How I Spent The First Day Of The New Year

When we went to Jeff's parents' house for Hanukkah this year, his mother invited everyone to a post-New Year's brunch to be held today. She began talking about making blintzes for the occasion, I mentioned I'd love to learn how to make them, and before we knew it, we were making plans to spend the first day of the new year making blintzes and baking challah together.

I should mention that Gunner helped too.
And how much do you love that KitchenAid stand and cabinet?

I spent 8 hours over at Jeff's parents' house yesterday and loved every minute of it. We started by mixing the dough for the challah, so we would have plenty of time to let it rise while we worked on the blintzes. It was pretty easy to throw the dough together, and Jeff's mother taught me how to feel the dough to know when it has just the right amount of flour.

While we left the challah to rise, we mixed up the batter for the blintzes. It comes out like a thin pancake batter and is simply a mixture of eggs, water, flour, salt, and melted butter. While that chilled in the fridge, we mixed up the filling: farmer's cheese, cream cheese, sugar, and eggs.

Making the blintzes is just like making crepes (something else I've never done). You pour the batter into a hot pan, swirl it to coat the pan, and dump off the excess. By letting the excess run off, you can ensure a very thin wrapper. Jeff's mother showed me how to make the crepes and then how to wrap the filling inside. While we both tried both roles, we found that I was better at filling, and she was better at making the crepes, so worked through them that way.

We chilled the crepes overnight, and today at brunch she'll heat them on a griddle.

In between making the crepes and starting on a chocolate babka recipe, we punched down the challah dough and divided it between two bowls. After another hour and a half, we took the dough out, and working with one piece at a time, divided it into three pieces, rolled each of those pieces into a rope, and then braided them into loaves.

We re-covered these and let them rise again. Once they were ready to be baked, Jeff's mother brushed them with an egg wash and put them in the oven. They came out beautifully!

Now, I have to go get ready to head to brunch! Can't wait to try everything we made.

How did you spend the first day of the new year?