for candied ginger along with all the other ingredient so feel free to add that instead of raisins if you’d like!
Honestly, another super simple cookie recipe. It takes a little bit of time to assemble because of the laundry list of ingredients but it’s worth the effort! I made these on a recent snowy day and they were just the thing to warm up my frozen self! If you do have any issues getting all the ingredients, I would recommend checking out the New York Times Cooking website for a good substitution guide. Otherwise, just go with your gut! However, do not leave out the cardamon. It adds a wonderful warmth that really makes the cookie and I couldn’t imagine a worthy substitution. Also, cardamon is a great spice to have on hand regardless because of the flavor punch it adds to any recipe. Also, the pecans need to be roasted for this recipe. It really helps to bring out the flavor of the pecans and is easy to do; there are instructions in the first step of the recipe. I’ve been doing the roasting first thing in the morning so that the pecans are cool by the time I get to baking. I hope you enjoy these cookies just as much as I did and happy baking!
Cardamon Cowboy Cookie Recipe
114 grams (1 cup) pecans
198 grams (2 cups) old fashioned oats
150 grams (1 1/4 cup) All Purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
170 grams (12 tablespoons or 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
257 grams (1 cup + 3 tablespoons) packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
120 grams (1 cup) bittersweet chocolate chips
138 grams (3/4 cup) raisins
26 grams (1/2 cup) shredded unsweetened coconut
Heat oven to 350F with the rack in the middle of the oven. Once heated, roast pecans for 8 minutes or until fragrant. Once cool, coarsely chop.
Whisk together oats, flour, baking soda, salt, and cardamon in a medium bowl. In a separate large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until blended. Add the flour mix to the butter bowl and beat slowly to combine. Fold in the chips, raisins, coconut, and pecans.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight. This is to let the flavors ferment. If chilling overnight, let the dough stand at room temperature for 45 minutes before scooping.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350F with racks in the middle and lower thirds of the oven. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Drop dough in heaping tablespoons (this made cookies that were a little small for me so try two tablespoons) and make sure dough is spaced an inch or two away from other dough balls. Bake for 14-16 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time. Let cool on the pan for five minutes then use a spatula to transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Please use a spatula, my fingers got very burnt on the molten chocolate on the sides of the cookies.
These lemon shortbread cookies are great! It could be argued that they’re just a cookie lemon bar but I love them! As some people may know, my new quest is trying to figure out which of my recipes do well when mailed across the country. Some lucky readers will even get to taste these once they make their way through USPS. I wouldn’t count on the reliability of the post in the US at the moment but I’m always willing to try something new. According to the online news sources that I read, the best baked goods to ship across the country are dense and hardy. I can vouch for the density of the cookies, but I’ll have to ask the recipients about their hardiness! I’m hoping that they stand up to the test of the mail but we’ll see! Obviously, once I heard that I needed to make something dense, I HAD to look for new recipes rather than use the old favorites. If these do ship well, I may experiment with those too! So here’s hoping to a problem-free transport process!
These cookies are very easy shortbread cookies. They’re “press-in” shortbread which means that you select the tin of your choice and press the dough in; no rolling out needed! It’s a super simple recipe and I would recommend doing it with your little ones if you have any. In about fifteen minutes, I was able to go from prepping my ingredients to putting the dough into the oven. The recipe calls for using a nine inch square tin however I am somewhat limited by my kitchen storage space so I used my nine inch cake round instead! It worked out really well and like the nine inch square pans, you just need to be careful to distribute the dough evenly as you press it in. If you have any spots that are a lot thicker than the rest of the recipe, they won’t bake properly and will mean that the rest of the dough may burn while you’re waiting for that spot to cook. Again, this recipe is really easy so that’s probably the only part that you could mess up. I hope you enjoy these as much as I did and happy baking!
No Roll Lemon Shortbread Recipe
149 grams (3/4 cup) granulated sugar
2-3 tablespoons lemon zest (roughly the zest of one or two lemons) I like mine really lemon-y so I just pour in the zest
340 grams (3 sticks or 1 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
390 grams (3 1/4 cup) All Purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350F and line a 9 inch pan with parchment paper. Don’t just butter or grease, it will prevent the cookies from baking, use paper or a silicone mat inside the tin if you have an appropriately sized one.
Combine sugar and lemon zest with your fingers in a medium bowl. Rub the lemon zest into the sugar with your fingers until fragrant.
In a larger bowl, combine the butter and lemon/sugar mixture. Once combined and fluffy, mix in the vanilla and salt.
Add flour and mix until just combined. Will be thick.
Press into an even layer in the prepared pan. Prick every inch or so (I forgot this step but try to if you can, it’ll help it to bake through)
Bake 30-35 minutes, until just golden. Remove from the oven and let cool 10-15 minutes before cutting or serving.
As always, I was on a hunt to find new things to do with my sourdough discard and came across this recipe on my Instagram feed. This recipe is from @bakingwithgina, a home based baker from Singapore! Gina is lovely and I’ve been following her account for a couple months. Her recipes are always beautiful and absolutely mouthwatering! At first, I thought that her account only showed bread recipes that used active sourdough starter until I came across these rolls! I was overjoyed! The first time I made it, I followed her recipe exactly. It didn’t come out as nice as I wanted but my boyfriend enjoyed the whole loaf regardless! I prefer the rolls which are really yummy as sweet breakfast treats. I’m still looking for some sort of filling, maybe with candied orange peel or orange marmalade so that might be added to this page as I continue to experiment with this recipe.
My second time trying this recipe went much better! I added another third of a cup of flour and an egg. By enriching the dough, I made a more American bread, one that is sweeter and has a longer shelf life. As a college student, I usually can’t eat my baked goods within the week unless I give a few away first! So baking these as pull apart rolls made more sense for me. You can shape it into a traditional sandwich loaf and it will rise just as well. The first time I made this dough, I also didn’t realize that yeast should be added if your discard is a little old. I keep my discard in the refrigerator for up to three weeks because I think it stays good for that long. Scientifically, you should use it within three to five days according to King Arthur Flour so take my word with a grain of salt! Discard that is older can be added to almost any recipe to add flavor and just a tablespoon or two can go into most recipes without a problem. Lately, I’ve been using my discard for these rolls or for crumpets (hopefully a blog post will follow about that but I’ve been eating them before I can get a good picture!). Let me know if you have any favorite discard recipes that I haven’t yet featured on the blog and I’ll be sure to check them out! Happy baking!
Chocolate Sourdough Discard Roll Recipe
200 grams (about 1 3/4 cup) sourdough discard
100 grams whole milk
290 grams bread flour
30 grams sugar
3 grams kosher salt
Pinch of yeast (about 1 teaspoon instant yeast) (This one depends on the age of your discard, it may need more or less depending on how long it has been sitting in the refrigerator
30 grams unsalted butter
1 large egg
40 grams semi-sweet chocolate chips (If you use bittersweet, add some sugar to balance the recipe out)
40 grams whole milk
20 grams cocoa powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder
In a small bowl, melt the chips in the microwave in thirty second increments. Mine took about 1 min 30 seconds to melt fully but I still did it in increments to prevent burning the chocolate. Add the cocoa powder, 40 grams whole milk, and espresso powder and mix to form a paste. Set aside to cool.
Mix together the discard, flour, sugar, salt, butter, milk, egg, and the chocolate paste. Knead until smooth. The bread should spring back when touch and the dough should be brown throughout the whole dough, not just marbled in.
Set in an oiled bowl and cover. Let rise 3 hours.
Punch dough down and let rest 15 minutes.
Shape the dough. I made rolls like my other sourdough discard rolls. I rolled all the dough into a log and used unflavored dental floss to cut it into ten. I arranged those on prepared 9 inch cake pans in a circle to make tear apart loaves. This can also be made into a loaf like regular bread.
Cover and let prove 3-3 1/2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Once the dough has doubled and is puffy, bake for 25-30 minutes. If baking a loaf, you may need to bake 35 minutes.
Remove from the tin and let cool on a wire rack. Enjoy some yummy bread!
I did it folks!!!! I found the challah of my dreams!! After multiple unsatisfactory attempts, I have found the perfect challah recipe. However, I didn’t do this on my own. After my previous attempts, I sent out a cry for help to my lovely friend Laura and she sent me the challah recipe from her family. So thank you Laura!! This challah recipe is absolute perfection. It creates beautiful, fluffy, and rich bread. One of these rolls was enough to satisfy my appetite! They are pretty simple to make, taking far less time to rise/prove than other recipes. I’ve changed one or two things like proving times within the recipe but otherwise credit goes to the original creator! Now let’s dive into a few technical parts to the bread before we get to the recipe.
This recipe calls for SEVEN egg yolks with an additional egg beaten for the egg wash before baking. Seven eggs is a LOT of eggs but even that number of eggs is not sufficient to make the dough the startling yellow that it is in store bought versions of challah. However, I discovered the dirty secret of commercial challah baking and it is simply food dye. Challah relies on egg yolks for its hallmark richness but the cost of eggs can add up for bakers. To cut down on costs, many commercial bakers use yellow food dye to get the yellow color that most associate with really rich challah. I was a little bummed when I learned this but it also made me set my sights on more realistic expectations for my challah. One issue with using seven egg yolks in a challah recipe is that you have to separate them all out. I would recommend doing the separation while the eggs are cold. Cold eggs have firmer yolks that are easier to separate. There are three methods to do this and I suggest trying all of them to find which one you’re most comfortable with. You should also use at least three bowls while you’re separating egg yolks, one for the current egg that you’re working with, another for the leftover egg whites, and a third for the yolks. Doing it this was makes more dishes but it’ll ensure that you don’t get any cross contamination between the whites and the yolks.
The first method is using your hand. This is a good technique to start with because it doesn’t require a ton of skill and gets you really familiar with the egg and its white. All you have to do is crack the egg over a bowl and put the yolk in the palm of your hand while you sort of jiggle the white into the bowl. The white will slide off and you’ll be left with your yolk. The second method uses the shells. Once you crack the egg (which you should do firmly to give the shells clean edges), you juggle the egg between the shells to get the white to slid off. I would recommend turning to youtube to see how this is done. The third method uses a clean and empty plastic, disposable water bottle. With this method, you crack the egg into a bowl and then use the opening of the empty water bottle to suction up the yolk and transfer it to another bowl. This can take some practice and time but it’s the most fun and cleanest of all the methods. Please save your egg whites once you’ve separated out your yolks. Egg whites will stay good in the refrigerator for three months and can be used in omelets or macarons or many other confections! However, egg yolks will only stay good in the refrigerator for three days and their quality will degrade with each passing day. So if you’re thinking of separating your yolks ahead of time, I beg you to reconsider! Also, I would always recommend having backup eggs around. Even the best pastry chef will puncture an egg yolk or two while separating eggs and it’s best to be prepared for this possibility!
My last few words are about braiding the challah strand. I really like to make knotted challah rolls but I have yet to perfect my knotting method. When I make large loaves, I usually do three or nine strand braids which are not terribly complicated. A three-strand braid is just like doing a regular hair braid while a nine strand braid consists of three separate three-strand braids that are braided together. There are lots of youtube videos on braiding so if you’re itching to get more complicated, the internet can provide guidance! At the moment for my rolls, I do a simple square knot and tuck the ends underneath my rolls. I’m trying to get more complicated but have had issues with the bread bursting through its shape while in its second prove. If anyone has a suggestion, put it in the comments below and I’d be happy to try it! Otherwise, just do what you want to do with the challah. It’s a very forgiving bread and will be tasty regardless of its final form as long as its baked through! Happy baking!
Challah Bread Recipe
1 tablespoon instant or dry active yeast (If you’re really fancy, use SAF gold yeast, it’s for enriched breads like challah)
227 grams (1 cup) warm water (75-95F)
4 cups bread flour
7 large egg yolks
40 grams (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt (I’ve started using flaky kosher salt and have liked the results a lot!)
6 tablespoons canola oil (I used sunflower oil and it also worked great so feel free to substitute!)
1 large egg beaten with a tablespoon of water
Black sesame seeds or Demerara (raw) sugar
Combine bread flour, yeast, egg yolks, sugar, salt, oil, and water together. Mix until the dough is almost cohesive then turn out of the bowl onto a kneading surface. Knead for up to five minutes or until the dough is smooth and springs back when poked with a floured finger.
Oil a large bowl and place the dough inside. Cover and let rest 1 1/2-2 hours or until it has doubled in volume.
Punch down the dough. Divide into three or nine if you’re making a three or nine strand loaf. For large rolls, divide dough into 10. For smaller rolls divide into 15 or weigh out 45 gram pieces of dough. Cover and let rest 15 minutes.
Once rested, roll dough out with your hands to 12-24 inch strands. For smaller rolls, 12 inches is sufficient but for other braids, 24 inches is needed. Don’t force the dough to stretch, it will shrink back once left alone so decide on the length as you roll out each piece of dough. Shape the dough and place it on the baking sheet where it will be baked.
Once shaped, let rest 1 hour for its final prove.
During its final prove, preheat over to 375F for loaves and 400F for rolls. Prepare the egg wash by beating together an egg and some water to thin out the consistency. Before baking, brush the rolls all over with the egg wash and sprinkle on topping of choice like black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, or Demerara sugar.
Bake. Baking time will vary on the loaf or roll type. Loaves will bake 35-45 minutes and if extremely large, may take 50 minutes and you may need to cover with foil to prevent it burning. Large rolls will take 15-20 minutes to bake while smaller rolls will bake 10-13 minutes. To check for doneness, remove the bread from the oven and roll onto its top. Knock the bottom of the roll or loaf. If you hear a hollow sound, it is done. If no hollow sound is heard, put back into the oven for another five minutes.