It’s Christmas. Bake!

babka bread and rugelach

babka bread and rugelach

Have you all been keeping up with the Great British Baking Show? I LOVE it. Seems the season is over now (even tho the American version for Holiday Baking is on, but the show is not as good except for Mary Berry). Still, when I enter the kitchen with baking recipes in hand I think of the two hostesses barking “Bake!”

My go-to holiday cookie is the Italian Rainbow Cookie or Italian Flag cookie. A pretty involved recipe, but we dive in each year and send goodie tins to Duane’s kids and brother. We both dive in, because when it comes to the chocolate coating part that’s Duane’s job. He brings his building skills, and treats the melted chocolate and offset spatula like mortar and trowel. Excellent work. (He’s not available for hire.)

Duane applying the chocolate for rainbow cookies

Duane applying the chocolate for rainbow cookies

Duane applying chocolate

Duane applying chocolate

Duane surveying his work

Duane surveying his work

But this year I changed it up, In ADDITION to the rainbow cookies I made rugelach and a sweet bread recipe that is a cross between babka and challah. Both of these are Jewish-related confections and crept into my non-Jewish related Christmas kitchen because I LOVE these treats. Not being a sweet-sweet lover, these are a cross between breadish and sweetish. I find them absolutely irresistible and easily pass by a rainbow cookie to devour either the rugelach or babka/challah.

I didn’t make up these recipes. I’ve been tracking rugelach recipes for years and never dove in. Some recipes sounded good, some didn’t (as if you could taste by reading). I recently found one I wanted to try from the New York Times. Of course, I’m always changing things from recipes I source…I used strawberry jam instead, and my nuts were spiced with ginger & nutmeg.

Rugelach recipe by Emily Weinstein

rolling up the rugelach

rolling up the rugelach

little crescent rugelach

little crescent rugelach

right-out-of-the-oven rugelach ...yum

right-out-of-the-oven rugelach …yum

The babka-challah mashup I found in Bon Appetit. The picture alone had me. And the making of these elaborate breads is easier than it looks. The first time I made the recipe I made one large loaf as directed (and I think I ate the entire thing on my own) (over time). For Christmas, tho, I was able to make four smaller loaves with the same recipe.

Cinnamon-Chocolate BabKallah by Claire Saffitz

babka-challah bread dough

babka-challah bread dough

filling the braids

filling the braids

braiding the bread

braiding the bread

braided babka-challah

braided babka-challah

baked loaves

baked loaves

babkallah inside

babkallah inside

I know. Your mouth is watering. Well there’s only one way to satisfy that craving. Bake!

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