The blur of December running forward into a January toting promise of long awaited good tidings leaves me dizzy. Stress is high, visions of an immediate mask-less future seem dim, and ahhhh(!) I really do need to make my plum cake.
A pace to get things done and check off everything in a bulging final weeks' tasklist is always a terrific challenge, a result of loving Christmas a tad much. Because, as well thought out and carefully executed as things are, there is still that bit of restlessness and uncertainty in procrastination spun events.
Did the cookies just set off the fire alarm? Is there sufficient large cake for a million inch-high jar cake orders? Is my child recording all the Christmas specials I am missing while I'm in the kitchen?
It's then that my IG feed suggested I make star bread.
Subsequently, I put the Christmas cake on hold, for the theatrics of kneading, twisting and turning a yeasted loaf required my undivided attention. It also made my heart grow three sizes that day.
Cranberry raspberry bread is spectacular in aroma, majestic in visual, plush in texture, and beyond anything you'd expect in flavor. And since I am partially grateful for SEO driven recommendations, particularly when they're not asking me to shop my socks off, I'd like to share this gem with you. Because, don't you think it looks like one?
So, take my advice and bake the bread. I promise making a starbright from pillowy dough will be a skillset to pride yourself on.
Meanwhile, as I rest my feet, glistening slices of sweet bread tucked onto my plate, the Grinch's exchange with Cindy Lou is as captivating as it can ever be.
Bread recipe courtesy Red Star Yeast
- 1¾ cups lukewarm water
- 1 tbsp yeast
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 4 large eggs
- ½ cup honey
- 8 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 7 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 pounds sweet dough (half of above recipe)
- 6 tbsp almond paste
- 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp sugar
- ½ tsp almond extract
- 2 egg yolks
- pinch salt
- ½ cup raspberry preserves
- ¾ cup fresh or frozen cranberries
- egg wash (1 egg white mixed with 1 tbsp water)
- decorator sugar
- confectioners’ sugar, if desired
- In a 6-quart container, add the water, yeast, salt, eggs, honey, melted butter and flour. Mix ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
- Cover (not airtight) and allow to rise at room temperature for about 2 hours; then store in refrigerator for at least 4 hours to chill the dough before using.
- When ready to use dough, take out and proceed to make the fillings.
- For almond filling: In a food processor, mix together the almond paste, flour, sugar, almond extract, egg yolks and salt until it is a smooth paste. Set aside in a small bowl and clean the processor.
- For cranberry-raspberry filling: Add the raspberry preserves and cranberries to the clean processor and chop until the cranberries are fine pieces. Set aside.
- Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 2-pound piece. If you don't have a scale, it's half of the dough. Place the remaining dough back in the refrigerator. Divide the piece into four equal pieces, dust with more flour and quickly knead them into balls by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom. Cover and let dough balls rest for 20 minutes to allow dough to relax.
- Roll out the dough balls into four circles about 10-inch wide. Use a dinner plate of the same size to lay down as a guide. Add flour as needed to prevent sticking.
- Place one of the dough rounds on a piece of parchment paper lined baking sheet. Top with ⅓ the almond filling, then ⅓ the raspberry-cranberry mixture. Cover with next round. Repeat with next two layers of dough and fillings. Top with the final layer of dough.
- Place a 2½-inch cookie or biscuit cutter, or anything that size in the center of the dough. Press lightly to make an indent (do not cut the dough) or leave cutter there as a guide.
- Use a pizza cutter or bench scraper to cut 16 equal spokes from the edge of the biscuit cutter to the outer edge of the dough.
- Twist two of the sections toward each other with two rotations, then pinch the two sections together at the end to form a point. Continue with the rest of the sections until you have 8 points. Pinch seams one more time to ensure they won't come apart during rising.
- Loosely cover the star and rise for 90 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- On rise, seal edges together one last time. Brush the star point edges and center of star with egg wash; sprinkle decorating sugar along edges and center.
- Bake on large sheet pan for 25-30 minutes until golden brown and set.
- Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.
- Allow to cool on a rack.
The instructions are detailed enough that you can, rest assured, anticipate it to perform on point every time.
So much talk of the Grinch, and no recipe?
Other Christmas recipes~
"When the wise men saw the star, they were filled with joy." Matthew 2:10-12