Posts Tagged ‘costco’

Week 21: Banana Chocolate Chip Challah

Trader Joes Pareve Chocolate Chips -- They plump when you cook 'em!

When was the last time you made banana bread?  Your answer, like mine, probably begins with “This one week when we had a bunch of brown bananas that no one wanted to eat, but I felt bad throwing away…” The problem is, now that my son, Evan, eats a banana for breakfast everyday, we no longer have several rotting bananas 5-7 days after going to Costco.  When I decided to make banana challah this week, I had to go around scavenging for ripe bananas, and the usual haunts (Costco, several grocery stores) only had green bananas!  So, a special shout out to Pearl and Alex (and Eric) for selflessly providing me with primo bananas! Now onto the reason we’re here… I added a little less than a cup and a half of ripe bananas (3-4 smallish bananas) to the usual challah recipe.  The riper (browner) the bananas, the more flavorful and sweeter the challah (or banana bread in general) will be.  I also threw in a little vanilla and cinnamon, just for kicks.  And, of course, the chocolate chips.  I suppose some brown sugar instead of white sugar (or sprinkled on top?) would have been good too, but I wasn’t feeling particularly crazy this week. Because of the moisture from the ‘nanas, the challah dough needed at least an extra cup of flour (that’s sort of a very clever pun!).  I didn’t count, but it might even have been 2-3 extra cups.  It was pretty crazy.  My mixer can handle the 8-cup recipe, and my mixer definitely could not handle this dough. Yadda, yadda, yadda… It looks like challah, it feels like challah, but it tastes and smells like banana bread!  The chocolate chips were a great add on (are they ever not?), and I tried a few with walnuts, which were also pretty interesting. I present Banana Chocolate Chip Challah with the “Most suitable challah flavor to be served with Sunday morning brunch” award. Congrats!

Week 20: Blueberry Challah

Test batch - notice the specks

Costco… There’s no better place for challah variation inspiration. Am I right?  Well, no better place for inexpensive inspiration in large quantities, that seems like a good idea to buy, but really will go bad before you can use it all.  And such is my introduction to blueberry challah — the product of new giant bags of fresh-frozen berries in the freezer section at Costco.  They say don’t shop while you’re hungry… The same might be said about shopping on the morning of the test-challah bake. The goal with this one was a blueberry muffin, challah style!  The thing to keep in mind is that a blueberry muffin isn’t blueberry dough with blueberries… it’s normal white/yellow/vanilla dough with blueberries mixed in.  So, don’t expect blueberry challah to be much different. I took a heaping cup of frozen blueberries (actually, three heaping third-cups, since the half- and full-cups were already in use), and added them to the dough with the first cup or two of flour.  As the dough was kneading, the blueberries started to break down, giving the challah that traditional flecked blueberry muffin appearance.  I found that the dough needed at least an extra cup of flour (maybe more than that) and was still a little sticky, thanks to all the juice the frozen blueberries began to leach as they defrosted while kneading.

Final Product. Notice the whole blueberries

When it came time to braid the challahs, I added a few more whole blueberries into the middle — an important step to make it clear that these were real blueberries, and that this is blueberry challah… not purple speckled challah. How did it turn out?  Excellent!  Got rave reviews from many folks!  It wasn’t too berry-y, but every few bites you’d get a whole berry and hear an “Mmmm” from the crowd. Blueberries — winner of the “best mix-in so far” award!