honey whole wheat challah

this is becoming a pattern. i get to new york, get so excited to play with all of my old friends and new, wear myself out like a rambunctious puppy who forgot what it was like to wear shoes all day, and then have to spend one solid evening sitting in bed with no pants and a pile of pizza. it's ok everybody! i'm going to be ok! this is just my typical adjustment to new york, so plz don't be alarmed that i have been in bed since 5:30pm last night. today i will be good as new and more like the new york dweller that i used to be. ready to walk and schmooze and go up and down stairs and wear all black. it's going to be great.

i've had such a wild past few days! it began with the taste talks awards, where i got to frost cakes with some awesome kiddos on stage at b.a.m., have my very first black tap milkshake with michelle, chat with kat kinsman about her book (which you all know to get, right???), ask michael twitty to be my hebrew teacher, and talk to flynn about how prom was. and i got to hug ellen and adeena and andrea which is the sign of a very great day. then i zipped on up to blue hill for my panel with kim, michael, and jenny about food writing. it was fun and made me kind of wish i had a xylophone to stand behind because being on a stage without a large instrument between me and the audience is new for me and makes me nervous. nervous that if i cross my legs the wrong way there isn't a bass drum there to prevent you from seeing my underpants. among other things. 

and then yesterday, marian and lauren and i woke up early to hear sam sifton and martha stewart talk about meal kits and snoop dogg! and then rux martin and gail simmons spoke about books and tv in a way that made me so excited about the future of food media. it was all so gosh darn inspiring. so, too, was the hot dog that dan barber served on the cutest ever tray:

on the way back, we swung by the blue hill chicken coop and all of the pretty tarrytown houses, and marian planted seeds in my brain about some fun things to talk about next week at my book launch events. about blogging, the current state of it, how it's changed, how it translates to a book. are you coming to hear deb and me talk next week?? is there anything specific you'd like us to talk about? by that time i'll be better at talking on stage without a xylophone in front of me. or maybe i'll just bring a xylophone. 

i was taken off guard when i found out my book was coming out on rosh hashanah! at first i didn't know what to do, then i was like, eh! non-traditional tractor-top rosh hashanahs are becoming kind of the norm for me, so what's really so weird about a rosh hashanah book release? i mean, i love tending to a brisket all day, but you know what else i love? sammy's roumanian steakhouse and the fact that they're open and ready for a rosh hashanah party. so that's where i'll be with my family and bridesmen. and to add to the non-traditionalness, here is some sprinkle crusted challah. it's been brushed with honey and kneaded with nutty whole wheat flour, and it'll kind of remind you of those honey whole wheat pretzels from trader joe's that are borderline healthy until you eat the whole bag. it's great with a turkey and apple sandwich, or obviously on its own, hot and with layer of salted butter.

honey whole wheat challah

makes 6 mini loaves


4 1⁄2 tsp (2 envelopes) active dry yeast 

1 1⁄2 c warm water 

1 tsp plus 1⁄4 c sugar 

2 1/2 c wheat flour (i used white whole wheat, either is fine)

4 c white flour, plus quite a bit more for dusting

2 pinches cardamom

2 tsp kosher salt 

4 large eggs 

3/4 c flavorless oil 

1⁄4 c honey

Egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with + 1 tb honey

sesame seeds, sprinkles, sea salt, za’atar, for topping


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. 

in a large bowl, combine remaining sugar, flours, cardamom, and salt. separately, beat together the eggs, oil, and honey.

add the yeast mixture and then the egg mixture to the flour and stir to combine. cover the dough with a damp, clean kitchen cloth and let sit for 15 minutes.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough by hand, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking, for 7 to 10 minutes. Knead until the dough becomes smooth and slightly sticky.

Use the oil to grease the inside of a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover again with the towel and let the dough rise for 2 to 3 hours, until doubled in size.

preheat the oven to 375ºf. line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

split the dough into six equal portions. mold each portion into a swirl shape and place on baking sheets. let shaped loaves rise for 30 more minutes. then brush the loaves with the egg wash and top with toppings as desired. 

bake loaves for 25 minutes, until golden brown. remove from the oven and cool. enjoy!


tahini oreos

i'm sitting at the table with a pile of freshly baked bread because i've just spent yesterday catching up for my time without it last week. 

did you miss me, pita? did you miss me, focaccia?

[the bread stares back in silence. molly feels uncomfortable, and then unaffected. she peels a potato off of the pony-shaped focaccia, eats it, and goes back to work.]

how was your passover, orthodox easter, and/or weekend??

my passover was mostly spent in louisiana, a few hours west of new orleans, at the home of tabasco sauce. the factory, headquarters, and research and development pepper fields are hidden by massive ginormous mossy trees and surrounded by swamps and bayous, and the bayous are filled with alligators. there's a tiny post office and an archives building, and i stayed in an old large mansion down the road from the factory with blogger friends and ghosts of old tabasco family members. or something like that. it might sound scary, with all of the alligators and ghosts, but it wasn't at all! the alive humans were so friendly that i just assumed the ghosts and alligators would be too if we ever came into direct contact. the trip was really beautiful. quite humid. fascinating. made me want to invent something as cool as universally loved hot sauce. 

anyway, i'm back now for a few good weeks, spring planting is well under way (eggboy is officially coated in his thin semi-permanent layer of dirt), and i've got some fun pop-ups and parties coming up that i'm cooking and baking for. so i've been whipping up a few new experiments as menu possibilities! some of them have been good, some of them bad (like the donuts on this cake, they were so sadly mediocre), and some of them great. like these oreos. they're pretty effing good. they're butter and sugar and chocolate and tahini, transformed into dark crispy cookies and sandwiched with smooth nutty tahini buttercream. aside from the fact that the two components balance each other as well as meryl and charlie, i love them because they'll keep well for a week or two in your fridge and longer in the freezer. and what better mother's day present than a freezer full of homemade oreos?

a note on tahini: i have become very very picky about my tahini in recent years. the good stuff is life-changing, but not always easy to find in the states. here are my current recs: al arz, karawan, seed + mill, soom, whole foods' 365 brand. 

tahini oreos

makes about 18 sandwich cookies



2 c all-purpose flour

1 c unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting*

3/4 tsp kosher salt

1 1/4 c unsalted butter, softened

3/4 c sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract 

*dusting your work surface with cocoa powder will yield a beautiful, dark, chocolatey aesthetic, but using a lot of it could make the cookies taste a little bit bitter on their own since the cocoa powder is unsweetened. when they're paired with the super sweet buttercream, i love it. but if you know you'll prefer a sweeter cookie, dust your work surface with powdered sugar or a mixture of powdered sugar and cocoa powder. 


1/2 c unsalted butter, softened

1/4 c tahini

1 1/2 c powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract

a pinch of ground cinnamon

a pinch of kosher salt


make the cookies:

preheat oven to 325ºf. line two baking sheets with parchment and set them aside.

in a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt.

in the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. mix in the vanilla. slowly add the dry ingredient mixture and beat until just combined. it will still be a bit crumbly.

pour the mixture out onto your work surface and give it a few kneads to bring it all together. dust your surface with cocoa powder and/or powdered sugar, and working swiftly and carefully, roll out your dough and cut out 2-inch circles. transfer them to your baking sheet, about an inch apart (using a small offset spatula really helps with this step). re-roll scraps and cut out remaining circles.

this is a super delicate dough, so try not to handle it more than you need to, and if it gets too soft, stick it in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes to firm up. this dough can also be made a day in advance, wrapped tightly, and kept in the fridge.

bake the cookies for about 20 minutes, or until the tops are no longer shiny. cool on the pans on a rack for 5 minutes and then remove to the rack to cool completely.

make the filling:

in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and tahini until creamy. gradually add the powdered sugar. add the vanilla, cinnamon, and salt and beat to combine. 


fill a piping bag with the filling and pipe a blob onto the center of half the cookies. top them with the rest of the cookies to make little sandwiches. place them in the fridge for a few minutes to allow the filling to firm up before serving. store in the fridge.


this is based on my matcha oreo recipe! so if you need more oreos, here, make some green ones too


chocolate sesame tart with grapefruit

i joined the town gym yesterday. i returned from my post-hawaii weekend in winnipeg (eggboy played a trombone concert!), applied a layer of activewear, and then acquired access to the best indoor waterpark in grand forks, along with some other stuff, like free weights and possibly a steam room. i haven't done enough exploring in the locker room yet to confirm that there is actually a steam room, and tbh i don't really want to *explore the locker room* and all of its bare body parts, i just want someone to give me a direct route to the steam room, if there is one. but i have a good hunch. i may also even start going to yoga classes again because these days i can't even do 30 seconds of yoga in my living room without looking at the twitter, it's atrocious. the only downside about the gym is that it takes 23 minutes by car to get there, 24 if there's traffic, but (!) i'm knee deep in research about how to make the most of my car time by way of audio hebrew lessons and i'm extremely excited about it. (do you have an recs? is rosetta stone the way to go?)

in other words, i'm moving into a post-book-deadline world and beginning some things i've been wanting to do for the past year but put aside in an effort to make my deadlines. i have a list on my phone, i'm rereading it now. "learn hebrew" and "have a bat mitzvah" are at the top, "watch every mary-kate and ashley movie ever made" and "eat no food" were all likely added during the most stressful times, and "go blonde" is something i probably won't stop thinking about until i try it. 

and then of course there is the assumed "make other people's recipes that have me foaming at the mouth." so many beautiful cookbooks were birthed this spring and i'm basically floored that all of the people behind these books went through the cookbook writing process that i'm going through right now and that they're all still alive, breathing, considering doing it again, etc. it's reassuring. it makes me appreciate cookbooks even more. and today, right now, as my rhubarb patch is beginning to poke its little nose out of the ground, i'm cuddling up with yossy arefi's sweeter off the vine, a stunning ode to fruit dessertshave you ever met yossy? i think she is the calmest human on the face of the planet. her voice is exactly the one that i need in my head while i try new things (like supremeing a grapefruit or baking a gooseberry into a buckle) or attempt things that typically cause me lots of frustration (anything involving a tart shell or pie crust). it's trustworthy and encouraging, and it all shows through so well in this book, well enough to make me question my staunch preference for nutty desserts over fruity ones. and of course today we are starting with the token tahini recipe, this chocolate tart. it's sour, salty, chocolatey, and nutty, and my favorite part about making it was learning this new thing called supremeinggood luck! don't chop your fingers off, for a tasty tart awaits you at the end. 

chocolate sesame tart with grapefruit

from yossy arefi's sweeter off the vine

makes one 13 1/2" x 4 1/2" rectangular tart (or four small tarts, pictured)


1 chocolate tart shell, recipe below

2 medium grapefruit, scrubbed and dried

3/4 c sugar

6 oz chopped semisweet chocolate

1/2 c heavy cream

1/4 c tahini

1 tsp smoked flaky sea salt


grate the zest of one of the grapefruit and measure 1 teaspoon of zest. supreme the grapefruit: cut off the tops and bottoms of the fruits, then with a very sharp knife, cut the white pith away from the outside of the fruit. over a medium saucepan, carefully cut the wedges of fruit away from the membrane, letting the fruit and juices fall into the pan. remove any seeds that have fallen in. add the sugar and zest to the pan and stir to combine. bring the mixture to a boil over high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the grapefruit segments break down and the mixture thickens and reduces by about half, 7 to 12 minutes. pour the mixture into a heat-safe container and let cool to room temperature. it will seem syrupy right out of the pan, but should be the consistency of a thick, sticky jam or marmalade when cool.

add the chopped chocolate to a heat-safe bowl. bring the cream to a boil in a saucepan and pour it over the chocolate. let the mixture sit for 5 minutes, then whisk until smooth. whisk in the tahini.

spread a thin (1/8"-1/4"), even layer of the grapefruit marmalade (you may not use it all) onto the baked and cooled tart shell. pour the warm ganache over the top and smooth with an offset spatula. chill the tart until firm, at least 1 hour and up to overnight, before serving. 

sprinkle with the smoked salt and cut the tart into thin slices. store leftovers in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic, for up to three days. the jam will soften the tart shell over time. 

chocolate tart shell


1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour

1/3 c cocoa powder

1/3 c firmly packed light brown sugar

1/2 tsp instant espresso powder

1/2 tsp salt

10 tb unsalted butter, cold and cubed

1 tb cold water, as needed


whisk the whole egg, egg yolk, and vanilla together in a small bowl. in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade or in a bowl using a pastry blender, combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, espresso powder, and salt. pulse to combine. add the butter and pulse until it is the size of small peas. add the egg mixture and pulse until it is evenly distributed and the dough starts to hold together. it may appear to be a bit crumbly but should hold together easily when pressed. if the dough does not hold together when pressed, pulse in the water 1 teaspoon at a time.

lightly butter a tart pan and press the dough into the pan, making sure to evenly coat the bottom and sides with 1/8"-1/4" of dough. save a bit of dough just in case you have to repair any cracks after baking the shell. freeze the shell for 30 minutes. 

preheat the oven to 375ºf and line the frozen shell with a piece of aluminum foil, shiny side down. bake the tart shell (no need for pie weights) until it is beginning to brown, about 15 minutes, then remove the foil and continue to bake until the shell is completely cooked through. if the shell puffs up while baking, carefully use an offset spatula to gently press it back into the pan. repair any cracks that may have formed with the reserved dough. baked shells or unbaked dough will keep in the freezer, well wrapped, for up to three months. thaw in the refrigerator before filling baked shells or using unbaked dough. 


black sesame cupcakes

we ate velveeta and talked about messiaen. i offered a cupcake to the police man at the sobriety checkpoint and he declined it. i think i wore my apron cupcake wars costume for 10 minutes before taking it off, and then we said goodnight to the cows as we left emily and evan's. it was great! how was your halloween?? get any good candy? i got a jumbo tootsie roll. it was v nostalgic and chewy. almost as nostalgic as the velveeta.

tonight we have our first curling class!!!! i cannot contain my excitement. i've never done curled before. our town has a curling place (rink? stadium? school? i don't know what you call it) and after missing the beginner's level sign up last year, we jumped on signing up this year because how could you not try it at least once when you live in the north pole? do any of you curl? quick, give me some tips. i have no idea what i've gotten myself into.

here is a recipe that i contributed to food52's new baking book! it is an updated version of these little guys. they're nutty, not too sweet, and nestled in this book alongside all sorts of fun recipes, like marian's tomato soup cake and phyllis' brown butter cupcake brownies. these cupcakes are paired with matcha frosting in the book (you can find that recipe here) but for my halloween costume i stuck with a basic vanilla buttercream (like the one here) and decorated them on the theme of... sprinkles and teddybears? i don't know, i had trouble thinking up a good cupcake wars theme and there was marzipan and a teddybear cookie cutter sitting right next to me.

black sesame cupcakes

makes 12


1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tb unsweetened cocoa
6 tb black sesame seeds, toasted and ground in a spice grinder to a fine crumb
1/2 c unsalted buter, softened
1/4 c tahini
3/4 c sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 c milk


Preheat oven to 350ºf. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners and set aside.

Whisk together all dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream together butter, tahini, and sugar until pale and creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Add the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and then gradually mix in the dry ingredients and then beat in the milk. Scoop into the cupcake tins and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Begin checking for doneness at 18 minutes. 

Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

frost as desired with matcha buttercream (this recipe makes enough for 24 cupcakes, so you only need half!) or vanilla buttercream. enjoy!