Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Cinnamon Wreath #bread #recipe from author @DarylWoodGerber

From Daryl

When I was writing Wreath Between the Lines, I researched all sorts of wreath-like foods. I mean, I had to, right? I'd put the word in the title and the titles (starting with the 3rd book on) always have something to do with food as well as books.  Stirring the Plot, Fudging the Books, Grilling the Subject, Pressing the Issue...

At first, I'd come up with wreath-shaped cookies --  that was all I could think of -- but then as I dug deeper, I found tons of wreath-shaped foods. Appetizers, cheese wreaths, etc. FYI, there are plenty of Christmas-y foods. No problem there. I share a lot of those in the book.

Then I recalled enjoying a wreath-shaped bread for Christmas -- back when I could eat gluten. I think it was a braid. So I searched for it and stumbled upon this one.

Now because I need to eat gluten-free, I couldn't really taste test this recipe. Gluten-free isn't very good for dough that needs to rise. So I relied on my previous knowledge of bread baking. I used to bake bread all the time...and loved doing so. Kneading is cathartic.  But when I was diagnosed as celiac...sigh.

Luckily, I had a number of people who were more than willing to help me taste test this one. Yum!

I tweaked the recipe I'd found, as I always do, because some things just need tweaking. What was fun about making it was learning how to snip dough. When you do, it doesn't fall apart.

Have fun and stuff this bread with whatever spice or nut or other goodie your heart desires. I bet it would be wonderful with diced apples.

Last tidbit -- if you didn't know, sometimes  characters in the books give tips about the recipes they share, so I'm going to include one of those tips today. Katie is the chef at the Nook Cafe; she is quite knowledgeable when it comes to the finishing touches.
From Katie:

I love this bread. It’s so soft and it’s beautiful to serve. You might want to use a piping tool to add the icing. It’s a lovely bread all by itself, but if you serve it warm, your guests might like it served with butter or even apple butter.  My one tip: use the parchment paper to roll out the dough, and use a sizeable cutting board or even your kitchen counter to do the rolling so you can get the most even rectangle you can muster.

Christmas wreath with PECANS

(Serves 12-16)

2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (110° to 115°)
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg
3/4 teaspoon salt
4-1/2 to 5-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon water
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. (You can use a candy thermometer to gauge the temperature). Add the melted butter, milk powder, brown sugar, egg, salt, and 4 cups of flour. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft but not “runny” dough. If it’s too runny, you won’t be able to knead it. 

Turn onto a well-floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.

Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. 

Punch dough down. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a large rectangle, 18-inch x 12-inch. I like to cover with parchment paper so the rolling pin doesn’t stick. The rectangle might not be perfectly even. That’s okay. Brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with chopped pecans and cinnamon, leaving 1/2 inch of edge free.

Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with the long side. Pinch the seam to seal. 

Again, I like to use parchment paper to pick up the roll so it doesn’t smoosh.  Place the roll, seam side down, on a greased baking sheet. Form a ring and pinch the ends together. (Tip: if you want, you can decorate this section with a bow before serving.) Using kitchen shears, snip the dough from the outside edge to about two-thirds of the way toward the center of ring. Yes, the whole dough, not just the top.  Do this every inch. Then separate the sections slightly and twist the dough to let the filling show. It’s amazing how elastic dough is!

Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes. The ring should be golden brown. Remove from oven.

To make the icing, combine confectioners' sugar, water and extract. Drizzle over the warm bread.  Serve warm.




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  1. This would be wonderful for Christmas morning! Thank you for the recipe.

  2. The recipe for CHRISTMAS WREATH WITH PECANS sounds wonderful. I think I can even smell it as I read the recipe. Hubby and I love to bake and this sounds like a great reason to hit the kitchen.

    Can't wait for the opportunity to read "Wreath Between the Lines"!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  3. I love cinnamon bread, especially with pecans. And yours looks so pretty and festive! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  4. I would be so proud to present something like this bread wreath. Thanks for doing the work to show us the steps and to share the recipe!

    1. Lil, I have to say I love making bread. So fun. ~ Daryl

  5. Beautiful!
    I love to bake bread. You are right, kneading dough is a wonderful meditation.
    The snipping adds a very pretty touch.

    1. Thanks, Libby. It was such a nice challenge. ~ Daryl

  6. This looks so good! I'm afraid it is beyond my baking skills though.

    1. I'm going to have Jenna try it. One step at a time. :) ~ Daryl

  7. Any time you put cinnamon and dough together you get taste magic. I have made several types of edible wreaths over the years, but I think the one that surprised people the most was a veggie wreath made of broccoli florets with grape tomatoes for holly berries, a bow made from red pepper pieces, and a bowl of creamy dip in the center.

    1. Yes, edible wreaths like that are so much fun. ~ Daryl