The next recipe for me in the BBA Challenge is Cranberry-Walnut Celebration Bread. It's a bread reminiscent of the holidays, filled with cranberries and flavored with orange. The picture in the book is of a lovely double braid. But I just wasn't in the mood for that. While I'll eat walnuts, I prefer pecans, and that tends to be what I have on hand in my freezer. I loved the raisin bread that we made recently, but didn't really want another fruit filled loaf. What I wanted was cinnamon rolls, or something similar. So I decided to take that idea and run with it.
I started off making the dough according to the recipe. I left out the orange extract and used buttermilk, since I actually had some on hand. I kneaded the cranberries into the dough, but not the nuts. After the first rise, I turned the dough out onto a lightly floured counter. I rolled it out into a large rectangle (not sure of the exact size; somewhere in the neighborhood of 12"x16", I think). I spread a couple tablespoons of softened butter over the dough, leaving a 1" clear border along one of the long edges. Then I sprinkled a mixture of 3 tablespoons vanilla sugar mixed with 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger over the butter. I sprinkled chopped toasted pecans over the sugar. Then I rolled the dough into a log, starting with the long edge away from the clear border. I pinched the dough closed and then cut it into 15 pieces of equal width, using unwaxed dental floss.
I placed the pieces cut side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet (half sheet pan, 13"x18"), leaving a couple inches between them. I sprayed the rolls with canola oil spray and covered them with a large piece of plastic. I let them proof at room temperature until almost doubled in size (the rolls were starting to touch each other in places). Then I baked the rolls at 350 degrees F for about 25 minutes, until they were golden brown. I removed them from the oven and left them on the sheet pan to cool a bit. I drizzled the warm rolls with a simple glaze of powdered sugar mixed with a tablespoon or two of milk (sorry, no exact measurements).
The verdict? There is no doubt in my mind that I'll be making these again. They turned out great! I should really bake with dried cranberries more often. Brianna wasn't entirely thrilled--"When are you going to make something I like again? Like with chocolate chips?" (I'll let you imagine the whiny 6yo tone of voice...) Gillian thought they were great, as did Jamie. I admit, I'm sure I ate more of them than anyone else here. Being of sound mind (and knowing that we couldn't eat them all before they got stale), I packed up a bunch of the rolls to take to Gillian's daycare teachers. I got back an empty container and heard that they enjoyed them quite a bit. =) I think these would be a fabulous addition to a holiday brunch. One thing I would do next time is use a bit more ginger in the filling; bits of crystallized ginger might be nice along with the pecans.
Next up for me in the BBA Challenge is English Muffins. The main group is well ahead of that recipe, but I'm baking along with the Slow and Steady sub-group. Check out Nancy's blog for a round-up of everyone's cranberry breads in the near future. And for this and many other wonderful bread recipes, check out The Bread Baker's Apprentice. I'm also submitting this post to YeastSpotting.