The only thing better than a good recipe? When something’s so easy that you don’t even need one. Welcome to It’s That Simple, a column where we talk you through the dishes and drinks we can make with our eyes closed.
When Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Hanukkah come around, my family can always count on me to supply the dense, swirly, fudgy dessert: chocolate babka. But this year, after hosting a small Yom Kippur break fast for three, I was left with half a log of babka and bellies stuffed to the brim. Even after attempting to send my loved ones home with some, the babka remained, losing freshness by the day.
We’ve all heard of tried and true ways to reoptimize stale breads: French toast, bread pudding, stuffing. However, since babka is such a labor of love, I was looking for a solution that would allow me to keep this special treat for weeks to come. That’s why Molly Yeh’s Babka Cereal is such a revelation, like Cinnamon Toast Crunch meets Cocoa Puffs.
In her new cookbook, Home Is Where The Eggs Are, Yeh writes, “The swirly loaf may be the beauty queen of the coffee cake world, but it’s quite dense and deceptively challenging to finish in a little family.” Yeh has a recipe for Cardamom Babka in the book, but any babka will work. In fact, you can use any stale, sweet bread like challah, brioche, morning buns, and milk bread to make cereal.
My roommates and I have been daydreaming about the endless possibilities. Pumpkin bread cereal with nutmeg and ginger. Challah cereal with pistachio and brown sugar. Anything goes, and it’s guaranteed to blow store-bought boxed cereal out of the water every time.
Here’s how to make Molly Yeh’s Babka Cereal:
Preheat your oven to 300°. Cut about half a loaf of chocolate babka into bite-size cubes, and toss them with 2 Tbsp. melted salted or unsalted butter, a heaping dash of cinnamon, a pinch of salt, and a sprinkle of sugar. You can also toss in chopped nuts, like sliced almonds or cashews, for added crunch. Spread onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and pop in the oven. You’ll start to smell the heavenly cinnamon sugar aroma after 5 minutes—when my roommates flooded the kitchen asking me to save them some—but wait 25 minutes before giving the pieces a toss, and then bake for another 25 minutes or so, until the cubes are golden brown.
After waiting for the cereal to cool (a difficult task), Yeh suggests accompanying the cereal with milk or yogurt. Or just eat it straight: The cereal has a toasted, warming, chocolatey flavor and a satisfying crunch. And the best part—it will be good in an airtight container for up to a few weeks.
Adapted with permission from Home Is Where the Eggs Are by Molly Yeh, published by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
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