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Dec 16, 2011

Blizzard Bread

I'm dreaming, of a white Christmas ... I think I overdid the "snow" bit, didn't I? An appropriate name then, "Blizzard". I'm submitting this to the White Christmas Challenge by Very Good Recipes. They can't complain about this being not white enough. Heh. I learnt of the challenge from Veronica of Quay Po Cooks. She's one of the judges (woohoo!) and this is the site's very first recipe challenge. Check them out.

There's so much I wanted to say about this post. So many ideas were going on in my head, so many recipes going on in this bread. Too many ideas spoil the recipe ... not in this case. Nope. Not at all.

Talk about being snowed under with too many ideas. It would be very difficult for me to thank or to link to any single person or blog for the bread. So, here's a great big THANK YOU to everyone who have made anything from the list of inspirations below and for allowing me to massacre your recipes and for not biting my head off (yet).

The main feature here is actually the Spiced Chocolate Banana Jam that's been snowed under and in between the layers and rightfully inspired by Chef in Disguise, with a few teeny changes. I've been wanting to make and share this for awhile now but have been delayed for trying to think of a different way, other than featuring it in the usual "in a bowl" / "spooned" shot.

Then there was a spate of cinnamon rolls posts ...

Then a whole lot of Povitica posts ...

Then the Christmas mood kinda crept up on me and I'd wanted to make something "wreathy" like last year's Christmas Bread ...

Then the White Christmas Challenge came along ...

Then you know what happened.

I'd used my trusty bread machine to knead this Vanilla Sour Cream Bread dough. The bread portion here is enough to make two 12" wreaths. Feel free to turn it into one giant-sized one. I would if I could but I didn't have a pan large enough.



1/2 cup water
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup sour cream
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tbs butter, softened
3 cups bread flour / high protein flour
3 tbs sugar
1 1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp quick active dry yeast

Decoration options:

powdered sugar
almond flakes


Dump everything (except the decoration options) into the bread machine bin in the order they are listed.
Select 'dough' cycle.
Go check facebook for weird comments.
Twiddle your thumbs.
When machine beeps and dough is ready, remove from bin and thwack it around a little to remove the air bubbles.
Divide into 2 blobs. Roll out one portion of the dough into a rectangle, measuring about 9" X 16" or larger or shorter, no big deal.
Spread prepared Spiced Chocolate Banana Jam in a thin layer leaving the edges clean.
(Note: It's important not to get too carried away putting on too much jam coz it'll all ooze out when baking .... spoken from experience)
Roll as you would a swiss roll, pinch the edges together to seal.
Using a very sharp knife, cut lengthwise down the middle, leaving about half an inch intact at the end.
(This part gets a little messy, especially if you were heavy handed with the jam).
Plait the 2 strands one over the other and then coil it into a wreath, pinching the ends together.
Leave to proof in a warm place for about an hour or until almost doubled it's size.
(Do the same with the other blob of dough or you can always just leave it as a plain vanilla bread. It's heavenly!)
Sprinkle with almond flakes if using. (I forgot).
Bake in a 180˚C oven for 10 mins, tent with some foil and then bake another 10 - 15 mins.
(I'm not saying "until golden brown" as it looks reeeaaally brown due to the chocolate).
Cool on rack completely before dusting with powdered sugar.

(This can be made days ahead. Keeps well in the fridge)


3 large ripe bananas
3/4 cup sugar
3 tbs orange juice
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
few drops almond extract
100 g dark chocolate, chopped
1 tbs ground almonds


Plonk bananas, sugar, orange juice and spices into a food processor.
Buzz until a smooth consistency.
Pour into a pan and cook over medium heat for about 10 mins.
Mix into chopped chocolate and whisk until smooth.
Add vanilla, almond extract and ground almonds.
Leave to cool before bottling and refrigerating.
Keeps for about 3 weeks.


  1. Interesting bread that uses sour cream. Unfortunately I cannot make it since I don’t know how to twiddle my thumbs! Seems to be a key component of the recipe! Spiced chocolate banana jam is another interesting idea. I will try this.
    Putting together a collection of different recipes has produced quite an interesting bread.
    Dreaming of white Christmas – not sure if I call this interesting, more wishful thinking. Even in Sweden there may not be white Christmas this year, 50/50 chance. White Christmas in KL this year – not impossible but less than 50/50 chance I think. No harm dreaming big though:)
    Will the jam really keep for 3 weeks? I will ask you after 3 weeks, actually I will ask you after a few days:)
    Have a nice weekend

  2. Your Blizzard Bread looks gorgeous and very Christmasy! I observe here another proof of your love for amazing, complicated, rather circular baked food forms.
    The chocolate banana jam must be a pure delight on its own (I don't think it would stay three weeks in my fridge).
    The presentation is worth a famous chef's cookery book. Congratulations!

  3. Well, that's possibly the most festive bread I've seen so far this year. We're unlikely to see any blizzards in this part of Turkey so I'm making the most of enjoying people's photos to put me in the festive spirit. :)

  4. Mmmm, this sounds very Christmassy and indulgent. Love the final result in the photo. Very festive with the snow.

  5. I love that you're snowed under with so many ideas. This bread of yours looks heavenly underneath that blanket - LoL! Beautiful shape and list of ingredients. What a stunning photo!

  6. 3Cookies: LOL!! Well, you can always twiddle your toes, that'll leave your thumbs and fingers free to make this. And before you can ask me ... jam's all gone. You know me too well. No white Christmas even in Sweden?! The weather's going bonkers. Who knows, maybe it might even start snowing here. It happened once before ... some flurry of snow, some weird phenomena. Not even enough to cover my bread.

    Sissi: Thank you! I hadn't noticed that ... really? I must change to triangular bread loaves next time :D Yes, the jam was very good on its own but I prefer it with a savory cracker since I don't have a sweet tooth. You think it'll go with kimchi? ;)

    Julia: Thanks! Yeah, I'd got the inspiration from a whole bunch of people too. Dangerously close to Christmas to not be in the spirit of things.

    abitofbudu: Thank you!

    Jill Colona: Hi Jill. Thank you so much. Haha! I couldn't decide what I wanted to do for awhile. Glad this turned out well.

  7. Hi Ping, I have just made some wreath bread yesterday, one plain and one sweet one. Yours look so pretty and snowy! I like the jam you put in!

  8. Oh my heavens that is beautiful!! Looks like a sure challenge winner to me!

  9. A stunning holiday bread wreath! Thumbs up for you.

  10. Veronica's Kitchen: Thank you, Veronica. I was looking for your wreath breads on your blog and didn't see any. I would have loved to see them. I'm sure they were beautifully made. I love looking at wreath breads, don't know why, probably puts me into a festive mood.

    Jen: Gosh, I really hope so. Thanks so much!

    Angie's Recipes: Thanks, Angie! Actually, you're one of the many folks who've inspired this. Happy Holidays!

  11. You are great Ping! I love it! Gotta love those bread machines for doing the hard work for us...especially if you don't have a stand mixer! What a wonderful must be a true foodie :) hehe! Looks like a winner to me!

  12. Oh Ping, the bread looks so good - such a pretty pattern/design too! I don't think you overdid the "snow" - I think it looks beautiful like that to be honest. I tried dusting on some sugar on something on the weekend. The balcony door was open at the time and a wind was blowing hard. I kept shaking and shaking and then realised that I'd been giving the kitchen rug a liberal sprinkling of sugar :D

  13. First time I came across a bread that uses sour cream, sounds interesting. Btw, your bread look lovely, I doubt I can twist the dough until it look so pretty :p

  14. Lyndsey: Haha! Thank you! I actually do have a stand mixer but I still prefer using the bread machine to do the kneading whenever I can. Hehe, you must have read Quay Po's post about the Foodie subject. Naw, I can't say I'm 100% a Foodie. I just do things my way.... a Pingy!

    Charles: ROFL!! You really crack me up, Charles! I can just see that happening in my mind... just like a scene from a comedy show! :D You have a dog? It'll be happy doing the cleaning up for you, I'm sure.

    babeKL: Thank you. The sour cream bread has a nice soft but denser texture ... less air pockets. Try it out, you won't be disappointed :D Twisting the bread isn't as hard as it looks.

  15. HO! HO! HO! (in Cantonese mean GOOD! GOOD! GOOD!) Hope you win the Challenge. One question, did you participate this Challenge through QPC? If yes, please let me know because if you are the winner, there is an extra prize from QPC, my son's band Rosevelt's 1st Album 15:35. If not, you will also have to tell me because you are my dear friend, I still need your address to send the Album to you:D A joy I truly want to share with you. Merry X'mas to you and your family with lots of love and hugs from Quay Po & Quay Lo.

  16. My envy of your neatness when working with things like this has no bounds. Just so you know.

    It's gorgeous and now I want to bake this, too! I guess I'll need to go shop for larger trousers after all!

    - Veronika

  17. Ping, anything goes with kimchi!

  18. Your bread looks crazy good! Thanks for sharing Ping!

  19. Ping, this is the most gorgeous bread EVER!!! Just stunning!!! Good luck...I'd vote for you!!!

  20. Sissi: Hahahaha! Ok, I will give it a go :D

    Baker Street: Thank you very much! You're very welcome.

    Lizzy: Awww ... thanks! That means a lot.

  21. QPC: Good! Good! Good then. :D Win or not, I'm already a winner! Thanks for the gift. You're sweet. Hugs galore!

    eattheroses: Awww ... you make me blush, V. Haha! Always buy stretchable ones ... very good investment esp during festive seasons.

  22. That braid is BEAUTIFUL, Ping! That sounds like a really fun challenge, too.

  23. Ping-I also received an invitation from the Very Good Recipe for the Christmas Challenge, which I will be posting later!
    Your Christmas Wreath is totally amazing...wish you had some instructions on how to braid the bread:(
    Sure to be a stunning center piece at your holiday table. Love how you linked up to all, including the fabulous chocolate jam? or is it a cream?
    Have a wonderful Christmas, my dear friend:DDD

  24. looks ah-mazing! like seriously, ah-mazing! absolutely ah-mazing! okay. i've said it three times. but i'll say it the fourth time - ah-mazing!!!!

  25. This is so beautiful! Can't stop admiring it :)

  26. PS...I'm back to let me know how much I enjoy your sweet and funny comments on my blog! You have a great sense of humor and I know we'd be fast friends if we lived nearby each other :) xo

  27. Lizzy: Thank you. It's nice to know that. (Did Lambeau put you up to this?) Kidding. For sure, Lizzy, for sure. I"m hoping one day, before I'm too osteoporosized (new word :D), I'd want to meet you and this bunch of nice folks that I've met in cyberspace and make them a reality ... even Lambeau.

  28. All: Sorry for the late reply. Looks like I missed out a couple including Elisabeth in the season's hoohah.

    Kristen: Thanks! Yeah, it's fun to try think up what a white Chrstmas would be like when we don't even get it here :D It's made me miss snow so much.

    Elisabeth: Ooooh! I saw your Lintzer cookies ... they're amazing too! The braids are pretty easy really. I just put one strip over the other all the way to the end, cross my fingers and hope they turn out nice :D Glad it did, phew! Yes, the chocolate jam is more like a thick cream than a jam. I trust your Christmas was merry, looking at all the festive pictures you'd posted :D xxoo

    Amanda: LOL! Thank you, thank you, thank you and thank you!

    Anncoo Journal: Hello Ann. Thank you and thanks for dropping by.