Easter Breakfast Wreath

I’m commiting this to keypad partly for all the people who’ve asked me for the recipe, but mostly to save myself from having to rifle through countless ratty pieces of refill paper looking for it twice a year!

I’ve been making this wreath for breakfast on Good Friday and Christmas Mornings for a few years now after finding the recipe somewhere in the ether that is the Internet; every attempt I’ve ever made at Hot Crossed Buns has ended in complete failure and more than a few tears so the spices and zest in this bread makes a great substitute in my mind. I would make it more often (I could eat it every day, in fact, it’s almost the only thing I did eat today!) but I think it’s so important to add your own family traditions to holidays as well as following the ones you grew up with. If I made it every week it wouldn’t be our special holiday “thing”. We were never a champagne breakfast family growing up, and it seems a waste of good ham/trifle space to have a cooked breakfast on Christmas morning, but a bowl of cocoa pops or a couple of pieces of toast just didn’t seem very special. Hence, one of the traditions I’ve started for my family is the Breakfast Brioche Wreath.

It’s hot. It’s sweet. It’ll take as much butter as you can lather onto it. It would be my Death Row breakfast for sure. The fact that it can be made the night before and left for the second rise overnight in the fridge makes it even sweeter; Christmas morning rolls around and before you can say “Can I just make a coffee before you start ripping into your presents/Please stay still so I can take a photo/No, that one has your brother’s name on it . . . oh never mind”, your house is filled with the heavenly scent of freshly baked bread and you’re all but tearing hunks off with our bare hands. Well, I am!

It’s Good Friday Night here at the moment, you still have heaps of time to get everything together for your own wreath for Easter Sunday. Go on, you won’t regret it.*

Christmas/Easter Breakfast Wreath

DOUGH

2 1/4 tspn yeast

1/4 cup warm water

1/2 cup warm milk

3 tbspn sugar

1/4 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 tspn salt

cinnamon and nutmeg, to taste (I do a combo of about a tablespoon all up)

2 eggs

Zest of a lemon and/or an orange – you can use mixed peel if you like (I don’t like), and as with the spices, put as much or as little as you prefer

3 1/2 cups plain flour

FILLING

3/4 cup dries cranberries/sultanas, soaked

6 tbspns butter, softened

1/3 cup plain flour

3/4 cup blanched almonds, roughly chopped

3 tbspns sugar

1 tspn lemon rind

GLAZE

1/2 cup water

3 tbspns castor sugar

Dissolve yeast in water. Blend the milk, sugar, butter, salt, spices, eggs and lemon in a large bowl, and add yeast mixture.

Stir in 2 cups of the flour, one at a time (the easiest way is with a dough hook attachment on your hand or bowl mixer, but you can do it with a good old spoon), beat for two minutes. Add the remaining flour a little at a time until the dough is workable.

Knead until smooth (5-10 mins), place in an oiled bowl, cover and leave in a warm place to rise to twice the size (about 1 1/2 hours)

To make the filling, drain the fruit, combine with all other ingredients, cover and refrigerate.

Punch down the risen dough, knead lightly and roll into a rectangle approx 50cm long and 5mm thick. Crumble the filling over the dough, coming to 1 inch away from the edges. Roll up from the long side and pinch the edge to seal.

This is the tricky bit – unfortunately I didn’t take any process photos so stay with me! With a sharp knife, cut the dough in half lengthwise and turn each half cut-side-up, so that you have the halves lying side by side. Carefully lift the halves over each other one at a time to create a twisted look, then curve the twisted dough into a circular shape. Transfer onto a greased and floured tray. at this point you can either proove it again for 45mins then bake, or pop it into the fridge overnight until it has risen again. Ha, ha. (That’s a terrible joke, sorry.)

Either way, when you’re ready, bake at 180C for 25mins. Make the glaze by dissolving the sugar in the water in a small saucepan and boil until it has reduced enough to form a syrupy consistency. Brush hot glaze over the hot wreath and then sit on your hands until it’s cooled down enough to eat.

Serve in slices with plenty of butter and hot coffee. It makes a lovely present for friends and neighbours, if you can bear to part with it that is!!

 

Sweet, spicy, buttery, caffeiny heaven.

Sweet, spicy, buttery, caffeiny heaven.

 

 

*actually, your waist may regret it. You’ve been warned.

Advertisements

I love a good fast bake.

mega cookie, ready to be divided and devoured

And by fast, I mean it all comes together in the time it takes for one boy to be bathed by his father. That’s making, baking, and doing the dishes, all in under 15 minutes! (Sometimes I even have to wait around for the oven to get up to temp they’re that speedy!) Introducing the wonder that is The Kitchen Sink Cookie.

Secondary to its brilliance as a quick bake is the fact that you can use up pretty much anything you have left over from other baking experiments; a handful of almonds, those mini marshmallows you found at the back of the pantry last week, dried fruits if you’re feeling virtuous (I wasn’t). Throw in anything you have, but the kitchen sink. So I guess they should really be called Everything But the Kitchen Sink Cookies. Anyway the point is that there should be juuuuust enough biscuit to hold all the gooey, melty, chewy, exciting bits together. My kind of biscuit. Tonight I’ve opted for peanuts, dark chocolate chips and white chocolate buttons. Other popular permutations have included:

  • White chocolate, pistachio and craisin
  • Mini marshmallow, bittersweet chocolate and caramel bits
  • Almond, coconut and milk chocolate chunks

The sky – or your pantry -is the limit.

the only thing better than cookie is cookie dough!!

KITCHEN SINK COOKIES (makes about a dozen ginormous ones)

1 cup + 2 tbspn plain flour

3/4 tspn baking soda

1/2 tspn salt

115g butter, softened

1/2 cup soft brown sugar

6 tbspn white sugar

1 egg

1 tspn vanilla extract

2 or 3 cups of good bits – chocolate, fruit, nuts etc. Feel free to really go to town, the more the merrier.

Preheat oven to 180 C. Cream butter and sugars, add egg and vanilla. Sift in flour, salt and baking soda, stir to combine and mix in your yummies. Place dessertspoonfuls onto baking trays (they do spread quite a bit), bake for 10-15 minutes. My oven takes 12 minutes on fan bake, then I like to cool them on the tray. Handy hint: cooling them on the tray makes biscuits crunchy. If you prefer soft and chewy, transfer your biscuits to a rack after you’ve cooled them about five minutes.

I found this recipe on one of my favourite blogs, Cookie Madness. Here is the original recipe, but BEWARE – if you’re a baker, prepare to be a) hooked, and b) occasionally annoyed by the mention of way-cool American treats that we’ve neither seen or heard of in little old Noo Zillund.

Usually the Friday night before a market is reserved for running around getting last minute things finished and organised, but tomorrow is a late start and I’m uncharacteristically ahead of myself in prep, so I decided that it might be nice to have some cookies on hand for quiet moments and to share with my neighbours at Crafternoon Tea. After all, nowhere is karma more evident than at a market where word of mouth and a bit of hype will get you everywhere. Auckland peeps you can check out the wonder that is Crafternoon Tea here. If you’re there early I might even have some left to share with you!

 

j xx