Monday, December 22, 2008

Wreathed In Bread

This month I have the honor and privilege of being the host kitchen for this month's bread baking adventure with the intrepid Bread Baking Babes. When I found out I was assigned to December I knew immediately what I wanted to do - a wreath. The recipe I chose has a sweet, almond filling, but I know that not everyone tilts toward sweet on the sweet/ savory scale, so I gave the Babes free reign to do whatever they wanted in terms of dough and filling, so long as it was in the shape of a wreath. I made the recipe as I found it in the cookbook, but be sure to check out what all the other fabulous Babes have made (their websites are on the side bar). Their creativity knows no bounds!

And if you are inspired to make a wreath for your own celebration, make one, post it and send me a link by the 31st (as lynncraigATcomcastDOTnet) and I will send you a Baking Buddy badge to proudly display on your website.

Yule Wreath
- adapted from Betty Crocker's International Cookbook

1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 deg. F)
3/4 cup lukewarm milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp salt
3-1/4 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Almond Filling (below)*
Glaze (also below)

1-Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl. Stir in milk, sugar, butter, egg, cardamom, salt and 2 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.

2-Turn dough onto lightly floured surface: knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl; trun greased side up. Cover and let rise in warm place until double, 1 to 1-1/2 hours.

3-Prepare Almond Filling-

Mix together until smooth:
1/2 cup almond paste
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup softened butter

4- Punch down the dough. Roll into rectangle, 15 x 9-inches, on a lightly floured surface. Spread with the filling to within 1/4-inch of the edges. (I don't think my butter was soft enough as my filling didn't spread. I took bits of it, flattened it between my fingers and pressed that onto the dough.) Roll up tightly, beginning at the wide side. Pinch edge of dough into roll to seal well. Stretch roll to make even. With sealed edge down, shape into ring on lightly greased cookie sheet. Pinch ends together.

5- With scissors or kitchen shears, make cuts 2/3 of the way through the ring at 1-inch intervals. Turn each section on it's side (90 degree turn), to show off the pretty swirled filling. Cover loosely with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray. Let rise until double, about 40 to 50 minutes.

6- Heat oven to 350 deg. F. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. (If it browns too quickly, cover loosely with aluminum foil.)

7 - Make Glaze-
Mix until smooth:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp water
1/2 tsp vanilla
(add additional water 1/2 tsp at a time, if necessary)

8- Spread Glaze over the wreath. You can decorate your wreath with nuts, dried fruit, marzipan fruit, or whatever strikes your fancy.

* If almond paste is not available, or if you fall down in the aisle at the grocery store when you see the price, you can make your own. In a food processor finely grind 8 oz blanched almonds. Process in 8 oz powdered sugar. Then knead in 1 egg white. Store in the refrigerator.

So, there you have it. A lovely, tasty, festive wreath!


LizNoVeggieGirl said...

Hooray for being the host and hooray for a GORGEOUS festive wreath!! :-)

Wishing you an early Merry Christmas, Lynn!!

Lien said...

Thanks Lynn for this lovely versatile recipe, it's so festive and we enjoyed every single one I made!! Have a fantastic holiday season!!!

Gretchen Noelle said...

Lovely idea for December. Now, what to fill it with??

Anonymous said...

Can I post mine after Christmas? This is our traditional Christmas cake and it is fabulous!

If you're stuck in the snow and can't get out for almond paste, here is a good recipe:

Almond Paste
House & Garden | December 1998
Yield: Makes approximately 1 pound

1 1/2 cups whole blanched almonds
1 2/3 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup egg whites

In a food processor, grind the almonds into a fine powder, approximately 2 minutes. Add the confectioners sugar and blend well. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and with a wooden spoon blend in the egg whites until smooth. On a flat surface lightly dusted with confectioners sugar, roll out the almond paste into a 14" long x 1" round log. Wrap in parchment paper and refrigerate for 1 hour.

When rested, cut the log in two. On a smooth clean surface, roll out each piece to double its length, approximately 20 inches. Flatten each roll with your fingertips. Using a knife or a metal spatula, score the tops of the logs with crisscross marks. Coil each log and place on a serving plate. Refrigerate until ready to serve. You can store in a closed container in the refrigerator for one week.

Sara said...

So pretty! I love the decorations. Thanks for choosing this fun recipe. Happy Holidays!

Johanna B said...

Wow, this is really beautiful presentation. Merry Christmas to you and your lucky family (to be eating all these goodies).

Engineer Baker said...

That looks fabulous! I hope you'll give us a little more than 5 days to join in though - I'd love to make this, but I won't be back home from holiday visiting in time to make it by the 27th.

Heather said...

this is just lovely! very festive!

Eva said...

How very festive! The only bad thing is that I can't bake all your lovely things - two people can only eat so much...

Aimée said...

So beautiful, Lynn! I'm thinking new year brunch! Great idea for a theme--you don't often see wreaths intended for eating!

eatme_delicious said...

I love the look of this bread wreath! Looks really delicious too.

Ilva said...

such a great recipe, you already know how well received it was here in this house, i'm making another one tomorrow and soon i will try a savoury one! Thanks Lynn for this challenge!

Monique said...

Thanks for hosting and bringing this one up , Lynn.
It was so fun to do : Almost no effort and a stunning result. And I can think of a million things to make a filling .....

Anonymous said...

WOW! this sure looks very festive with the little ornaments on top. Great Idea!

Thanks for this recipe. I am aching to give it a try.

LyB said...

It is so beautiful and festive! I've never attempted a bread shaped like a wreath before, it always looked so complicated. It looks really delicious, the filling recipe is calling my name! :)

Sara said...

This looks beautiful, I love the decorations on top. I have a weakness for anything with marzipan or almond paste!

CookiePie said...

That looks beautiful and so festive! Happy holidays!!

Maria said...

Great choice! The wreath looks delicious! Very special for the holidays!

breadchick said...

I loved this month's bread and I can't thank you enough for being our Host Kitchen. The wreath was fantastic and is sure to be a mainstay in my kitchen for years to come.

Katrina said...

Yum and beautiful!
Happy Holidays!
I'm having a giveaway on my blog if you want to check it out!

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas sweet friend! Your wreath is so pretty. Love it!

Peabody said...

It's truly stunning...and festive. Great pick!
Have a very Merry Christmas Lynn!

Sandra said...

Just wanted to stop by and say
Merry Christmas!

Karen Baking Soda said...

I made another one yesterday Lynn! This was a fun recipe, thanks

Judy said...

This was a big hit yesterday morning. I believe it will become part of our holiday tradition.

Gigi said...

Beautiful wreath! I love how you decorated the top of it ...very festive! Happy New Year!

Big Boys Oven said...

we wanna wish you a good jolly New Year and have a great 2009! we miss reading you too..... Sunny & Sidney

RecipeGirl said...

It's so beautiful! Next year I would love to make this. Hope you had a wonderful holiday and Happy New Year's to you too!

Navita (Gupta) Hakim said...

Gosh I love the bread n the lovely wreath form.

First time here. Stopped by to say hi and to invite u over at my lil place too. New to blogosphere...making frends along the way :)

Marysol said...

Best Wishes for a Very Yummy Christmas and Happy New Year.

Lynn, the Almond wreath is a knockout. And anything with almond paste and cardamom-mmm is always a winner in my eyes.

Navita (Gupta) Hakim said...

Yes Lynn, jaggery is a kind of sweetner. Its different from sugar in the fact that it is unrefined. It takes its sweetness from dates (very close to palm sugar)...close to molasses.
Hope this helped. It is found in cube forms and when heated melts like chocolate and is sticky n viscous.

jenianddean said...

Wow! That looks good, and I'm OK with the sweets. We'll have to try this.

Anonymous said...

I made it! I made it!
And I really loved both versions, the savory and the sweet one!

Hallie Fae said...

Wow, I'm impressed.

test it comm said...

That wreath bread looks great!

Happy new year!