Week 15: Gingerbread Challah

Gingerbread Challah Men

Tonight is Christmas eve.  What better flavor to make for all of us Jews on Christmas eve than something-that-goes-well-with-Chinese-food Challah!  That was actually my original intention for this week.  I posted the question to my Facebook friends, and the top two contenders were sweet and sour challah, and the bold and interesting suggestion of soy-ginger challah (other suggestions were fortune cookie challah, fried rice challah and kung-pao challah).  I took a shot at sweet and sour, and it actually turned out well.  But I’ll get back to that another week. This week’s challah of the week is officially gingerbread!  Yum! The first attempt was on Wednesday, when I made a half batch of gingerbread and a half batch of sweet and sour (but I’ll get back to that another week).  I looked up a gingerbread cookie recipe, and decided that cinnamon, ginger and molasses were the keys.  Oh crap… No molasses in the house and pouring raining outside.  So, no molasses in the first batch.  But brown sugar has molasses, so that’s at least something. Right? I took the usual challah recipe, added a good helping of  ginger (powdered) and cinnamon (also powdered) and replaced the white sugar with brown sugar (plus a little extra… you know… for the molasses).  The results were positive, but not incredible.  They tasted awesome, but were a little on the dense side, and by the next morning, my gingerbread  challah men were more like stones in shapes that vaguely resemble heavy-set humans.  Even my 15-month old son wouldn’t eat them, and normally he’ll eat “lallah” til the cows come home. So, today is Friday. It’s Christmas eve. And if I can’t get the gingerbread challahs right on Christmas eve, then, um, well, let’s just not even think that way… I followed the same recipe as above, but added some molasses (boy does that smell funky), and in a hail mary, last-ditch effort to resolve the denseness issue, I added some mashed potatoes!  Ya! Mashed potatoes!  I just blew your mind, didn’t I?  But I remembered how good the latke challahs were, and that they were still moist and delicious 3 days later… So, I’d be foolish not to add mashed potatoes to gingerbread challah… right…? The results — fluffy and exactly as I was hoping!  The gingerbread challah men are delish, and the cinnamon rolls that I made with the extra dough are a-ma-zing!  We might just have to make this again next week!

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