Braided Cinnamon Wreath

Okay okay, I’m mourning the holidays a little. They came and left so quickly! After the holidays are over, winter in New England just drags on and on, with no high points to look forward to. But I’m looking forward to spring! Just two measly months of winter and then it’ll be March and flowers will be blooming (hopefully)!

What better way to console ourselves than with a toasty cinnamon and sweet, buttery dough? I made this braided cinnamon wreath for New Years Day brunch and it was a huge hit. Definitely a good way to begin the new year.

I got the idea from one of those cooking videos on Facebook, but that recipe called for pre-made pizza dough which doesn’t fly with me. (Okay it sometimes flies with me for pizza but never for a baked good!) So I did some research and modified a Food Network recipe for “Basic Sweet Roll Dough” that was wrought with errors.

Then, I filled the dough with an amazing spice and butter mixture, cut the dough and braided it into a ring. The end result is show-stopping and tastes even better.


Ingredients:

For the dough:

1/2 cup milk, I used whole milk

1/2 cup water- use a dry measure for this amount

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

4 tablespoons melted butter

1 egg yolk

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 3/4 cups flour

1 tsp salt

For the filling:

4 tbs brown sugar

1 stick plus 3 tbs butter, very soft

3 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger

3/4 tsp nutmeg

4 cardamom pods, finely ground

1 tsb white sugar

For glaze:

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2- 1 tbs milk

1 tsp maple extract

1/2 tsp vanilla extract


Instructions:

  1. Microwave milk until just warmer than body temperature, about 20-30 seconds.
  2. Add the yeast and two tablespoons of sugar to the milk and stir gently to dissolve.
  3. Allow this mixture to sit for a few minutes until it is slightly foamy or bubbly.
  4. Once the mixture is bubbly, add 1/2 cup of water measured in a dry measure (the one you use for flour), egg yolk, vanilla, and melted butter that has been slightly cooled.
  5. Whisk this mixture until completely combined.
  6. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and 1/4 cup sugar until there are no lumps.
  7. Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a spatula until the dough comes together.
  8. Turn out the dough onto a floured counter top and kneed the dough until smooth. This took me around five minutes.
  9. Rub a large bowl with oil or butter and place the dough into the bowl.
  10. Brush the top of the dough very lightly with butter or oil as well.
  11. Allow the dough to rise in a slightly warm place for an hour and a half, or until it doubles in size. My dough took an hour and a half to rise at around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
  12. Once the dough has risen, punch the dough down slightly and wrap in a buttered piece of plastic wrap.
  13. Refrigerate overnight.
  14. Combine all of the ingredients for the filling in a bowl and stir until the paste is very thick and completely smooth and combined.
  15. Once the dough has been refrigerated overnight, roll out the dough into a long rectangle as thin as possible without any tears or rips.
  16. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  17. Spread the filling across the whole piece of dough, all the way to the edges and roll the dough into a long log.
  18. Using a very sharp knife, cut the dough lengthwise into two long strips.
  19. Twist these strips together, cut sides facing out.
  20. Form the twist into a ring.
  21. Place the dough onto a greased cast iron skillet or a sheet pan lined with parchment.
  22. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for a 20-30 minutes, until the top is slightly browned and the dough has puffed out.
  23. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
  24. While the bread cools, whisk powdered sugar to remove any lumps.
  25. Add the milk to the powdered sugar until the desired consistency is achieved.
  26. Then, add the extracts and whisk until combined.
  27. Once the bread is slightly cooled, pour the glaze over and enjoy!

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