Monday, January 25, 2016


Back in college I was involved with Challah for Hunger.  I absolutely loved being a part of that organization.  My favorite part was selling the challah, and then, of course, eating it!  My favorite flavor was peanut butter chocolate chip, followed by chocolate chip and plain.  Since I graduated in May, I have not had a lot of challah.  Seeing as I was stuck in my apartment this weekend due to Blizzard Jonas, and I had all of the ingredients I needed on hand, I decided to bake challah!  I used Tante B's Famous Challah Recipe from  However, the recipe would have made more challah than I ever could have possible wanted, or been able to eat, so I halved the recipe.  Yes, I even halved the egg, and saved the other half for the egg-wash.

I cut the dough into quarters, and then cut each quarter into thirds.  I rolled out each strand, so that they were probably 5-6" in length, and then braided three strands together.

I decided to add chocolate chips to the outside of one, and after I added the egg-wash I sprinkled some salt on top.

Now, the challah really expands in the oven.  As you can see, some of the challahs stuck together.  They came apart very easily, however, so it wasn't a problem.

As I didn't bake the large loafs, I baked the challah for 18 minutes at 375, turned the oven off, and let them sit for another 15 minutes.

Lets just say, I'm in heaven.  I absolutely recommend this recipe, and cannot wait to make it again (in a few months).

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Peanut Butter and Coffee anyone?

I have been telling my lab mate about my Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins.  After a few weeks of her begging me to make them, I finally did.  Of course, I also added a twist!  I made a loaf version of the muffins, and I made Peanut Butter Coffee Chocolate Chip Muffins (whoo, what a mouthful!).

First up, the loaf cake!

I followed the recipe for the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins, and placed it into a large loaf pan.  Sprinkle chocolate chips on top so that it is more aesthetically pleasing and desirable.  I baked them at 375 for 20 minutes, decreased the heat to 350 and baking for another 20 minutes or so.  The reason that I decreased the heat is because the top was already browned, but the inside was not cooked.  To continue cooking the inside and not burn the top, you need to decrease the temperature of the oven!

I also wanted to try something new.  I had bought coffee a few months ago to bake with and haven't had the occasion to try it yet.  I figured muffins were the perfect place to start!  Now, I was lazy between making the loaf cake and the muffins, and didn't want to clean the bowl; therefore, we got peanut butter coffee muffins with chocolate chips!

1 2/3 cup flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 cup (low-fat) buttermilk
1/4 cup applesauce
1 (extra) large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup (skim) milk
3 tbsp instant coffee
2 tbsp peanut butter
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Add the peanut butter, buttermilk, applesauce, egg, and vanilla to a bowl and mix until fully combined.  Then add in the flour, sugars, and baking powder.  In a separate bowl, add the instant coffee to the milk.  Then add to the muffin mixture, and stir until combined.  Last, add the chocolate chips.  Place the muffins into a well-greased cupcake pan, and bake at 375 for 10 minutes, and then decrease the heat to 350 for another 20 minutes or so.

If you are not a fan of peanut butter, just leave it out of the muffins.  The consistency should still be fine, and your muffins should taste amazing!

I had brought the muffins and cake into lab, and they were well-received!

Now here is my questions to all of the bakers: How do you get you nice rounded muffins, or muffins that don't have the dome like these do?

Happy Baking!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Washington D.C.

Saturday I drove up to Washington D.C. to see my amazing friend Amira, who attends medical school at GW.  I was fascinated by the drive, and the change of landscape.  I went from being in a small town (Charlottesville) to the middle of nowhere.  At least, that is how I felt.  There were a few houses along the "highway" and some general stores, but not much else.  About a half hour outside of D.C. I started to get excited. Why? Because there was civilization.  Now, many of you may be thinking that I was excited about all of these stores because of my stark drive.  I assure you, that is not the case.  I was super excited about seeing a Super Target, next to a Best Buy and a Lowes, and then a few minutes later a whole shopping center and a mall.  Some days I don't mind living in a small, college town.  Everything that I need on a daily basis is 10 minutes away.  That being said, the speed limit is mostly 25 mph (so slow!), and the shopping is anywhere between 20 minutes and 1 hour and 20 minutes away.  I have been fortunate to grow up in a place where everything I could possibly need or want was so close (for the most part 30 minutes).  Something that I am currently grappling with is the small-ness of this town.

That being said, my short trip to Washington D.C. was fantastic!  It was great to catch up with Amira, who I haven't seen since August, and walk around our Capital.  The White House is so much smaller than you think it should be, with the Executive Offices being right next door.

The Row Houses in D.C. are beautiful.  They contain their own style.  You can tell many of the new buildings from the older ones due to a difference in architecture.  I wish that the new buildings would be built with the same style as the older ones, but alas, they are not.

It is always fun to go to a new or different places, because you learn so much about them.  I am so grateful that I got to spend this weekend with Amira catching up.  It is like we have never been apart; we finished each others sentences multiple times.

Cheers to a great weekend with a great friend, and to future trips!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Cake

Happy New Year everyone!!

A week ago, it was my birthday.  My grandmother got me a marble cake with chocolate frosting, and it was amazing!  Unfortunately, I had to fly home immediately after I had one slice.  Needless to say, one piece of cake was not sufficient.  I decided to bake my own cake, putting a spin on my Moms Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Cake.  This also happens to be one of my Dads favorite cakes.

For my birthday, I got a brand-new camera!  So what better way to test it out, then to take tens of pictures of this cake?

1 box Betty Crocker's Triple Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix with pudding
1/2 box vanilla pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
4 eggs
1 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Combine all ingredients except for the chocolate chips.  Mix until combined.  Take note, the cake mix has mini chocolate chips in it.  Beat the batter for about 8 minutes.  (I did this by hand, so it wasn't actually 8 minutes..I would suggest doing this in a mixer unless you are looking for a workout!).  Coat the chocolate chips with flour, and add to the batter, mixing them in.  Pour the batter into a greased bundt-pan.  Bake at 350 for 50-80 minutes, until the toothpick comes out clean.