Thursday, December 1, 2011

On the 1st Day of Christmas...

Hello all!

Welcome to our 12 Days of Christmas! Over the next 12 days, each day we are going to feature a special daily post, along with a giveaway here on our blog and a Deal of the Day on a specific product on our website, Joyous Home. We will post each day's post on or before noon each day, and announce the winner from previous day. See more of the giveaway rules and details below the post!

Today, we are baking bread!

Twisted Almond Wreath

Sweet breads made into braids and wreaths, filled with jams and almond marzipan are some of our family's favorite Christmas season treats! This wreath is very easy to make. If you can make cinnamon rolls, then you will have no trouble with this! If you are a beginning bread maker, read here.

You can use any bread dough for this recipe, but for a real treat we recommend using a sweet bread dough recipe. This is our Christmas dough recipe:

In a saucepan, melt together until very warm:
1/2 cup melted butter
2 1/2 cups warm milk
1 cup maple syrup or honey

In the Bosch mixer with the dough hook:
melted butter/milk mixture
3 large eggs
2 1/2 cups warm water
2 1/2 Tbsp. SAF Yeast
1 Tbsp. almond extract
2 Tbsp. LorAnn Buttery Sweet Dough flavor (optional, but very yummy!)
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. allspice
2 1/2 Tbsp. dough enhancer (again, this is helpful but not always necessary)
4 1/2 cups freshly ground hard white wheat flour

Mix until smooth. Sponge the mix for 35-45 minutes. 45 minutes gives excellent results! As the dough mix rises to the top of the bowl, just jog the mixer to punch the dough back down.

Sponging your dough allows the yeast to develop and also gives some of the flour you've added a chance to soften and absorb some of the liquid. Allowing some of the liquid to be absorbed this way gives you realistic idea of how much flour needs to be added. Adding too much flour makes a very dry bread. After sponging the dough, add:

2 1/2 Tbsp. sea salt.
freshly ground hard wheat flour

Add the flour 1 cup at a time, mixing gently after each addition. Add flour until the dough is soft and sticky (but not too wet) and cleans the sides of the bowl. Knead for 4 minutes on medium-high speed. If you are a beginning bread maker, read here.

To make the Almond Wreath:
You need an 8oz. can of almond paste filling. The brand we use is called Solo and is available in most grocery stores in the baking aisle.

In the blender place 1 cup pecans or walnuts and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Spoon the almond paste on top of the nuts. Pulse the blender until the nuts and the paste are ground together.

On a greased surface, roll the dough out into a rectangle, about 10" x 25". Brush with 1/2 cup softened butter. Sprinkle 2-3 tsp. ground cinnamon over the butter and use the brush to blend it with the butter. Sprinkle the almond paste/nut mixture evenly over the top of all.

Roll up cinnamon roll style...

On a baking sheet lined with either a silicone baking mat or parchment paper, slide the roll on the pan and shape into a circle. Pinch the dough together to connect the ends.

With a pair of kitchen scissors, cut into the outer part of the ring, 1" away from the inner circle. Twist each cut to the side.

Brush the entire wreath with an egg wash (1 large egg whisked together with 1 Tbsp. water) and sprinkle with pearled sugar (available at specialty baking stores, such as Baker's Catalog).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Let the wreath rise for 10 minutes. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the wreath is a light golden brown. Cool on the pan completely.

Use large spatulas to carefully move the wreath to the plate you are going to serve it on. Drizzle with Butter Almond Icing!

Butter Almond Icing
In a bowl, mix together:
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbsp. melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
1 Tbsp. half & half

Whisk together until smooth. Use a pastry bag or a plastic zip bag with a corner snipped off to drizzle the icing over the bread.


Giveaway Details!

We are keeping the daily giveaway as simple as possible. To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment to that day's blog post and say that you want to be entered in the giveaway- one comment equals one entry. You can earn one additional entry by posting about the daily 12 Days of Christmas blog post on your blog, Facebook (add us, Theresa Powers or Jessica Munday, as friends on Facebook for verification) or twitter. Each day we will draw a winner and announce the winner the following day before the next daily post!

Today's giveaway is the Seasons At Home Holiday '09 magazine!

and the Daily Deal on Joyous Home is...

The Girl's Embroidery Scissors

On sale for $3.50 - Regular price $6.50
I love these scissors, they are our favorite for embroidery!


Gary Phelps said...

I am going to make this beautiful bread for our friends tomorrow night. I am excited about this contest! And am thankful for my sister Jessica L. who helped me post on a blog for the first time!

Debbie said...

I hope this is where we are supposed to leave our comment to enter the giveaway. I sent a friend request to Theresa @ Joyous Home and I posted about the giveaway on Facebook. The Almond Wreath looks lovely but I don't like nuts like that... the rest of my family would love it though.

Stacy said...

I would like to be entered in the giveaway. Thank you for sending out the email reminder...I truly appreciate that!

Also, I am sending friend requests to Theresa and Jessica and posting on my FB page about the 12 days of Christmas.

Stacy Hester

Stacy said...

I also tweeted the blog entry on Twitter....!/SowingSeedsblog/status/142386065003642882

Heather - Doodle Acres said...

Commenting and enjoying...

Shannon said...

The wreath is beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe and step-by-step instructions. :) This would make a nice gift for a neighbor, or to take to a nursing home!

Merry CHRISTmas! :)

hopeful said...

Such pretty bread!

I would like to be entered in the give away.

I appreciate the e-mail reminder too ~ I wouldn't have remembered! :-)

Shannon said...

Shared your blog on my FB page. I'm under Shannon Wallace, and I friend requested both of you ladies! Thanks so much! :)

Jessie said...

Oops... posted before without mentioning that I wanted to be entered into the contest! Also posted about it on FB and friend requested Theresa, I believe. Great recipe idea! I'm definitely going to use at least the concept, if not the actual recipe.

Karen said...

The bread looks lovely, but alas, I don't care for almonds. Wonder if you could fill it with something else--something non-nutty?

I would love to be entered in the giveaway. I hope it is open to Canadian residents as well.

Karen (

Kris said...

I would like to enter the giveaway! Love your magazine and would be happy to share this issue with a dear friend. Thanks! ~ Kris (

Kris said...

I would love to enter this giveaway - thanks! Kris (

Theresa and Jessica said...

@Karen Yes! You can fill it with just butter, brown sugar and lots of cinnamon! =) That would make of a giant cinnamon roll wreath, but tasty all the same...


Jeremiah and Stephenie said...

I would like to be entered in Today's giveaway. Thank you.

fulltimer said...

I can't wait to try the wreath recipe! Thank you for sharing it.
Please enter me in the give-away.

CheleLew said...

Thank you for sending out the daily reminders. I so appreciate you sharing the Twisted Almond Wreath recipe - it's definitely going to be on our Christmas brunch table.

I'd like to be entered into your giveaway.

CheleLew said...

I've blogged about your 12 Days of Christmas at:

And I've also mentioned it on my FB account (Michele Cahn) - I shared it with one of my friends that is just starting to use whole wheat instead of flour from the store.

Rice said...

I'd love to read Seasons at Home! Thanks for the giveaway!

Courtney said...

Oh goodness the wreath is beautiful and sounds so yummy! Please enter me in the contest. )


Lisa @Me and My House said...

Would love to win this giveaway. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

The Twisted Almond Wreath looks easy & beautiful! I'd like to be entered in the giveaway. I just pulled out my 2 only copies of Joyous Home to get ideas for celebrating Christmas. I always enjoy your magazine.
Blessings, Raquel

lisa_iowa said...

This is a lovely twist on traditional cinnamon rolls. I'd love to be entered into the contest. Thank you!

Sweetpeas said...

Am I too late to enter the giveaway? That bread looks yummy!

Nancy said...

I'd love to win. Beautiful bread wreath!

Jennie said...

I love the Twisted Almond Wreath and hope to make it soon. Can you make it available in PDF go I can save it on my computer to print later.

Theresa and Jessica said...

@Sweetpeas No, you are not too late. Each day's giveaway ends when the following day's post is put up =) Yesterday's giveaway ends when today's post is up and the winner is announced.

Your comment here will be counted as an entry, so there's no need for you to comment again =)


Theresa and Jessica said...

@Jennie No, they will not be available in pdf for now, only blog posts.

Katherine said...

Not sure if my note posted or not. Sure hope so.

Rebekah said...

Thank you for the beautifully illustrated step by step tutorial!

Rebekah said...

Is there some kind of discount code to enter for the embroidery scissors deal?

Theresa and Jessica said...

@Rebekah No, that was yesterday's Deal of the Day. That sale expired, sorry =(

No coupon codes are necessary for the daily deal. We are going to post a deal each day, but they are for that day only. Today's deal is for our book Baby's First Foods.


Cindy said...

That bread looks so delicious! I'm adding almond paste to my shopping list. :-)

noreaster said...

Yum yum! Those peanut butter cups look so good! I have trouble making peanut butter cookies and the like with "real" peanut butter. I always have to use a brand like Jif. What kiind of PB do you use with this recipe?

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