- 1 ¾ cups warm water
- 1 ½ Tbs active dry yeast
- ½ cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon extra for proofing the yeast
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 5 large beaten eggs
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 8 to 8½ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading/dusting
In a large bowl, stir the yeast into the water, and let the mixture stand until a creamy layer forms on top, about 10 minutes. Stir in honey and salt until dissolved, and add the beaten eggs. Mix in the flour, a cupful at a time, until the dough is sticky. Sprinkle the dough with flour, and knead until smooth and elastic.
Form the dough into a compact round shape, and place in an oiled bowl. Turn the dough over several times in the bowl to oil the surface of the dough, cover the bowl with a damp cloth, and let rise in a warm area until doubled in size, approximately 45 minutes.
Punch down the dough, and cut it into 3 equal-sized pieces. Working on a floured surface, roll the small dough pieces into ropes about the thickness of your thumb and about 12 inches long. Ropes should be fatter in the middle and thinner at the ends. Pinch 3 ropes together at the top and braid them. Starting with the strand to the right, move it to the left over the middle strand (that strand becomes the new middle strand.) Take the strand farthest to the left, and move it over the new middle strand. Continue braiding, alternating sides each time, until the loaf is braided, and pinch the ends together and fold them underneath for a neat look.
Place the braided loaf on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and brush the top with beaten egg yolk.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Bake the challah in the preheated oven until the top browns to a rich golden color and the loaf sounds hollow when you tap it with a spoon, approximately 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
1/4 cup extra fine semolina
- 2 saffron strands
- I tsp orange blossom water
- 2 Tbs honey
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- Dried Lavender Flowers
- Eggplant Dip
- Bulgarian Cheese
D. Main Courses
- Varsano’s Chocolates
G. Holiday Menus
- Roast Lamb
- Ricotta Latkes
Mustachudos e Biscochos para Hanuka 2022
Biscochos Recipe (Jon Varsano Recipe)
Juice of one orange
1/2 cup of a neutral cooking oil (I prefer avocado)
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
3 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup of sesame seeds
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp orange blossom water
1/4 cinnamon sugar
1/4 cup of finely chopped semi-sweet chocolate
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees
- Sift flour and baking powder in a mixing bowl.
- Beat two eggs (set other egg aside for egg wash) in an electric mixer, then add sugar, oil and orange juice until combined.
- Gradually add flour with mixer on medium speed. Continue to mix until dough forms a soft clay-like ball.
- Remove dough and separate into four equal sized balls
- Add orange blossom water to one or more the ball as desired
- Knead dough on cutting board or clean countertop. Take a golf ball sized piece and roll it out to approximately 12 inches long. Form rope of dough into desired shape. Traditional shapes are a simple ring and a pretzel shape, make sure to pinch the ends so it keeps its shape. Other shapes are a ring with ends half scored forming a flower-like shape, straight twist, cinnamon roll shape, and whatever creative shapes you desire. Make it fun.
- Beat one egg and place in a small bowl. Use a basting brush to coat one side of cookies with egg wash.
- Decorate the tops of the cookies with desired toppings. White sesame seeds or cinnamon sugar are traditionally, but I like to add chocolate bits or sprinkles as well.
- Carefully transfer cookies with a spatula to a lightly greased baking sheet.
- Bake approximately 30 minutes until golden brown in color, white is undercooked and dark brown is overcooked.
- Remove from oven and let cool. Pairs well with tea, coffee, or wine.
Mustachudo Recipe (Jon Varsano Recipe)
3 cups of hazelnuts (filberts)
1 cup of sugar
1 Tbs of honey
1 Tbs of orange zest
1 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of nutmeg (cloves or allspice may also be substituted)
Powdered sugar, as desired
1/2 cup of small semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees
- Add hazelnuts and sugar to a food processor and pulse until mixture is a paste-like consistency.
- Mix in zest, honey, and spices. Optional: separate half of the dough and add chocolate chips. I like to make 1/2 the batch with chocolate and half without to appeal to a variety of palettes.
- Place parchment paper on a baking sheet and add teaspoon sized drops of cookie dough on paper. Leave approximately 2 inches space between cookies.
- Bake 20-25 minutes until crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Allow cookies to cool on cooking rack.
- Dust the tops of the cookies with powdered sugar. Serve with tea or coffee, or store in a sealed container.
Varsano Family Passover Breakfast Specialty
Burmuelos aka Bimuelos (Sarah (Varsano) Gerecht Recipe -1998)
1/2 lb box of Matzoh, approximately 4-5 sheets
4 large eggs
Shato or Chateau
Sugar, powdered is preferable
Cocoa powder, if desired
- Smash matzohs in large a mixing bowl and add water until submerged. Mix together until batter is smooth, drain excess water.
- Beat eggs in separate bowl and combine with batter.
- Heat a a small amount of oil in a large frying or griddle over medium heat. Take batter with a spoon and add to hot oil.
- Fry pancakes on both sides untIl golden brown and delicious.
- Remove from frying pan and place on baking sheet to keep warm in oven or serve immediately.
- Separate the egg whites and yolks.
- Beat egg whites (electric mixer is easiest) until white and firm.
- Fold in sugar and cocoa powder (if desired).
- Add egg yolk into mixture and stir gently.
- Serve on top of burmuelos.