Thursday, November 10, 2011

Black Forest Challah with chocolate and cherries

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I'm really excited about this challah. We dreamt it up when naming flavors from our favorite frozen custard place, Kopps. (On a complete side note, if you've never had frozen custard, oh me oh my, so wonderful!) Anyway, The Hazz and I named off several great flavors that would make stellar challot. They're all in the plans. Here's the first installment...
Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte. Black Forest Cake. Or should I say, Schwarzwälder Kirschbrot (that's German 101 for you)!  Here's the Wiki definition of Black Forest Cake. Typically, Black Forest cake consists of several layers of chocolate cake, with whipped cream and cherries between each layer. Then the cake is decorated with additional whipped cream, maraschino cherries, and chocolate shavings. {Source}
Wiki goes on to talk about booze in the cake. Kirschwasser, rum, etc. I think booze has a place in challah. I just haven't figure it all out yet. Perhaps another day! Also, we haven't quite figured out how to whip-cream-ize our challah.  So... for this challah, I stuck with just chocolate and cherries.

The first challenge in this baby... CHERRIES!  I am morally opposed grossed out terrified against things like high fructose corn syrup and Red Dye #40.  Apparently high fructose corn syrup and Red Dye #40 are well, the thing that make Maraschino cherries, well Maraschino cherries. Since we've been on a real kick to get rid of all that kind of stuff in our lives, I went on search for dye-free, corn syrup free cherries. Apparently, they're very hard to find! Finally, SUCCESS!
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And, while they're not quite as RED as dyed cherries, they're red enough.  Note, however, that these babies are SOUR. I taste them. They WERE sour. Here's where a little improvisation came in. First, I removed the cherries from their water. I saved the water, but ended up not using it. Next, I place about 1/2 the cherries on a paper towel-covered cutting board. Then, I squashed them with a paper towel.
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Then, I squashed them again. And again. When they seemed pretty dry, I felt ready to proceed. I figured there were two ways we could make this Black Forest Challah. The old Nutella-filled strand stand-by. And, the knead-in method a la Apple Challah.

Filled Strands... to fill the strands, I first chopped up the cherries at least in half.  Then, I added 2 tbsp of white sugar to the 1/2 can of cherries.  I then rolled and stretched three strands.  Using my fingers, I made a little trench in the challah and added chocolate chips and cherries, pinching them together with my fingers.  Here's the 1-2-3...
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Fully-Integrated Cherries and Chocolate...  I learned my lesson on Rosh Hashanah with apples.  They add A LOT of liquid to the dough.  My dough itself was pretty droopy that day anyway for some reason.  So, to counteract, I started by adding about 2 tbsp flour and 2 tbsp of sugar to the rest of the cherries.  Then, I just mixed it all together and kneaded... adding LOTS of flour as needed.
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Bake and egg-wash as normal. I was so happy the result. Sweet, but not too sweet. Tart but not too tart. And the chocolate is heavenly. I was definitely much more happy with the integrated challah. The filled version is great and significantly easier to do, but the integrated version is really spectacular.
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Guten Apetit!
What ice cream flavors would YOU like to see in a challah?

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