It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas . . .everywhere you go . . . but the prettiest sight to see is the home baked goods that will be . . . made by you and not a store. =) It's true! Even if you're not that great of a baker or are just starting to learn, anything that you take the time to make is doubly appreciated. In my experience, people are more impressed when you take extra time out of your day when you do something special for them than if you buy an ill-thought-out gift. Think about it from your own perspective: do you remember every little thing you've received for Christmas, or do you remember the way people made you feel around the holidays? Myself, I remember certain gifts that I just had to have, and I appreciated getting them for sure, but now I find what is more important was and is the relationships I have with the people I care about. I still want my gifts, though. I'm a selfish hypocrite! Haha.
But I will still bake of course--it's an addiction. And after all, it is apparently the season meant for baking. Last year I posted Rolo Pretzel Bites and Eggnog Cheesecake Bars. This year I'm putting another Eggnog recipe on the table: Cranberry Eggnog Bread! I don't get a whole lot of baking opportunities this month, so I was sure to search for something that I considered unique and I found it here. I was debating on not adding the cranberries to the dough, but I'm glad I did. Not only did they add pops of pretty color throughout the loaf, but they also add pops of sweetness. This was a good thing because the bread itself was only subtly eggnog-y. If you want a strong eggnog flavor definitely use the glaze, which is fabulous by the way. I used what I had left over for spreading on actual slices of bread. Mmm, it's definitiely starting to taste like Christmas at my house now, too.
I took this picture after I first drizzled the glaze over the bread . . . mmm, puddles of deliciousness.
Cranberry Eggnog Bread
Barely tweaked recipe from Creations by Kara
- 1 package (1/4 oz.) active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 1/4 cups eggnog (alcholic or otherwise)
- 1/4 melted butter
- 3- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries (I used Craisins)
For the Glaze:
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1-2 Tbsp eggnog
- dash of freshly grated nutmeg
--In a medium or so sized bowl, combine the yeast and a 1/4 cup of warm water (about 110-115 degrees). Let this stand for about 10 minutes while the yeast gets nice and frothy. Then add the sugar, salt, nutmeg, eggnog, melted butter, and 1 1/2 cups of the flour--mix until thoroughly combined. There should be little to no lumps.
--Add the Craisins to the mixture, then add a half cup of flour at a time until a soft dough forms.
--On a lightly floured surface (remember you can always add flour but you can't take any away from your dough) knead the dough until smooth.
--Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover the bowl with a towel. Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 30 minutes.
--Decide how you want your braid to look. I braided mine like a zipper. To find out how, go here. You can either have one large loaf, or two smaller loaves. I opted for a large loaf this time. After you've let the dough rise, separate into strands and braid your bread as desired, making sure to pinch together and tuck under the ends.
--Place the braid on a large, greased baking sheet and let rise until it has doubled in size, about an hour this time.
--Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
--Try and let the bread cool for the most part if you can help it.
--If using the glaze, mix the powdered sugar, eggnog, and some freshly grated nutmeg until completely smooth. Then dizzle it all over the braid. You'll probably have leftover glaze, I did.