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Five Sweet Festive Breads & Buns
At this time of year I find baking the perfect way to slow down and switch off, as well as to treat those I love. I think it’s worth the extra effort to make something a wee bit special for slow seasonal brunches and afternoon teas. So it’s another festive tradition of mine to make seasonal breads and buns to celebrate Christmas and share the results on my blog - especially lovely to save and make on those slow, in-between days.
This year’s creation was the chestnut and vanilla snowflake bread, pictured above - after seeing pictures online of snowflake or star-shaped bread (especially by @violaminerva, whose Nordic Winter Cookbook is out soon!) I really wanted to try the design for myself. It was surprisingly simple: I picked up the method here and made a sweet chestnut and vanilla filling inspired by the most delicious Bonne Maman spread I got from Elliott’s Edinburgh last Christmas. Here are four more recipes from my baking archives - recipes my own invention (including the above one) unless otherwise stated.
Stollen has got to be one of my favourite festive treats. With its delectably soft crumb, sticky sweet crust and generous marzipan middle, it’s festive indulgence at its best. I know not everyone is a fan of the traditional sultana and peel version, so I researched this alternative. The tangy cherry tempers the richness of the sweet pistachios and the aromatic dough is surprisingly light. It’s particularly tasty warmed in the oven, making the marzipan meltingly moreish. Recipe adapted from Ruby Tandoh.
If you’re after a recipe for a festive brunch treat then look no further than this cranberry & orange bun tree. Perfect for slow Winter mornings over the holidays, when you can take a little longer to prepare breakfast, the spiced tear-and-share buns are filled with tangy orange zest and drizzle, dried and fresh cranberries, pistachios and a spiral of melted marzipan through the middle, making them perfectly warming and indulgent for this time of year. They prove quickly in a cosy kitchen! Recipe adapted from BBC Good Food.
This brioche-like dough is adapted from a recipe I made with Ballintaggart on their wonderful advanced bread course. It is simple to make and can be adapted to a variety of fillings (including savoury ones) but this sticky chestnut version with toffee sauce, brown sugar, cinnamon and nuts is my favourite festive treat.
These clementine and almond buns are a delicious seasonal treat. Citrus is coming into its own just now, and zesty clementines pair beautifully with the sweet, nutty almonds. These buns are oozing with a marzipan filling and clementine drizzle and topped with toasted flaked almonds.