Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a nice brunch every day? Life would be just thismuch more exciting if we could get together with family and friends every morning to talk, laugh, and prepare for the day ahead. Life would be less stressful, relationships would be stronger, and, of course, the food would be better.
We could lounge over a crossword and a cup of coffee, rather than scarfing down cold toast on the way out the door, and graze on poached eggs, crispy bacon, and fresh cheese. We could get our hands sticky while pulling apart sweet breads (like the Cranberry Eggnog Braids below); licking the glaze off our fingers, rather than hastily ironing clothing at the last minute.
… and enjoy every delicious minute of it.
Cranberry Eggnog Braids
Inspired by Taste of Home’s Cranberry Eggnog Braid
1 cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 ¼ cups eggnog
¼ cup butter
½ cup halved fresh cranberries
1 tablespoons eggnog
1 tablespoon icing sugar
1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of nutmeg
1. In a large bowl, whisk whole-wheat flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and nutmeg; set aside. In a small saucepan, heat eggnog and butter over low-medium heat just until warm. Add to the flour mixture, stir until combined, and then beat at medium speed for about three minutes, or until mixture is smooth.
2. Stir in 1 cup of the all-purpose flour, and when combined, add the cranberries and remaining flour. Stir until most of the flour is incorporated, and then turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Alternately, use a dough hook attachment at low speed for 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, toss to coat, and cover with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm, draft free spot until doubled in size, 1 to 1 ½ hours.
3. Punch down dough and divide in two. Divide each half into three, and then roll each piece into a 16 inch (40 centimetre) rope. Braid the ropes together, making two braided loaves, and tuck the ends under. Place the loaves on a large baking sheet, cover with a tea towel, and let rise in a warm, draft free spot until doubled in size, 30 to 45 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake loaves for 25 minutes (place a piece of aluminum foil loosely on top if they brown too quickly); remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
5. Once the bread reaches room temperature, whisk the glaze ingredients together and then brush over the top of each loaf. Serve immediately.