Christmas is round the corner, my kids are having a countdown! There is cheerful music everywhere, on the radio, in the mall, in stores. It IS the most wonderful time of the year! The Bay Area finally feels cold, and coats are required. Hot chocolate is needed as well, and warm fires or heaters, thick blankets give the fuzzy feels. Red is THE color of the season! I have been thinking of the perfect breakfast for Christmas morning. Presents are opened, and breakfast is the next thing on everyone’s mind. What would be a delicious, easy, perfect breakfast for Christmas morning? A Spiced Cranberry Jam stuffed Challah French Toast! This blog post has 3 recipes in 1 : 1) Spiced Cranberry Jam 2) Challah 3) French Toast with the Challah. Now how fun is that?
I have never made cranberry jam before, and that is cause I make jams from seasonal fruit that is readily available in the farmer’s market. I bought cranberries from the store, and made the jam for the first time. The jam has orange juice, orange zest, star anise, and freshly grated ginger. This jam is sublime! It is so delicious, not too sweet and excellent with the french toast! It would be so perfect for Christmas morning even with plain toast, slathered with butter and the jam.
I love making challah, it is so therapeutic, especially the part of braiding the challah. The Kitchn has the most effective, and informative tutorial on how to make the challah, and they show you how to do the 6 rope braid, and the instructions are spot on! I always follow this method to make this wonder bread and it comes out perfect each and every time! This recipe makes one large challah or 2 regular challahs. I made 2 regular challahs and stored one in the fridge for the coming weekend. Here is the recipe from thekitchn.com.
As for the french toast, it is super easy to make the custard, and comes together very quickly. French toast is my family’s favorite breakfast and I always make extra and keep it in the fridge for crazy mornings, when we can simply warm it up in the microwave, drizzle maple syrup, add some fruits and breakfast is ready! For this particular french toast, I did add an additional dollop of jam on top cause it was so delicious, along with some hazelnuts and maple syrup.
The challah can be made the day before Christmas, making it super easy to get breakfast ready on the table the day of Christmas. If you do try this recipe, please do not forget to tag #thejamlab on Instagram and/or leave a comment below in the blog post, and make my day! 🙂
Thanks so much for reading! Hope you all are taking the time to enjoy with your loved ones, in this wonderful month of the year. Happy Holidays and have a safe and Merry Christmas!
- Spiced and Spiked Cranberry Jam:
- 1 pound fresh cranberries
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1 cup organic cane sugar
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 4 star anise
- 2 tablespoons of brandy
- Challah(The recipe is from thekitchn.com : Link in the blog post)
- 2 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast
- 1 cup (8 ounces) lukewarm water
- 4 to 4 1/2 cups (20 to 22 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) white granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk (reserve the white for the egg wash)
- 1/4 cup (2 ounces) neutral-flavored vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp orange zest
- French Toast:
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
- 3 eggs
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg powder
- 3-4 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Maple syrup
- chopped hazelnuts
- Spiced and Spiked Cranberry Jam:
- In a medium saucepan, on medium heat, add in the cranberries and water and let it cook, partially covered for 5 minutes. The water will start boiling and the cranberries will get soft. With a wooden spatula, stir the mixture and let it cook for another 7 minutes, partially covered on medium-low heat. The cranberries will become soft and slightly mushy. Add in rest of the ingredients and let the mixture cook on medium heat, stirring it occasionally for 2-3 minutes. Smash the cranberries with a masher or using the spatula. Let the mixture cook down, and thicken for another 7 minutes, continue stirring it. You can switch off the heat and let the mixture cool down. The jam thickens as it cools down. Remove the star anise from the jam. Add in the brandy after it cools and mix it well. Store in a glass container upto 3 weeks.
- For the Challah:
- 1. Dissolve the yeast: Sprinkle the yeast over the water in a small bowl, and add a healthy pinch of sugar. Stir to dissolve the yeast and let stand until you see a thin frothy layer across the top. This means that the yeast is active and ready to use. (If you do not see this or if your yeast won't dissolve, it has likely expired and you'll need to purchase new yeast.)
- 2. Mix the dry ingredients: Whisk together 4 cups of the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer (or in a large mixing bowl if kneading by hand).
- 3. Add the eggs, yolk, and oil: Make a well in the center of the flour and add the eggs, egg yolk, orange zest and oil. Whisk these together to form a slurry, pulling in a little flour from the sides of the bowl.
- 4. Mix to form a shaggy dough: Pour the yeast mixture over the egg slurry. Mix the yeast, eggs, and flour with a long-handled spoon until you form a shaggy dough that is difficult to mix.
- 5. Knead the dough for 6 to 8 minutes: With a dough hook attachment, knead the
- dough on low speed for 6 to 8 minutes. (Alternatively, turn out the dough onto a floured work surface and knead by hand for about 10 minutes.) If the dough seems very sticky, add flour a teaspoon at a time until it feels tacky, but no longer like bubblegum. The dough has finished kneading when it is soft, smooth, and holds a ball-shape.
- 6. Let the dough rise until doubled: Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place somewhere warm. Let the dough rise until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
- 7. Separate the dough and roll into ropes: Separate the dough into three or six equal pieces, depending on the type of braid you'd like to do. Roll each piece of dough into a long rope roughly 1-inch thick and 16 inches long. If the ropes shrink as you try to roll them, let them rest for 5 minutes to relax the gluten and then try again.
- 8. Braid the dough: Gather the ropes and squeeze them together at the very top. If making a 3-stranded challah, braid the ropes together like braiding hair or yarn and squeeze the ends together when complete. If making a 6-stranded challah, the directions are below.
- Let the challah rise: Line a baking sheet with parchment and lift the loaf on top. Sprinkle the loaf with a little flour and drape it with a clean dishcloth. Place the pan somewhere warm and away from drafts and let it rise until puffed and pillowy, about an hour.
- 10. Brush the challah with egg white: About 20 minutes before baking, heat the oven to 350°F. When ready to bake, whisk the reserved egg white with a tablespoon of water and brush it all over the challah. Be sure to get in the cracks and down the sides of the loaf.
- 11. Bake the challah: Slide the challah on its baking sheet into the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking. The challah is done when it is deeply browned and registers 190°F in the very middle with an instant-read thermometer.
- 12. Cool the challah: Let the challah cool on a cooling rack until just barely warm. Slice and eat.
- For the French Toast:
- In a medium mixing bowl, add in all the ingredients and whisk vigorously to incorporate all the ingredients.
- Add the mixture into an 8x8 pan. Slice the challah into about 1 1/2 inch slices.
- Heat a medium shallow pan on medium heat. Dip 3 slices at a time for about 10 seconds each on one side, then flip and let it sit in the mixture for another 10 seconds. Lay the challah slices on the pan and let it brown for about 2 minutes on each side and remove it on a large plate kept aside.
- Continue until all the slices are done.
- To plate, take 2 slices, drizzle with maple syrup, add a dollop of cranberry jam and few chopped hazelnuts and serve with fruits!