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Stunning Snowflakes & a Recipe for Sticky Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Snow Covered Trees
My body doesn’t like the cold. Yes, that sounds silly. I mean, who really does like the cold? It’s more than my own whiny preference, however. My body rejects the cold. I have to wear layer upon layer of warm clothing, until I resemble a certain dough boy that giggles when his tummy is poked, to enjoy it. Otherwise, I get all itchy and swollen and covered in hives. Not a pretty picture, I know; in fact, it’s a rather large pain in the… well, you know.

Despite my aversion to the temperature that exists here for roughly 15 months per year, I adore winter {in theory}. I love how perfect it is. How clear, clean, and crisp everything is. How anything outdoors is uniformly blanketed in snow, but each flake is completely different from the next.

Snow on Trees
I take every opportunity I can to revel in my fairy tale-like surroundings, and last week, those surroundings were at the height of perfection. As soon as I had some time to spare, I bundled up and made my way to the forest {you know, my backyard}. The snow was so light that it clung to the tiniest of items; blades of grass, stems of leaves, and abandoned spider webs were piled high with seemingly weightless crystals of ice.

Sticky Cinnamon Swirl Bread
I wandered on the path, shuffling my booted {and double socked} feet through the snow that had not yet been walked on since falling earlier in the day; my presence alone was enough to stir the blanket of white. It fell off boughs, danced through the crisp air, swirled up, down, and around before settling once again.

It was kind of perfect {cold, but perfect}.

I headed home after a few kilometres to give myself a chance to thaw out, and when I opened the door, my favourite aroma hit me like a brick wall {a delightful brick wall}: homemade bread. I had some dough for a loaf of Sticky Cinnamon Swirl Bread rising in the kitchen while I was out. It was ready to be rolled out, spread with a delightful cinnamon-sugar mixture, and left to rise one more time.

Topping and Rolled Dough
The scent of fresh baked bread consumed my home and turned the chilly {but stunning} day into a cozy, sweet one. A couple hours later, I curled up in a blanket on the couch near my window, enjoyed a slice {or four} of the bread, and admired the snow-covered trees outside. This, too, was kind of perfect.

How do you stay cozy on cold, winter days? Bundle up and brave the chill, or keep warm indoors?

Sticky Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Sticky Cinnamon Swirl Bread
Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients:
BREAD
¾ cup skim milk
½ cup water
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast (or 2 ¼ teaspoons)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (plus more for greasing)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt

FILLING
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tablespoon water
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 generous tablespoon cinnamon

Instructions:
1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine milk, water, and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved and the mixture is warm (not hot) to the touch. Transfer to a large bowl, and sprinkle yeast over top; let rest for 5-10 minutes to proof, and when yeast is foamy, stir in the olive oil.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk flours and salt together. Pour half of the flour mixture into the large bowl with the liquids; stir with a wooden spoon until flour is incorporated. Add the other half, and stir until it becomes too difficult to continue. Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and knead for 5-10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a well-oiled bowl in a warm, draft free spot. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for one hour, or until dough has doubled in size.

3. Punch down dough and turn it out onto a clean surface; roll out to a 16×12(ish) rectangle. Mix filling ingredients in a small bowl, and pour onto the rolled dough; distribute it evenly over top. Position the dough so the short edges are facing you, and starting at one end, roll dough away from you so you have a 12” log. Transfer the log to the parchment-lined baking sheet, seam down, and gently tuck ends underneath. Cover with a slightly damp tea towel and place in the oven with the light on for one more hour, or until doubled in size.

4. Remove tea towel and turn oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for about 30-35 minutes (drape a piece of aluminum foil over top if it’s browning too quickly), or until the loaf is evenly golden brown in colour and sounds hollow when tapped.

5. Let cool on a wire rack for at least one hour before slicing or storing.

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  1. kelly @ kellybakes11-12-12

    I’m going to make this and pretend it’s snowy and beautiful outside rather than 67 degrees. Trade weather? :)

  2. Stephanie Arsenault11-13-12

    Sure! I’d take your weather over the serious cold I was in over the weekend (-20!)! Enjoy!!

  3. Stephanie11-15-12

    That bread looks lovely and so does your backyard. So jealous! I gaze out upon…some low-rise walk up apartments. bleh. Winter is prettier in the forest

  4. Dan @ dansgoodside11-17-12

    Make me this bread! Right.meow!

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