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One of my favorite things to bake is bread.  One of my favorite breads to bake is challah.

This year one of the things I would like to do is bake my way through Maggie Glezer’s  “A Blessing of Bread.”  This book is full of recipes for traditional Jewish breads from around the world.  In addition to the recipes Ms. Glezer shares stories she learned while collecting the recipes, as well as folk tales and traditions about bread.

The first recipe is called “My Challah”.  The dough is very firm, almost like clay, but with the elasticity of dough.  If you like to sculpt your food, this could be a great recipe for sculpting.  The finished bread is  fairly dense and just a little bit sweet.  It would be great for french toast if it could stick around long enough.  Unfortunately I have no self control and therefore no french toast.  But, I think I will live.

It was Valentine’s Day when I baked this so I made a heart.  The dough rose a bit more than I expected but you can still kind of see the heart shape.

I ♥ Challah
And since it was Valentine’s Day, I also made these:
 Dark Chocolate Truffles

I must say they were delicious and fabulously messy to make.  The kitchen looked like it had been dipped in chocolate by the time I was finished.  Mmmm chocolate kitchen.

Here is what you will need for your own dark chocolate kitchen:
1 2/3 cups heavy cream
7 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound chocolate (I like to use Gihrardelli‘s 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate)
Cocoa Powder

-Put the cream and butter in a saucepan.  Melt the butter and allow the cream to just come to a boil.
-Turn off heat.  Add the chocolate to the saucepan and stir until chocolate has melted.  Keep stirring until the mixture has thickened and been allowed to cool a bit.
-Chill for at least 2 hours, stirring 3 or 4 times while the mixture cools.
-Dust your counter thickly with cocoa powder.  
-Scoop out bits of the chocolate mixture and with cocoa dusted palms, shape the chocolate into balls.  
-Roll the balls in the cocoa powder and refrigerate (or freeze) until ready to serve.

The chocolate melts very quickly, and just as quickly, I had to accept that this project would be a mess.  Use the cocoa powder liberally and the freezer if necessary.  This was one of the most scrumptious messes I’ve ever gotten myself into.  I can’t wait to do it again!