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.
VANILLA SOUR CREAM BREAD
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
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.
SPICED CHOCOLATE BANANA JAM
(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.