Mini Cardamom Easter Bread Wreaths

I'm probably the last person to board the podcast train, but now that I'm on it, I don't know what I life was before hopping on. I love getting lost in the stories while I'm in the kitchen cooking or on a walk outside with Vienna. I'm a total podcast newbie, but this week I listened to S-Town, the real-life Southern gothic produced by the guys Serial and This American Life, and was so hooked I finished all seven hours in two days. I've also been listening to This American Life (I love Ira Glass), The Moth, Jessica Murnane's The Cookbook Deal, A Couple Cooks, RadioLab, and Up First (for a quick morning news update). But outside of these, I'm totally clueless. What podcasts are you listening to and loving?

Unrelated, but equally exciting, is my rediscovery of the joy that is the public library. I pretty much forgot that the library was an even an option. I mean in the age of Amazon prime everything, I think it's easy to forget about other options, but now I'm like, wait, I can borrow all these books and they're free?! Adding to my love of the library is the fact that it's in walking distance of our place and it's also big and beautiful, so big that I managed to get lost the first time I visited. I've been visiting almost every week for about a month now and I just love it. It just like you're entering this magical alternate universe where books rule the world and people from all walks of life converge. I probably look a little crazy every time I enter the library, 'cuz I always walk in with the biggest smile on my face. Btw, I'm totally ok with looking a little crazy. 

mini-easter-bread-wreaths-3.jpg
mini-easter-bread-wreaths-4.jpg

Speaking of crazy, month's been so nuts that I almost missed Easter--somehow I didn't realize that it is this Sunday. Luckily, I remembered yesterday, at the very last minute and was able to pull together these cute little wreaths. I've been dying to try my hand at Easter bread wreaths for a while now, but the idea of dying eggs and plopping them into bread didn't really appeal to me. That's where these mini chocolate Cadbury eggs came in. I thought, why not put some chocolate eggs in... well, there's probably a reason more people don't do that. I wouldn't say they were a fail, but they did explode a little (duh?) while baking and a few scooted their way outta their braids. And then because I'm cardamom obsessed, I added some freshly ground cardamom to the dough for some nice cool spice. All in all, these wreaths were super fun to make and now I've got lots of mini breads for this Sunday! 

MINI CARDAMOM EASTER BREAD WREATHS

ADAPTED FROM The Italian Dish Blog

MAKES 8 MINI WREATHS

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/4 c. milk
  • 1/3 c. unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. freshly ground cardmom
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon of water
  • 30-40 mini chocolate coated candy eggs
  • Sprinkles

TOOLS

  • Small saucepan
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Stand mixer
  • Whisk
  • Parchment paper or silpat lined baking sheet
  • Pastry brush
  • Tea towel or plastic wrap

FIX

  1. In a small saucepan, heat the milk and butter on medium heat, until the butter is mostly melted and the temperature of the mixture is 110-115°F. In the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk the milk mixture with the yeast and sugar, and let sit for 5-10 minutes or until it's bubbly and bloomed. Then whisk in the beaten eggs and salt. Switch the attachment to the dough hook and add 3 cups of the flour and cardamom and beat on low until combined and smooth. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour and knead until smooth. If it's still sticking to the edges of the bowl, add more flour, a tablespoon or two at a time, until it pulls away from the edges of the bowl. . Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until no longer sticky. form into a round and place in a greased bowl, turning the dough once to full coat, and cover the bowl with a clean tea towel or plastic wrap. Place in a warm place to rise until doubled, about one hour. 
  2. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and punch it down. Divide it into 16 even pieces and roll each piece out to form a 12 to 14-inch long rope. Twist two pieces together to form a "braid", pinching and tucking the ends into themselves to form a circle. Place wreaths on two baking sheets, lined with parchment paper or silpat mats and cover and let rise until doubled, about one hour. 
  3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. When the wreaths have doubled in size, tuck the candy eggs into the braids as desired then brush each wreath with the egg wash, the beaten egg with 1 teaspoon of water, being careful to avoid the eggs. Sprinkle on the sprinkles and bake until golden, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on a baking rack.
  4. Serve and enjoy!