The holidays are all about traditions and I have quite a few. These are my three favorite, in no particular order…
1. A real live Christmas tree. There’s no such thing as a tree that’s too tall or too fat. My Uncle Andy will back me up on this one. ‘Nuff said.
2. The Christmas bell. Every year my family rings a bell at the end of Christmas Eve dinner starting with the youngest person in the house, on up to the oldest.
This is not THE Christmas bell, as in the bell that’s been in my family for years. But this is my Christmas bell, as in the one my Aunt Barbie sent me the first Christmas after I moved away from home. This bell is one of those “don’t-let-the-Army-movers-pack-it-know-where-it-is-at-all-times-grab-it-if-the-house-is-on-fire” kinda things. Ya, it’s that important.
And yes, all of my breakable Christmas knick-knacks are on top of one single bookshelf. Why? I have four kids! Duh.
3. Bobalki! Or, Bobocky. Or Bobice, or Bobalky, or however you want to spell it. I’ve seen it many ways. Bobalki has been on my family’s Christmas Eve dinner table since before I was born. Which means since, like, the times of baby Jesus himself! Just kidding…but let’s just say in my house I am the last one to ring the bell. Anyway, I got this recipe from my cousin Kari, who got it from her Mom, who I am sure got it from my Nana. This is definitely one of those recipes that has been passed down, and now I’m sharing it with you!
So what the heck is bobalki? Well, to put it simply…bobalki are like little pillows of dough from Heaven, risen, rolled, and baked to perfection, drenched in sweet syrupy honey, and sprinkled with poppyseeds. That is all. See, doesn’t matter how you spell it but you should really try making these soon. Like maybe for your Christmas Eve dinner?
Start with whole milk, flour, regular table salt, eggs, unsalted butter, sugar, and active dry yeast. Don’t be afraid of the yeast! You’ll see why in a minute. And by the way you’ll also need some honey and poppy seeds. I have no idea where my brain was!
Then add the yeast to the dry ingredients. This is why there’s no need to be scared! No proofing or fussing with temperatures! If you have a big jar of yeast, like I showed you up in the ingredient shot, then use 4 1/2 teaspoons. If not, then two packets like here. I remembered I had two packets so that’s what I used.
And the salt. Just regular old table salt. Then pour in your melted butter and milk. And crack in two eggs. Either mix it by hand, or in a stand mixer using the mixing paddle, until everything is well combined. What you’ll have is a very shaggy wet dough. Now either knead by hand or switch to the dough hook and keep going until the dough is no longer sticky. Then cover and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.
Like so. This took about 45 minutes. I kept it right in the same bowl I mixed it in and set the bowl on top of the stove, which I had preheating to 400 degrees. Ya following me? Sorry if I’m not making much sense…these are so good I get a little loopy when I’m around ‘em!
Now pull off walnut-size pieces of dough and roll them into balls. And line them up on sheet pans lined with silpat or parchment paper. This makes quite a few bobalki and I probably made mine a little bigger then normal. It’s like a bobalki army!
Now bake them for 12-15 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Mine were perfection at 12 minutes.
Now throw the bobalki in a colander. You’ll probably have to do these next few steps in batches since this makes so many. Sprinkle them with just a little bit of water. Like maybe 1-2 tablespoons? You just want to get the outsides moist. Now place them in a big bowl. Just an FYI…these make yummy dinner rolls just as they are! In fact my cousin Rachael prefers them this way. Drizzle on some honey. Don’t be stingy! And sprinkle on some poppy seeds. Go nuts or not so much. There’s no right or wrong here! And toss. Drool.
- 2 cups Whole Milk
- ½ cup Unsalted Butter
- 7½ cups All Purpose Flour
- ½ cup Sugar
- 2 Envelopes (4½ tsp) Active Dry Yeast
- 2 tsp Salt
- 2 Large Eggs
- Honey, for drizzling
- Poppy Seeds, for sprinkling
- Heat milk and butter over low heat in saucepan just enough to melt butter, set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl combine dry ingredients.
- Add milk and butter to dry ingredients. Then add eggs.
- Mix well and knead till dough is no longer sticky.
- Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
- Punch down and let rise till double in size.
- Pull off dough in walnut-sized pieces. Roll into balls.
- Bake on sheet pans lined with parchment paper at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Put baked balls into colander. Pour a small amount of hot water over balls then put them in a large bowl.
- Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Toss and serve.