marzipan challah hedgehogs

Yogurt book is submitted and I have officially trained myself to never be able to cook with yogurt without feeling like I should be watching Pretty Little Liars and vice versa. In the same way that I wrote Molly on the Range with Sia going on full blast in the wee hours of the morning, I had nothing but PLL on while testing these recipes and I timed it pretty well because I only have about six episodes left in the whole series. I have no idea what’s going on but I do know that Aria’s hair and eyebrows just get better and better. 

In these last few weeks I kept having these moments when I’d drive all the way across town to the Super Target, the closest grocery that sells whole milk Greek yogurt that doesn’t have pectin in it, place four tubs in my cart and do a little cheer to the tune of this is my last Greek yogurt run until my deadline!! Only to have six more failed yogurt loaves come out of the oven before having to do that all over again. Luckily Classical Minnesota Public Radio really brings it and has made my long yogurt runs extra enjoyable. And also luckily, I finally made a really good yogurt loaf and am just generally extremely excited for all of the yogurt recipes in this little book!!! 

I am pretty sure it’s coming out in March but once I know more about release deets I’ll be sure to talk your ears off about it. 

Now it’s time to cook through some recipes that I’ve been wanting to make these past few weeks but couldn’t because I had yogurt chicken and yogurt pita to test. 

This week I’m helping Alana test the beef stew recipe for her book and I’m gonna eat it while it snows outside (!!!!!!). Then we’re going to take our holiday card picture, then we’re gonna put up our Chrismukkah bush, and then I’m going to practice my cookie swap cookies because I’ve got a cookie swap title to defend.

But how was your Halloween??? Did you dress up? We had very chill costumes. This whole time I was planning to be cookie salad but then I kept stressing out about the chocolate from the cookies getting on my clothes and wasn’t really sure what I would do until I woke up Saturday morning and decided to go as the little girl who walked in on her dad’s BBC interview. I dug up my yellow sweater, put on some pig tails, reached into my Quin Candy lollipop stash and taped that professor’s face on a paint stick. Eggboy went as Luke from Gilmore Girls so all he had to do was wear his hat backwards, carry a coffee carafe, and yell at you for using your cell phone. We went to Sheila and Dave’s annual party and Dave wore a banana suit and a bandana and was banana’s foster wallace, lolol.  

Here is a challah recipe that I’ve been so excited about since I first made it back in March at Nosh Berlin: marzipan stuffed challah hedgehogs! Or, as I learned there, they would be Challah Igel, auf Deutsch. They are doughy little challah rolls with a sweet almond filling and glaze on top that can either be a yarmulke or… fur…? Quills? Spiky bits. Sorry, I don’t know hedgehog anatomy. The slivered almond topping gives them a nice crunch, and these hedgehogs in fact have two lives: 

  1. When they first cool down just enough to hold their glaze and you have a fresh plump treat that’s perfect with a spot of tea.
  2. The next day when they’re no longer fresh and you’re like “what am I supposed to do with all of these dead hedgehogs?” And you make bread pudding. Zomg these hedgehogs make the best bread pudding ever. So almondy, so soft. It almost might behoove you to just make a double batch to ensure that you’ll have enough to make bread pudding. This is the basic bread pudding recipe that I use, and it wouldn’t hurt to add a small splash of almond extract in with the milk.

I’m posting these guys today as another nod to my German friends in celebration of the release of Molly’s Kitchen and also because they’d be a great holiday treat! And if you haven’t started planning your holiday menus yet what are you even doing???

marzipan challah hedgehogs

makes 14 rolls


for the challah:

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

3/4 c warm water (105º-110ºf)

1/4 c (50g) + 1 tsp sugar

1 tsp kosher salt

3 1/4 c (413g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

2 large eggs

1/3 c (67g) flavorless oil, like canola or vegetable


for the filling:

1/4 c (57g) unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 c (150g) sugar

1/8 tsp kosher salt

1 large egg, separated

1/4 tsp almond extract

1 1/2 c (168g) almond flour


Black sesame seeds, for decorating


for the glaze:

1 1/2 c (180g) powered sugar

1/2 tsp almond extract

5-6 tsp whole milk


Slivered almonds, for decorating


To make the challah dough, in a medium bowl, combine the yeast, warm water, and 1 teaspoon sugar and give it a little stir. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, until it becomes foamy on top.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl or the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together the salt, flour, and remaining sugar. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and oil.

When the yeast is foamy, add it to the dry mixture immediately followed by the egg mixture and stir to combine. Knead, either by hand on a floured surface or with a dough hook for 7-10 minutes, adding more flour as necessary (but resist any urge to add too much!), until you have a smooth and slightly sticky dough.

Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature until it has doubled in size, about 2 hours.

Meanwhile, make the marzipan filling. In a medium bowl, mix together the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula until combined. Mix in the salt and egg white (reserve the egg yolk for the egg wash), and then add the almond extract, and stir in the almond flour.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 375ºF.

When the dough has risen, turn it out onto a clean surface (dust with a little flour if it’s too sticky) and divide into 14 balls. Fill each ball with a heaping tablespoon of filling and seal it well to shut. Place the balls seem side down on the baking sheets, spaced evenly apart. Let rise for 30 more minutes. In a small bowl beat the reserved egg yolk with a splash of water and, working with three rolls at a time, brush the egg wash onto the rolls, use scissors to make two 1/2” cuts on one side for ears, and tweezers to stick on two black sesame seeds for eyes. (If you wait too long after brushing on the egg wash, it will dry and the sesame seeds won’t stick, so that’s why you don’t want to work with no more than three rolls at a time.)

Bake until golden brown, begin checking for doneness at 20 minutes.

Let cool and then make the glaze. In a small bowl, mix together the powdered sugar, almond extract, and 5 teaspoons milk. If it’s too thick to spread, add additional milk, a couple of drops at a time, until it's spreadable. Working one at a time, spread a circle of glaze onto the rolls and then top with overlapping rows of slivered almonds.