December 10, 2019

Sweet New Year Recipes From Molly Yeh

Whether she’s planning menus for her family or her Food Network series, “Girl Meets Farm,” Molly Yeh likes to work backward. “I usually start with the dessert, because that’s what gets me the most excited,” she said. 

Yeh also has a soft spot for challah, the first of her Jewish mother’s recipes (her father is Chinese American), which she learned to make when she moved out on her own. Just in time for Rosh Hashanah, she shared two recipes that will get your New Year off to a sweet start.

Baked Challah French Toast
6 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup whole milk
2/3 cup part-skim or whole-milk ricotta
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 large eggs
1 lemon, zested and juiced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
12 thick-sliced (3/4- to 1-inch) day-old challah bread slices
1 cup frozen blueberries
Powdered sugar, for serving

Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg in a small bowl and mix to combine. Set aside.

In a large bowl, add the milk, ricotta, vanilla, salt, eggs and lemon zest. Whisk to combine and set aside.

Pour the melted butter in a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish. Dip each slice of bread lightly in the egg mixture and shingle the bread in the casserole dish, sprinkling a large pinch of the sugar mixture on each layer.

Pour the remaining egg mixture on top of the bread and then pour the remaining sugar mixture on top. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Bake the casserole for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until the custard is set and the bread is golden brown, an additional 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, add the blueberries and lemon juice to a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the berries burst and thicken and the sauce begins to bubble, about 15 minutes.

When ready to serve, spoon blueberries over the center of the casserole and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Molly Yeh’s Chocolate Sea Salt Rugelach , as seen on Girl Meets Farm, Season 3.

Chocolate Sea Salt Rugelach
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cubed and cold
8 ounces cream cheese, straight from the fridge
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract, optional
Egg wash (1 large egg beaten with splash of water)
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
Flaky salt, for sprinkling
Sprinkles, sanding sugar or turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

Combine the flour, granulated sugar and salt in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.

Add the cubed butter, distributing it all over the top of the dry ingredients, then dollop in cream cheese (1-inch dollops should do it, but it doesn’t need to be perfect).

Turn on mixer at low speed and mix until the ingredients are mostly mealy and there are still some larger clumps of butter and cream cheese intact.

With the mixer still running, add the egg yolks, vanilla and almond extract, if using, then continue mixing until the dough comes together.

Divide the dough in half and shape into 2 discs. Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, stirring constantly, or in a microwaveable bowl in 30-second increments, stirring after each. Set aside to cool briefly while you roll out the dough.

Make the egg wash. Roll out a dough disc on lightly floured surface, dusting with flour as needed to prevent it from sticking, until it is a wide rectangle, 18-by-9-inches.

Use an offset spatula to spread half of the chocolate over dough in a thin even layer, leaving a 1-inch border along the long edge that’s farthest from you. (Try to work quickly so the chocolate doesn’t harden.)

Brush the border with a thin layer of egg wash. Starting on the long end closest to you, roll the dough into a long, tight log, then place it seam-side down on a cutting board or baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough and chocolate.

Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days (depending on fridge space, you might want to cut the log in half so there are four shorter logs instead of two long ones; wrap in plastic if refrigerating for longer than 1 hour).

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Brush logs with thin layer of egg wash, then sprinkle with a few pinches of flaky salt and lots of sprinkles or sanding sugar.

Cut into 1 1/2-inch slices and transfer to the baking sheets, spacing them 1 inch apart.

Bake until golden brown on top, about 24 minutes. (You might notice that the cookies seem to sweat and leak some fat while in the oven; this is completely normal.)

Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, or enjoy them warm! Fully cooled cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for several days.

“Girl Meets Farm” airs at 11 a.m. Sundays on Food Network. The “Jewish New Year” episode premieres Sept. 22.