The secrets to good challah are simple: Use two coats of egg wash to get that laquer-like crust and  don’t overbake it. 
Time: about 1 hour, plus 2 1/2 hours’ rising
Yield: 2 loaves

1 1/2 packages active dry yeast (1 1/2 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup olive or vegetable oil(I use melted butter), plus more for greasing the bowl
5 large eggs-(I will try to bring them to room temp)
1 tablespoon salt
8 to 8 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Poppy or sesame seeds for sprinkling.

1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in 1 3/4 cups lukewarm water.(115-120)

2. Whisk butter into yeast, then beat in 4 eggs, one at a time, with remaining sugar and salt. Gradually add flour. When dough holds together, it is ready for kneading. 

3. Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth. Add oil to a big bowl, put to dough in swirl it around to coat bottom then flip over.  Cover with plastic wrap, or clean towel, and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until almost doubled in size. Dough may also rise in an oven that has been warmed to 150 degrees then turned off. Punch down dough, cover and let rise again in a warm place for another half-hour.

4. To make a 6-braid challah, either straight or circular, take half the dough and form it into 6 balls. With your hands, roll each ball into a strand about 12 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide. Place the 6 in a row, parallel to
one another. Pinch the tops of the strands together. Move the outside right strand over 2 strands. Then take the second strand from the left and move it to the far right. Take the outside left strand and move it over 2. Move second strand from the right over to the far left. Start over with the outside right strand. Continue this until all strands are braided. For a straight loaf, tuck ends underneath. For a circular loaf, twist into a circle, pinching ends
together. Make a second loaf the same way. Place braided loaves on a greased cookie sheet with at least 2 inches in between.

5. Beat remaining egg and brush it on loaves. Either freeze breads or let rise another hour.

6. If baking immediately(and who doesn't), preheat oven to 375 degrees and brush loaves again. Sprinkle bread
with seeds, if using. If freezing, remove from freezer 5 hours before baking.

7. Bake in middle of oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden. (If you tap the top with fingernail and it sounds almost hollow it's done) Cool loaves on a rack.

Note: Any of the three risings can be done in the fridge for a few hours, for more deeply-developed flavor. When you’re ready to  work with it again, bring it back to room temperature before moving onto the next step.

This is old fashioned brittle, add any nut you want.

Use a heavy bottom pan.
Add 2 cups sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup-white
1/2 t. salt
1 cup water
The only time you stir is when you add to pan. 
Cook on Medium high heat, after it is boiling do not stir.
Boil for 15-20 minutes until it gets an amber color-you will just start to smell like it is beginning to scald. 
I will usually pick up pan a swirl a couple of times to see the color on the bottom of the pan. Carefully!
The next step is quick.......... have everything measured out and prepared.
The nuts, any kind, I really like cashews with this and it seems to be the most requested by friends and family.
I use about 1-1/2 cup of nuts. I break them up a bit.
2T. of butter(do not use margarine)
1/2t. of baking soda
1T of vanilla bean paste.
Also have a pan prepped to pour the hot mixture onto it.  I use a cookie sheet with high edges, and one of those silicone baking sheets-spray with non stick to prepare.   (you can use tin foil but make sure to spray really well)
Find a good heat resistant rubber spacala and spray with the non stick too, you will need this to spread out the brittle after you pour onto the pan.
Meanwhile, you can see the bubbles appear heavier and more condensed.  This is good, DON'T walk away from the pan at this point.  The color appears the last 1-3 minutes of the boil.  See how dense the bubble are, this is why I swirl it a little.
I would loved to have a picture of all the ingredients being stirred but it happens in about 20 seconds before it begins to stiffen.  All the items that you have prepared are stirred in quick and spread on the pan. 
Let sit for 15-30 minutes and break into pieces and enjoy.

As you can see this batch was Cashew Brittle.

I never thought making marshmallows would be a big deal.  I figured they would taste about the same and it wouldn't be worth spending the time to make them.  I was wrong.  They do taste better!  And you can flavor them as much or as little as you like, but there is a warning.  Most of the receipes out there say to change the flavorings if you want with no real variable involved.  Peppermint is not your friend.  Use a couple drops or you will be eating toothpaste, not marshmellows.
Adapted from: Martha Stewart

Nonstick cooking spray

3 packages unflavored gelatin

1/2 cup cold water

2 cups granulated sugar

2/3 cup light corn syrup 

 1-2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste 

 Powdered sugar, sifted, for coating

Lightly spray a 9-by-9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Dust with powdered sugar-very thick

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water; let stand while you are preparing everything else. In a medium saucepan- with a thick bottom if possible, combine sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water. Place saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil; boil rapidly for 1 minute. Remove from heat, and, with the mixer on high, slowly pour the boiling syrup down the side of the mixer bowl into gelatin mixture. mix for 10-12 minutes.

Add vanilla bean paste (or other flavorings- remember if you are using peppermint only a couple of drops); mix until well combined. Spray a rubber spatula with cooking spray. Spread mixture evenly  into pan using prepared spatula. Let stand  for 2 hours.

I then dust powered sugar on a cutting board and flip the marshmallows out onto the board.
Cut marshmallows into 2-inch squares using a sprayed sharp knife. Place  powdered sugar in a large bowl. Working in batches, add marshmallows to  bowl and toss to coat.


This is my all time favorite caramel popcorn.  I use air popped corn which makes it lighter and fluffier.  You can add anything that you want to it.  I have used peanuts, coconut, pretzels, walnuts, etc. If you want to add chocolate pieces, add after the baking period.
Carmel Popcorn


1 cup butter -I use unsalted
2  cups brown sugar -I use dark brown sugar
1/2  cup corn syrup -white
1  teaspoon salt-I don't usually add the salt if I'm adding pretzels or salted nuts.
1/2   teaspoon baking soda
1  teaspoon vanilla bean paste or to taste
5  quarts popped  popcorn

Nuts, or add in's like: pretzels,  etc.


1.   Preheat  oven to 275 degrees. Place popcorn in  a very large baking pan.

2.   In  a medium  saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in  brown sugar, corn  syrup
and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil  without stirring 4  minutes. Remove from heat and stir in soda and vanilla bean paste. Pour in a thin stream over popcorn, stirring to coat.

3.   Bake in preheated  oven, stirring every  15 minutes, for 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cool completely before  breaking into pieces

    This is to collect all the family receipes in one spot.

    My name is Cari and I have two children and three grandchildren.

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    December 2012