Kid-friendly Amazing Apple Carrot Raisin Challah Knots Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Recipe: Amazing Apple Carrot Raisin Challah Knots

Recipe: Amazing Apple Carrot Raisin Challah Knots

Amazing Apple Carrot Raisin Challah Knots

by Erin Fletter
Photo by Julia Liang B Nielsen/
prep time
40 minutes
cook time
20 minutes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Amazing Apple Carrot Raisin Challah Knots

Challah, pronounced HAH-lah, is a Jewish sabbath bread made with eggs and white flour and sometimes colored light gold with saffron. The bread is braided or twisted, glazed with beaten egg, and sprinkled with sesame or poppy seeds. Two loaves are served at each of the three sabbath meals to remember the double portion of manna that fell in the wilderness to provide food for the Israelites on the sixth day and the following sabbath day. For certain festivals (e.g., Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur), the challah may be rounded rather than braided and decorated with a dove wing or ladder made from surplus dough. When the challah is prepared, a small piece of dough is pinched off to be put in the oven and burned while the challah bakes as a symbolic offering for the priesthood. Indeed, the meaning of the word challah in biblical Hebrew is this bit of dough, "the priest's share." However you and your young chefs at home decide to shape your challah, you will be sure to have fun with this deliciously historic recipe! Shalom! (Peace, in Hebrew!)

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • crack :

    to break open or apart a food to get what's inside, like an egg or a coconut.

  • fold :

    to gently and slowly mix a light ingredient into a heavier ingredient so as not to lose air and to keep the mixture tender, such as incorporating whipped egg whites into a cake batter or folding blueberries into pancake batter; folding is a gentler action than mixing or whisking.

  • grate :

    to reduce food, like a carrot, to very small shreds or pieces of the same size by rubbing it on a tool with an outside surface that has holes with cutting edges (a grater).

  • separate eggs :

    to remove the egg yolk from the egg white by cracking an egg in the middle and using the shell halves, the palm of the hand, or a device to keep the egg yolk in place while the egg white falls into a separate bowl.

Equipment Checklist

  • Oven
  • Muffin pan
  • Small mixing bowls
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Handheld electric mixer
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
  • Grater
  • Skillet
  • Measuring spoons
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Whisk


Amazing Apple Carrot Raisin Challah Knots

  • 2 fresh eggs **(for EGG ALLERGY sub 2 T of chia seeds + 5 T of water—more info below)**
  • 2 Granny Smith apples
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 T butter, for cooking **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub vegetable oil)**
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 C raisins
  • 2 C all-purpose flour **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free/nut-free all-purpose flour)**
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 T sugar
  • 2 C buttermilk or milk + 1 squeeze of lemon or 1 tsp of vinegar **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub dairy-free/nut-free milk + lemon or vinegar)**
  • cooking spray, butter, or vegetable oil for greasing pan

Food Allergen Substitutions

Amazing Apple Carrot Raisin Challah Knots

  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute gluten-free/nut free all-purpose flour.
  • Dairy: Substitute vegetable oil for butter. For 2 C of buttermilk, substitute 2 C dairy-free/nut-free milk + 1 squeeze of lemon or 1 tsp of vinegar.
  • Eggs: For 2 eggs, soak 2 T of chia seeds in 5 T of warm water for 5 to 8 minutes. When using chia seeds, you need to stir almost constantly to prevent clumping.


Amazing Apple Carrot Raisin Challah Knots

crack + beat

Start with 2 eggs. Show kids how to crack and separate the egg whites from the egg yolks. Reserve the yolks to the side. In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites with your electric mixer until they can hold a stiff peak. Set aside.

slice + grate

Have kids slice and dice 2 apples—have them take off the skins and chop into small bits. Have kids grate 1 carrot. Sauté the apples and carrot in 2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat on the stove. Have kids measure out 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon of cardamom and add to the skillet. Sauté until the apples and carrots are soft and the spices are fragrant (about 3 to 5 minutes). Now, stir in 1/4 cup of raisins, and set to the side to cool.

mix + fold + bake

Grownups, preheat your oven to 350 F. Have the kids measure and mix together 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 2 cups of buttermilk. Add the reserved egg yolks into the buttermilk and flour mixture and beat with a whisk until smooth. Add the sautéed carrots and apples to the mixture. Have the kids gently fold in the egg whites into the batter. We like to let the batter sit for a few minutes at this point. This is a good time to get your muffin pan ready. Spray the muffin pan with cooking spray, or rub it down with butter or oil. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan—about 2 heaping spoonfuls each. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes or until cooked through. Serve with Pomegranate Juice Icing (see recipe)!

Surprise Ingredient: Apples!

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Photo by Bozhin Karaivanov on Unsplash

Hi! I'm Apple!

"I'm delighted to be part of your recipe! Not only does "an apple a day keep the doctor away," but I'm also versatile and delicious in both sweet and savory dishes, like pies, cakes, breads, salads, and casseroles, and added to vegetables and roasted meats. Not to brag, but I have a fabulous, round(ish) figure and come in several colors and varieties of sweet and tart flavors!"


  • Here's a story about the Granny Smith apple that is long but cute: In the year 1868, near Sydney, Australia, a grandma named Marie Smith had been testing different types of French crabapples for cooking, and she ended up throwing the used apple cores out her window as she worked. Granny Smith saw that a new apple tree (or cultivar) had sprung up below her kitchen windowsill. She cultivated the tree and found that the apples it produced were good for cooking and eating. They were tart, sweet, and crisp. Grandma Marie Smith took a stall at a farmer's market in Sydney, where her apples stored exceptionally well and became very popular. She sold her apples once a week and called them Granny Smith's Apples. Smart (and enterprising) fruit merchants in the 1890s and 1900s experimented with methods to transport the Granny Smith apples overseas in cold storage. Because of its excellent shelf life, they could export the Granny Smith apple long distances and most times of the year. Since growing fruit from the seeds of the Granny Smith apple produces trees with fruit that isn't as good as the original, grafting or cuttings are required instead. All Granny Smith apples grown today are from grafts of Grandma Marie Smith's original tree in Sydney.
  • Apple trees were domesticated thousands of years ago. A wild apple native to the mountains of southern Kazakhstan in Central Asia is considered the ancestor of most domestic apple varieties.
  • Worldwide, 7,500 varieties of apples are grown! If just 12 kids were growing that many, each of them would end up with 625 different kinds! 
  • Apples are victims of (or blessed by, depending on how you look at it) their own genetic creativity. An apple from a tree grown from a seed will be nothing like its parents. And because of this, historically, thousands upon thousands of varieties of apples have come into existence. Apples have evolved to adapt to all environments. They can be grown all over the world. Now, the number of apple varieties is much more narrow due to farming practices and consumers' desire for the "perfect red apple." The only way to ensure genetic repeats of apples is to "graft" the trees.
  • Grafting apple trees involves combining a bottom rootstock of one tree to the scion, or budding branch, of another tree to grow a new successful apple tree.

Anatomy & Etymology

  • Apples come in all shades of reds, greens, and yellows. They are members of the Rose family. Other members include strawberries, pears, plums, peaches, and raspberries.
  • Every spring, apple trees bloom or flower. At the bottom and inside each blossom is an ovule. Inside the ovule are the seeds that will eventually turn into an apple! It takes about 4 to 5 months from the time the blossoms are pollinated for the apples to be ready to pick.
  • New apple trees take four to five years to produce their first fruit!
  • A raw apple can contain 86 percent water! 
  • If you put an apple in water, do you think it will sink or float? It will float! That's because about 25 percent of an apple's volume is air. And that's why you can play a game of "bobbing for apples" at Halloween parties!
  • An apple tree can grow to more than forty feet and live over a hundred years!
  • A Japanese farmer picked the heaviest apple on record in 2005. It weighed 4.1 pounds! 
  • The word "apple" came from the Old English "æppel," which is Germanic in origin. Until the 17th century, "apple" could refer generically to any nut or fruit other than berries. 

How to Pick, Buy, & Eat

  • August marks the beginning of apple season. Apple season peaks in September—some of the most delicious apple varieties are available then: the Honeycrisp (our fave!), Cortland, Macintosh, and Gala. October apples are perfect for baking. 
  • Apples are picked by hand when it's time to harvest them. Choose apples that have smooth skin and are free from blemishes. They should feel heavy for their size and feel firm. Then, give it a sniff—fresh apples smell almost floral-like and super pleasant.
  • It is so fun to go to an orchard in the fall and pick apples for yourself. Of course, apples are available year-round in most grocery stores and are most affordable during the months when they're in season (August through October).
  • Farmers often use honeybees to pollinate apple trees.
  • You can eat apples in so many ways. Try dicing half an apple and adding it to a spinach salad with walnuts or pecans, red onion, and goat cheese. Stuff and bake them for a cozy autumn treat. You can juice, blend, or grind apples to make juice, cider, or smoothies. Slice, chop, or mash them and add them to a variety of apple treats: pie, strudel, cake, donuts, tortes, turnovers, dumplings, galettes, fritters, muffins, and crisps or crumbles. You can thinly slice and dehydrate apples to make chips or cook and mash them to make applesauce, adding a dash of cinnamon for extra flavor. Apple marries beautifully with a ton of different sweet AND savory foods like fennel, cheddar, caramel, cinnamon, butternut squash, rooibos, sauerkraut, and sausage.    


  • "An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away." This saying originated because people believed fruits were important to a nutritious diet. A 2015 study found that people who ate an apple a day took fewer prescriptions. 
  • Red Delicious and Fuji apples contain the most polyphenols, micronutrients found naturally in plants with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They can help prevent heart disease, control blood sugar, lower cancer risk, and help your immune system function properly. More polyphenols are found in an apple's peel than its flesh, so be sure to eat the peel, which will also add to your fiber intake!
  • Isn't it amazing to think that our bodies are hard at work keeping us strong and healthy while we go about our daily activities? Think of it: just now, your body is pumping blood through your veins and arteries, delivering nutrients to your cells to create energy, building proteins to protect you from getting sick, and so much more. That's why it's so important to eat nutritious foods, like apples!


History of Challah!

Photo by Monkey Business Images/
  • Challah (hallah) is a Jewish ceremonial bread, usually braided, eaten on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays, with a small piece set aside as an offering. The word "challah" and offering a portion of bread is biblical in origin. 
  • In the Middle Ages, Ashkenazi Jews adopted a particular European bread for their Sabbath. A braided version was first mentioned in the 15th century. 
  • Most traditional challah recipes use numerous eggs, fine white flour, water, sugar, yeast, and salt, but "water challah" is made without eggs and has a texture similar to French baguettes. Modern recipes may replace white flour with whole wheat, oat, or spelt flour and sugar with honey or molasses. 
  • Similar braided, egg-enriched breads are made in other traditions: the Eastern European "kalach," the Bulgarian "kozunak," the Czech and Slovak "vánočka," the Greek "tsoureki," the Turkish "choreg," and the Polish "chałka."  A similar bread from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland is called "Zopf."

Let's Learn About Ashkenazi Jews!

Photo by Drazen Zigic for Shutterstock
  • Ashkenazi Jews were exiled from their homeland and settled in Western Europe by the year 1000. By the 10th century, Jewish communities established themselves along the Rhine River in Southwestern Germany and Northeastern France, eventually migrating to Central and Eastern European countries as well.
  • The word "Ashkenazi" is a modern Hebrew word taken from Ashkenaz, the great-grandson of Noah in the Old Testament, and the term was identified with Germany in the Middle Ages.
  • The Ashkenazi Jews in these areas would eat local foods that were less expensive and that their neighbors rarely ate. These foods included challah bread, chopped chicken liver, brisket, artichokes, gefilte fish (carp or whitefish), lox (salmon), stuffed cabbage rolls, tzimmes (carrot and fruit stew), kreplach (dumpling), kishke (sausage), kugel (pudding or casserole), and knish (snack of fried dough with various fillings). 
  • Yiddish names for Ashkenazi girls include Golda, Yiddish for "gold," and Henya for "grace." Boy's names include Anshel, Yiddish for "joy and affirmation," and Velvel for "wolf." Which Ashkenazi name do you like best?

That's Berry Funny

How do you know carrots are good for your eyes? 

Well, have you ever seen a rabbit wearing glasses?

The Yolk's On You

Why did the Raisin take a Prune to the dance?

Because he couldn't find a Date!

That's Berry Funny

What did the apple tree say to the hungry caterpillar? 

"Leaf me alone!"

THYME for a Laugh

Once a month, a newsletter about dried fruit is published.

On those dates it is raisin awareness of currant events!

The Yolk's On You

What did the butter say to the bread? 

"I'm on a roll!'

THYME for a Laugh

What did the carrot say to the rabbit? 

"Do you want to grab a bite?"

THYME for a Laugh

Why did the apple cry? 

Its peelings were hurt!

That's Berry Funny

I'm gonna start telling people the benefits of eating dried grapes.

It's all about "raisin" awareness!

Lettuce Joke Around

What did the rabbit say to the carrot? 

"It’s been nice gnawing you!"

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