Monthly Archives: November 2017

  • Braided Cardamom and Chocolate Hazelnut Bread

Braided Cardamom and Chocolate Hazelnut Bread

Posted on November 30, 2017

This post was originally published here on December 19, 2014. I’ve since updated the photographs and text. Please let me know if you try it out for the Holidays!

I think I’ve finally recovered enough from my post-Thanksgiving sluggish-ness (i.e. excessive pie and wine) to get started on some Christmas baking endeavors. Are you with me?

I sure hope so. Because today I’m bringing back an old favorite from way back in the day (circa 2014, which is like an eternity in the blog-o-sphere): my Braided Cardamom and Chocolate Hazelnut Bread.

Braided Cardamom and Chocolate Hazelnut Bread | www.floatingkitchen.net

I still remember the first time I ever made this recipe. Because as soon as I pulled it out of the oven, I immediately snapped a photo of the finished product and sent it to my Mom with the caption “Look! I made something pretty!”. I was so stupidly proud of how beautiful the bread turned out, that I just had to share that moment with someone. And my Mom was the obvious choice. Because really, who else can we brag to about all our accomplishments, even if they seem silly and insignificant?

In my eyes, however, this Braided Cardamom and Chocolate Hazelnut Bread was a masterpiece of epic proportions. Luckily, my Mom agreed with me.

Braided Cardamom and Chocolate Hazelnut Bread | www.floatingkitchen.net

Since that fateful day, I’ve made several other versions of this sweet, yeasted bread. The base recipe never fails to rise and bake up perfectly. And it’s show stopping presentation is one that always has my family and friends ooh-ing and aah-ing. It’s perfect for a special occasion, like Christmas brunch. Or for any weekend morning when you have a few hours of extra time on your hands. I love waking up early on a cold Winter morning to start the dough rising while I enjoy my first cup(s) of coffee. Nothing fills my kitchen with warmth and happiness like fresh, homemade baked goods.

Please don’t be intimated by the braiding part (steps 10 and 11 in the recipe instructions). It’s really not that complicated. And it doesn’t have to be perfect, either. The different sized swoops and swirls is what I think makes this bread feel so inviting and homey. It’s perfectly imperfect in all the best ways!

Cheers,

Liz

Recipe adapted from my Pecan Sticky Buns

Braided Cardamom and Chocolate Hazelnut Bread

Serves about 8

Braided Cardamom and Chocolate Hazelnut Bread

Ingredients

  • For the Dough
  • 3 - 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1 package (2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

  • For the Filling
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate-hazelnut spread (like Nutella)
  • Finely grated zest from 1 orange

  • For the Glaze
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
  • About 2 tablespoons orange juice

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk together 2 cups of the flour, the sugar, salt, ground cardamom and yeast. Switch to the dough hook attachment.
  2. Warm the milk to 120-130 degrees Fahrenheit. Add the butter and let it soften in the warmed milk. It doesn't have to melt completely, you just want it to be very soft. Then add this mixture along with the beaten egg to the dry ingredients. Beat on medium speed for 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Once the mixture is well combined, start slowly adding in more flour, about 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough is soft, easy to handle and easily leaves the side of the bowl. You'll need anywhere between 1 to 1 1/4 cups flour.
  3. Mix the dough on low-medium speed for about 5 minutes, pulling the dough down off the hook as needed. The dough should be smooth and elastic. Alternatively, you can knead the dough by hand on a lightly floured countertop for about 5 minutes.
  4. Gather up the dough with your hands and shape it into a ball. Transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl, turning the dough to coat it with a thin layer of oil on all sides. Then cover the bowl loosely with a thin kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until roughly doubled in size.
  5. Once the dough has risen, gently punch it down to deflate it. Remove it from the bowl and transfer it to a floured countertop. Then shape it with your hands into a rectangle. Next, use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a 24 X 12-inch rectangle. This will take a little bit of time, because the dough can be fairly elastic and "springy" at first. If it's bouncing back too much, let the dough rest for a few minutes, then try rolling it out again.
  6. Once the dough is rolled out, make the filling. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cardamom and set it aside. In a separate microwave safe bowl, microwave the butter and chocolate-hazelnut spread for 20-30 seconds, or until the two are just soft enough to be well combined.
  7. Spread the softened butter/chocolate-hazelnut mixture out in a thin layer evenly over the surface of the dough, leaving about a 1/2-inch boarder around the edges. Then sprinkle the sugar/cardamom mixture evenly over the top. Finally, top with the orange zest.
  8. Beginning at one of the long edges of your rectangle, tightly roll up the dough into a log. Then pinch the edges of the dough together to seal the log as best you can.
  9. Spray a baking sheet and the ring of a 9- to 10-inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray and set them both aside.
  10. Using a sharp knife, slice the roll lengthwise, creating two equal sized long halves, but leaving one end still attached by about 3/4-inch at the very end. Slightly rotate the halves outwards so the layers are facing upwards. Then starting from the end that is still attached, cross the two halves over each other. Continue doing this until you end up with a single twisted/braided rope. Pinch together the end of the rope.
  11. Gently slide the rope onto your greased baking sheet. Starting with one end, spiral the rope into a closed circle. The circle doesn’t have to be tight, because the bread will rise and puff up as it bakes, filling in any small spaces. But it shouldn’t have a large hole in the center, either (think about making a shape that resembles a snail shell, not a wreath). Tuck the very end of the rope under the circle so it doesn't stick out.
  12. Place the ring of your springform pan over/around the dough circle to contain it. Then cover loosely with a thin kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  13. Meanwhile, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Position an oven rack in the middle position.
  14. Remove the kitchen towel from the dough, but leave the springform pan in place. Transfer the baking sheet to your pre-heated oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and puffed. Then remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow the bread to cool for 10-15 minutes before carefully sliding it off onto a wire rack to continue cooling.
  15. While the bread cools, whisk together all of the ingredients for the glaze. Then drizzle the glaze over the bread before slicing and serving.
  16. This bread is best when it's enjoyed the day it's made. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for about 2 days, and re-warmed slightly before eating.
https://www.floatingkitchen.net/braided-cardamom-and-chocolate-hazelnut-bread/

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  • Autumn Harvest Panzanella Salad with Pumpkin Bread

Autumn Harvest Panzanella Salad with Pumpkin Bread

Posted on November 27, 2017

How’s your salad game these days?

I’m going to brag here for a second: mine has been pretty epically awesome.

This is partly because I just love getting my creative juices flowing when it comes to assembling salads. But also, it was of the utmost importance that my salads be on point the last few days. Because holy shit, did I overdo it on Thanksgiving (and in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, if I’m being completely honest with myself). By the time the Holiday was over, the combination of excess eating, drinking and stress had me run down in a way that I hadn’t felt in a long time.

So it’s been salads, water, rest and exercise. On repeat. Until I have to ramp things up again for Christmas madness.

Autumn Harvest Panzanella Salad with Pumpkin Bread | www.floatingkitchen.net

The idea for this Autumn Harvest Panzanella Salad with Pumpkin Bread came to me in the shower (I always get the best ideas in the shower!) about two weeks ago. I was struggling to come up with a new Fall/Winter salad combination. And then BOOM! The idea hit me like a ton of bricks: make a panzanella salad with pumpkin quick bread instead of regular bread.

At first I didn’t know if that would be totally weird. Would pumpkin quick bread be too sweet? Or not hold up as well against the dressing? But it totally works. And I just love the combination of flavors and textures that this salad provides. It’s anything but boring. And I really digging the seasonally appropriate nature of this recipe, too. Panzanella salads aren’t just for Summer anymore, friends!

Autumn Harvest Panzanella Salad with Pumpkin Bread | www.floatingkitchen.net

I used leftover pumpkin quick bread that I had from the grocery store (yes, I didn’t even bother making my own). But you can bake up a loaf of your favorite recipe. Or buy a loaf from your local bakery. It’s all good. Since quick breads are generally moister than regular breads, just toast the pumpkin bread cubes in your oven (sans olive oil) for a few minutes until they dry out a bit. This will help the bread from getting overly soggy in your salad.

As with most salads, you can totally do your own thing if you want to switch up some of the ingredients. Carrots instead of parsnips totally works. Broccoli instead of brussels sprouts is spot on. And maybe try pears instead of apples. Go wild and have fun with it!

Cheers,

Liz

Autumn Harvest Panzanella Salad with Pumpkin Bread

Serves 4

Autumn Harvest Panzanella Salad with Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients

  • For the Salad
  • 2 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
  • 2 cups peeled and sliced parsnips
  • 2 cups trimmed and halved brussels sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 4 cups cubed pumpkin bread
  • About 8-10 cups mixed greens
  • 2 medium apples, cored and sliced
  • Fresh cranberries, halved
  • Sharp cheddar cheese, crumbled

  • For the Dressing
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Spread the butternut squash, parsnips and brussels sprouts out into a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the salt and black pepper. Transfer the baking sheet to your pre-heated oven and roast for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened. Remove and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, spread the pumpkin bread cubes out onto a large rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in your pre-heated oven for 15 minutes, or until dry to the touch. Remove and set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing.
  5. Add the greens to a large bowl and toss with some of the dressing until well coated. You probably won’t use all the dressing. Any leftovers can be stored in your refrigerator for several days. Add the roasted vegetables and pumpkin bread cubes, tossing gently to combine. Then divide the salad between 4 serving bowls. Top with apple slices, fresh cranberries and crumbled cheddar cheese. Serve immediately.
https://www.floatingkitchen.net/autumn-harvest-panzanella-salad-with-pumpkin-bread/

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