Chocolate Cinnamon Bread Wreath
Christmas morning will seem even more magical if you serve a gorgeous chocolate cinnamon bread wreath! These wreaths make marvelous holiday gifts and are something your family will ask for year after year.
We have certain traditions we honor each year to make the holidays special. Advent calendars, Elf on the Shelf, Visiting a local Light Show, Cookie Exchanges, Christmas Eve Service…
One of those traditions is to serve piping hot fresh-made bread on Christmas morning.
Last year after all the presents had been open, we sat around in our fuzzy jammies and ate hot sticky Drunken Monkey Bread with a cream cheese scramble and grapefruit mimosas.
This year I have something else in mind.
Something with chocolate-cinnamon layers and yeasty dough twisted into delicate folds.
Something that looks lovely sitting out on the table…
A Chocolate Cinnamon Bread Wreath.
This cinnamon bread variation, not only looks lovely, its tastes divine. Similar to Pain au Chocolat with a softer texture and zesty spices layered throughout, it is a wonderful celebration bread!
Because bread needs times to rise, you could make this a day ahead and rewarm on Christmas morning. Or, you could make it several days (even weeks) ahead and freeze before the second rise. Then place it in the fridge to thaw the night before serving, and give it a few more minutes to rise on the counter before baking, for fresh-out-of-the-oven bread.
This recipe calls for all purpose flour, not bread flour, so the layers stay nice and tender. Yet anytime I’m making bread I use Gold Medal Flour, because I’ve found the consistency is always right on the money. Gold Medal’s super-fine milled flour helps the bread rise into fluffy loaves.
Prepare the bread dough and let it rise until double in size.
Roll in out, spread with Nutella, and sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Then roll into a giant log.
Cut the log down the middle and “braid” the two pieces into one log twist.
Shape into a circle and tuck the ends under.
This is where you would freeze, if you were making this chocolate cinnamon bread wreaths ahead.
Freeze it uncovered for 2 -3 hours, then wrap well and refreeze until ready to thaw.
The ooohs and ahhhs on Christmas morning are well worth planning ahead for this one.
You could even make several to send to friends and neighbors for their Christmas breakfast!
Yield: 1 large wreath
Prep Time: 40 minutes active time
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Chocolate Cinnamon Bread Wreath
- 3/4 cup whole milk, scalded
- 1 packet dry active yeast (2 1/4 tsp.)
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 Tb. sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 4 cups All Purpose Gold Medal Flour
- 4 Tb. melted butter
- 3/4 cup Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread
- 3 Tb. brown sugar
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. course sea salt
- Scald the milk on the stove or in the microwave. Bring it to a boil, then remove from the heat and cool completely before using. You can place it in the fridge to bring the temperature down faster. (Don't skip this step, or you're bread may not rise properly.)
- Using an electric mixer with a bread hook, place the warm water (just barely over luke-warm, too hot will kill the yeast) and sugar in the mixing bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let it foam for 10 minutes.
- Then turn on the mixer and add the cooled milk, egg and salt. Slowly add the flour. Once all the flour is in the bowl, add 4 tablespoons of melted butter. "Knead" the dough with the bread hook for 5-8 minutes.
- The dough will be smooth, but tacky. Oil the mixer bowl, then cover with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise in the bowl for 2 hours. Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and sea salt in a separate bowl and set aside.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, dump it out on a floured work surface. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle, 18 x 13 inches in size. Gently spread a thin layer of Nutella over the dough, leaving the dough bare around the edges. Then sprinkle the cinnamon mixture over the dough. Now starting on one of the long edges, roll the dough into a long cylinder.
- Use a large knife to cut the dough down the middle, length wise, and open it up to expose the layers inside. Then alternate crossing the pieces over each other to create a braid. Move the braid to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and shape into a ring. Fold the ends under each other, so they resemble the braid.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and allow the bread wreath to rise for at least 45 minutes. Then bake for 22-30 minutes, until brown and crispy on top. Cool at least 10 minutes before cutting.
More Christmas Breakfast Ideas
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Gold Medal Flour. All opinions are my own.
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