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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Honey Challah Bread for Secret Recipe Club

There are many things in life that make me happy.   For example; a beautiful tablecloth, a cup of tea/coffee shared with a close friend, precious baby leaves on the branches of a tree in the Spring-time, the hands and smiles of my children and the process of making bread made with yeast.  Yes, I love to make bread.  I love the process of taking simple ingredients and creating a soft and full bowl of dough that comes alive before my eyes creating a master piece of yumminess into a loaf of bread. 

This past month I was given a gift of a new recipe for a bread made with yeast, Honey Challah.  I discovered this recipe as I was exploring the blog, Farm Girl Gourmet as I was assigned this amazing blog for the month of November from the Secret Recipe Club.  I felt so fortunate to be assigned Farm Girl Gourmet's blog.  I actually double checked my email that contained my blog assignment just to make sure my pure happiness was in the right place as I was over the moon excited to have been given the blog Farm Girl Gourmet.  Heather's blog is packed with beautiful recipes that are explained to perfection and shown with amazing and very helpful pictures. I have had so much fun frequenting her blog and getting to know her from afar.  If only we lived closer I might have just invited myself over for tea as she seems like someone I would just adore getting to know in real life.  :-)

I have been looking for a good Challah recipe now for some time so when I opened Heather's blog to discover that she had the very recipe I had been searching for I couldn't resist making her bread.  What a gem of a recipe!  So easy and out-of-this-world delicious!  It will be a perfect bread for me to make as gifts for this holiday season. 

Honey Challah
(recipe from Farm Girl Gourmet)


1 cup warm water
4 1/2 tsp yeast
1/2 cup sugar + 1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 eggs
2 tsp salt
4 1/2 - 5 cups flour (more if needed)
1 egg beaten, for the egg wash

1. Add warm water to the bowl of a standing mixer.  Attach dough hook.  Sprinkle yeast and 1 tsp sugar over the warm water.  Stir all together briefly and allow the 3 ingredients to grow together for 5 minutes.

2. Add in the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, honey, butter, 3 eggs, salt and 4 1/2 cups flour to the bowl.  On the lowest speed, mix all together until the flour is mostly incorporated and then increase speed to medium and mix for 5 minutes.  Dough will become smooth with elasticity.  Add in more flour if needed to make a soft craggy ball (I had to add in at least another cup to get to this stage but don't add too much flour as you want your dough to be very soft).  
3. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead by hand about 5 times.  Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat all sides of dough.  Cover with a damp, clean towel and place in warm draft free area for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.  (I placed my covered bowl in a closed oven that I had warmed briefly on the lowest temperature and then turned off as Heather so brilliantly suggested to do in her recipe. It worked like a charm!)

Hello there magical dough!

4. Gently punch down dough and then place on a lightly floured surface.  Divide dough into 3 equal pieces.  Using your hands, roll out each piece to a 14" rope.  Pinch the 3 ropes together and then braid loosely, pinching together at the end.

5. Place braid on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  Allow dough to rest and double in size in a draft free location - which should take about 45 minutes.

6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Brush braided bread completely with beaten egg.  Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.  Cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Make sure you slice off a piece of this heavenly bread while it still holds some heat from the oven.  Slather it with butter, close your eyes and take a bite.  You won't regret it.  I promise you!

Served with your favorite jam is also quite yummy....

I want to take a moment to show my deep appreciation to Amanda, who created the Secret Recipe Club and Tami who does such an amazing job as the hostess of my group (Group D). I am having so much fun discovering new blogs and making new friends through the fun of the Secret Recipe Club!

Happy Honey Hallah Bread Baking!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Apple Pie Cake

I actually have an APPLE recipe for you today instead of a PUMPKIN recipe! I feel like all I do is bake with pumpkin these days.  Which is not a bad thing at all believe me (I ADORE pumpkin!!) - but I like to provide a little variety in my baking to keep my friends, family and blog readers happy. :-)

When I came across this recipe for an Apple Pie Cake my eyes grew wide, my heart started to beat faster and bounced in my chair with happiness.  An Apple Pie Cake sounded AMAZING!  Boy, oh boy was it ever!  So yummy.  So easy to make. AND it only requires 6 ingredients to make!!!! Yup, only SIX

You will need a 9 inch springform pan to make this apple-lious treat. A lovely mixture of brown sugar, cinnamon, flour and (COLD) butter form the bottom, sides and top of this pie/cake.  You will first gently press a large portion of the brown sugar/flour mixture on the bottom and sides of the springform pan, fill the inside with all your prepared tart apples and then top apples with the remaining brown sugar/flour mixture.  Which becomes the top of the pie/cake. It all comes together like magic as you are using such simple ingredients to make a wonderfully unique and delicious dessert.  So grab some apples, your springform pan, a couple of ingredients from your pantry and fridge and preheat your oven to create a perfect Fall dessert.   Then invite me over for a piece - I will bring freshly sweetened whipped cream to go on top! ;-)

Apple Pie Cake
(from the famous Martha Stewart)


2 cups flour
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
about 12 tart apples - such as Granny Smith
2 Tbsp lemon juice


1. In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon. With a pastry cutter add in butter pieces and cut into flour mixture until small pea size pieces remain. 

2. Press 2/3 of the brown sugar/flour/butter mixture on the bottom and up 1 inch of the sides of a 9 inch springform pan. Set pan aside.

3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Prepare apples by peeling and then slicing into thin slices and placing in a large bowl.  Sprinkle apples with lemon juice so that they do not turn brown and then sprinkle with remaining 1 tsp of ground cinnamon.

4. Place sliced apples into the shell of your prepared springform pan, pressing down gently as you pack them in.  If the apples mound over the edge of your pan that is ok - the more the better!  Sprinkle remaining brown sugar/flour/butter mixture over apples.

5. Line a cookie sheet with tin foil and then place prepared dessert on top before popping the whole thing into the oven.   Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until golden brown on top. When pie/cake come out of the oven carefully run a knife around the edge of the pan and then allow to cool so that the magical yummy treat can set.

Serve at room temperature if you wish!

Happy Apple Pie Cake Baking!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pumpkies (the cutest name ever)

I mean seriously doesn't it make you want to say, "ahhh" when you hear the word pumpkie?  I just love that word! And I love what a pumpkie actually is! Can you guess what it is? It is not a cookie.  Not cake. Not even a mini pie.  It's a.....brownie!  Yes, a pumpkin brownie! A lovely, sweet and easy to make pumpkin brownie.  A Pumpkie.  Go ahead, you can say it - it will make you smile. :-)

Want the recipe? I know you do!

(recipe from Mother Thyme - I so LOVE Jennifer's blog)


1/3 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup flour
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8x8 baking pan - set aside.

2. Beat butter until light and fluffy - about 2-3 minutes.  Add in sugar, egg and pumpkin puree.  Mix all together until well combined.

3. Add in flour, spices and salt to your pumpkin mixture.  Mix all together until well combined.

4. Pour batter into prepared pan and then pop into preheated oven for 30-35 minutes.  Cool as much as you wish and serve.

*I served mine slightly warm and wished that I had some freshly whipped cream to dollop on top as I think that would have been super time I will do so!

Happy Pumpkies Baking!


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