Is it just me or do you think less people are complaining about being tired during this holiday season than in previous years?
Maybe it’s just me but I think that people are kinda excited to share these holidays with their families (caveat: now is probably not the time to have a huge bash… just sayin’).
Last year was so sad. I think we all realized that, even if your usual holiday celebrations give you a migraine (hello crazy step sister!!), it’s way better than sitting alone at your kitchen table with nobody around to break bread with.
Am I right?
So, I declaring this year an “Extra Special Christmas” with all the trimmings…like, ALL THE TRIMMINGS!!!
Let’s make sure we decorate ‘all the things’ and make ‘all the food’ that brings us joy.
Let’s start with bread…because Bread. Is. Life 😉
In the cookbook, I have a recipe for muffuletta baguettes – a super yummy loaf filled with all the flavours of Italy! When I was flipping through the book the other day, I had a thought…could I transform this for Christmas?
A few years back, I made this bread wreath from pizza dough but never posted the recipe (so easy!!).
So, this year I thought I’d take my recipe for muffuletta baguettes and magically make them into a beautiful, edible wreath!
You’ll need water and yeast (best way to see if your yeast is still active is to ‘bloom’ it in warm water – bubbles mean it’s good)…
…and in place of the ingredients for the muffuletta mix, I’ve used this jarred variety (many different brands make it).
Once the dough comes together and it doubles in size (about 2 hours at room temp – see photo below), it’s time to divide it into two …
Roll each piece out and form each dough piece into a long circle – then attach the ends so it looks like this (I snipped the edges so it looks ‘rough’ when cooked).
This one below has pieces of red onion slices and parsley…
…and if you add a ‘prosciutto bow’, it magically transforms into a bread wreath!! And the rosemary is an awesome way to get the greenery affect!
If you would like it to look like this (below), you need to cut it more deeply…
Just gently pull out the edges and tuck in whatever you like (tomatoes, herbs, thinly sliced veggies) or just leave it plain.
Think about how pretty this will look on your holiday table. You can even use it as an appetizer and put a small, warm brie in the hole so people can dip away!!
Please give this a try…it’s so easy and everyone will be so impressed!!
Festive Muffuletta Wreaths
Have you heard of muffuletta? I like to call it the “king” of Italian sandwiches because it has the best of all things Italian in it! Before we knew it to be an epic sandwich layered with meats and cheese, topped with an “olive salad,” muffuletta was known only as a round bread topped with sesame seeds that hails from Sicily. What I didn’t know is that the sandwich originated from Italian immigrants who lived in New Orleans, Louisiana.
- 1 pkg 8 g quick-rising (instant) dry yeast (or 2½ tsp)
- 1½ cups warm water 100-110°F
- 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour plus more for dusting
- 1½ tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup muffuletta mix (in a jar) in the pickle sections of your grocery store
- 1 egg beaten
- salt for finishing
- Rosemary, parsley, thinly sliced onion, prosciutto, tomatoes for decorating
In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over warm water; let sit for 5 minutes.
Once it begins to bubble, add flour, sugar and salt; mix together with a wooden spoon until it all comes together. Add the muffuletta mix and combine well (the dough will be sticky).
Turn dough onto a well-floured surface and form into a ball. Cover the bowl and put in a draft-free place for a least a few hours, until doubled in size (you can leave it all day or even overnight in the refrigerator).
Preheat oven to 400°F.
On a well-floured board, separate the dough into two portions; roll out each piece of into two long rolls and pinch the two ends together to form a circle. To make the wreath more decorative, snip the edges (see tip below) or make cuts and pull out pieces (see photos above); cover with plastic wrap and let rest for about 20 to 30 minutes.
Lightly brush tops with egg and bake until golden on top and hollow sounding on the bottom, about 20 minutes.
Decorate wreaths as you wish and serve warm!
If you would like the baguette to be more decorative, you can take kitchen shears (or clean scissors and make tiny snips (about ¼-inch) into the sides of the bread to create decorative cuts that resemble a pine cone). It adds a pretty touch to the bread!