The One Spice Blend You Probably Never Thought to Use in Baked Goods
A sprinkle of za'atar is delicious in just about anything — babka included.
In this series, we're showing off some of the coolest recipes, tips and tricks we've learned from chefs in the all-new Food Network Kitchen app.
My 14-year-old daughter, Dahlia, and I have been super into za'atar lately, putting the Mediterranean spice mix in everything we can think of. We add it to olive oil as an easy (and tasty) bread dip, sprinkle it over roasted sweet potatoes and use it to season fish, chicken and veggies.
One thing we never considered putting the spice blend of wild thyme, sumac, sesame seeds and salt in, though, was baked goods. That is, until we watched Molly Yeh prepare Jumbo Za'atar Babka Muffins on the all-new Food Network Kitchen app.
Molly’s savory twist on a sweet treat (babka is usually made with fillings like chocolate or cinnamon-sugar) looks like a total breakfast winner. Molly takes her homemade dough, rolls it out and tops it with olive oil, cheddar cheese, fresh oregano, za'atar, crushed red pepper and toasted pine nuts before rolling it into a tight log. But what really gives these muffins their babka-like appearance is the next step; Molly slices skinny pieces and gives each one a twist before putting it into the muffin tin. The slice-and-twist gives each muffin the beautiful swirled appearance that babka is known for — exposing the ribbons of delicious za'atar-spiced filling inside.
The babka muffins are a bit more work than your average muffin, but Molly notes that you can pop them in the freezer and heat them up whenever you’re in the mood. And, she mentions how versatile they are. "They’d be a great breakfast or a great side with steak —or just a delicious snack" she says before adding, "you can cut them in half and have an egg sandwich on them; It would be the perfect breakfast!"
Dahlia and I, the "za'atarheads" that we are, couldn't agree more. Making Molly's jumbo babka muffins is at the top of our baking list for the upcoming holiday break. There’s no doubt in our minds that this savory spice blend is just what we need to take our baking to the next level!