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College Kitchen: sweets for your sweetie

Treat a special someone.
For a fun Valentine's Day treat, you can twist challah dough into hearts and treat your loved ones with delicious bread.
February 14, 2013

St. Valentine’s day can drain a student’s budget faster than a night on the town. The love tokens we give so freely in February — the tickets to a show, the candles and flowers — all add up quickly and deal a harsh blow to our bank statement come March.

Homemade treats show heartfelt effort and are more economical. Tell your sugar pie honey bunch that you love them with a dessert that is just as sweet as they are.

 

Challah Hearts

Bread baking is a labor of love. To construct a beautiful dough creation, you must have passion enough to knead until arms ache, tenderness enough to handle malleable dough and thoughtfulness enough to ensure the bread rises to an appropriate level. With these ingredients you can have a lasting relationship — at least with carbohydrates.

 

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 cup warm water

1/3 cup honey

1 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons olive oil

2 eggs

 

Toppings

 

1 well-beaten egg

1/2 cup water

 

Poppy seeds (optional)

Sesame seeds (optional)

 

To begin, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water. Stir until the sugar has completely dissolved and there are no lumps of yeast floating in the mixture. Whisk in the olive oil, honey, salt and eggs. Once this mixture has reached an even consistency, gradually begin adding flour.

When all the flour is added, the dough should not be sticky. You should be able to work it with your hands and not have any residual dough stuck to your fingers. Keep adding flour to keep the dough workable. In a large bowl or on a clean, flat surface, knead the dough for about 10 minutes. When the dough is strong enough to bounce back from a firm poke of your finger, it has been kneaded enough.

Put the dough in a greased bowl. Cover it tightly and set in a warm place. If you have a drafty apartment, set the oven to 150 degrees and then turn it off. The dough will rise wonderfully in the warm oven. Let rise for two hours.

Punch the dough down after the allotted time has passed. Let it rise again, this time for 45 minutes. Punch the dough down again, and remove it from the bowl.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the dough into six evenly sized chunks with a sharp knife. Roll each chunk into a long rope. Twist each rope so it has a swirled texture. Take both ends of the rope and firmly twist them together. On a greased baking sheet, lay the dough in a heart shape.

Combine the beaten egg and water. With a pastry brush or a moistened paper towel, brush the egg wash over the top of your hearts. If you wish, sprinkle poppy seeds, sesame seeds or a combination of the two over the rolls. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Slather the fresh, sweet bread in one of the following decadent homemade butters.

 

Spreads

The Archies should give you all the inspiration you need to indulge your sweet tooth one step further. Whether it’s sugar or honey, these loves will leave you wanting more.

 

Sugar, Sugar

 

1/2 cup unsalted butter

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cardamom

 

or

 

Honey, Honey

 

1/2 cup unsalted butter

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 squirt lemon juice

1 dash salt

 

Mix all ingredients with an electric mixture or by hand until light and fluffy.

 

Pet names aside, spreading the love with a thoughtful gift that doesn’t break the bank is the best idea ever. Your significant other — and your stomach — will thank you.

 

 

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