Mixed Nut and Dulce de Leche Brioche Knot


 
Brioche dough is spiked with vanilla bean and muscovado sugar, and spread with dulce de leche and sprinkled with mixed nuts. The finished knot is dusted with powdered sugar - the perfect christmas treat to feed a crowd.
Brioche dough is spiked with vanilla bean and muscovado sugar, and spread with dulce de leche and sprinkled with mixed nuts. The finished knot is dusted with powdered sugar - the perfect christmas treat to feed a crowd.
Brioche dough is spiked with vanilla bean and muscovado sugar, and spread with dulce de leche and sprinkled with mixed nuts. The finished knot is dusted with powdered sugar - the perfect christmas treat to feed a crowd.
Brioche dough is spiked with vanilla bean and muscovado sugar, and spread with dulce de leche and sprinkled with mixed nuts. The finished knot is dusted with powdered sugar - the perfect christmas treat to feed a crowd.
Brioche dough is spiked with vanilla bean and muscovado sugar, and spread with dulce de leche and sprinkled with mixed nuts. The finished knot is dusted with powdered sugar - the perfect christmas treat to feed a crowd.

I do not, in any way, shape, or form, have my shit together for Christmas. We don’t have a single decoration up (and tbh we probably won’t), and I still feel like I have a zillion things to make recipe wise (probably won’t do that either), but I have a few things lined up for you between now and Christmas - starting with this mixed nut and dulce de leche brioche knot. I took my standard brioche dough, spiked it with some vanilla bean and muscovado sugar, and spread it with dulce de leche and sprinkled with mixed nuts. I then rolled it up into a log, cut it lengthwise babka style, then twisted it into a swirly knot. The creamy caramel and crunchy nuts are perfect alongside the fluffy dough - this will give you a little Christmas in your life, even if you have zero of your shit together like me.

I love brioche because it is super versatile and this is no exception - you can make this all in one day, or you can make the dough the evening before and do the first rise in the fridge, in which case you can skip the step of chilling the dough when it is rolled up, as it should already be cold enough to work with.

A few wee tips:

  • I made my own Dulce de Leche by boiling a can of condensed milk. To make this, peel the wrapper off a can of condensed milk, and place it on its side in a large pot. Cover with water by at least 2 inches. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer the can for 3 hours, checking often to make sure the water is well above the level of the can, and topping up when necessary. Remove from the pot with tongs and allow to cool completely, then chill overnight. You can use store bought too if that is easier for you.

  • This is easier to braid than you think! All you do is cross one end over the other, and then tuck the ends under. You look super fancy, but it's super easy. 

  • Depending on the weather the dough may need a teeny bit more liquid - add this a teaspoon at a time in the first kneading stage if it is having a hard time forming a soft dough.

  • If you can, don’t skip the toasting of the nuts - they really give them a great depth of flavour.

 

 

Mixed Nut and Dulce de Leche Brioche Knot

- Makes one brioche knot - serves about 8 -

Bread Dough
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
200g (3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp) whole milk, lukewarm
4 Tbsp (50g) muscovado sugar, or dark brown sugar
565g (3 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
115g (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Filling
65g Pecan halves
65g Hazelnuts
65g Walnut halves
150g (1/2 cup)dulce de leche (see notes)
2 tsp flaky sea salt

Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water
Flaky Sea salt to finish (optional)

 

- PROCESS -

BREAD DOUGH

In a small bowl, combine the yeast, milk and 2 Tbsp of the muscovado sugar. Mix well, and leave to sit for 10-15 minutes, or until foamy.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, salt, and remaining 2 Tbsp sugar. Mix briefly to combine. Add the eggs, vanilla, and foamy yeast mixture to the bowl. Mix on low for 2-3 minutes, until the dough is starting to come together. It may look slightly dry but do not worry - it will mix together nicely in the next steps. Increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for another 10 minutes, until the dough is soft and smooth. 

Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add the butter a little at a time, waiting until it is fully incorporated into the dough before adding the next piece. This process should take 3-4 minutes. Once the butter is fully incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for a further 5 minutes, until the dough is very soft and smooth. 

Transfer to an oiled bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in a warm spot until doubled in size, approximately 1 - 1 1/2 hours. 

 

FILLING AND ASSEMBLY

Preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Place the Pecans, Hazelnuts and Walnut halves on a sheet pan, and roast for 10 minutes, shaking the tray often. Remove from the oven and allow to cool, then, if necessary, rub together the hazelnuts and discard the skin. Chop the nuts roughly and set aside.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out into a 16" x 24" (40 x 60cm) rectangle. Using an offset spatula, spread the surface of the dough with the Dulce de Leche, and then sprinkle with the chopped nuts and flaky sea salt.

Starting from the long side of the dough, roll up the dough into a tight spiral. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, curving the sausage a little if needed. Cover with plastic wrap, and chill in the fridge for an hour.

 Line a 9" cake tin, springform pan or skillet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, straighten out the chilled sausage of dough. Using a sharp knife, cut the sausage of dough in half lengthwise, leaving a small section approximately 1 1/2 inches long intact at one end. Turn the halves carefully so the filling is exposed. Cross the dough halves over each other, then repeat the process until you have a long, twisted piece of dough. 

Cross one end of the twist over the other, and tuck the ends under, forming a knot. Gently shape into a round if needed (I found it easiest to practice with a rolled up tea towel at first). Transfer to your prepared baking sheet. Cover lightly with plastic wrap, and leave in a warm place to rise for 1 - 1 1/2 hours, or until puffy. While the bread is rising, preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. 

Brush the knot with egg wash, and sprinkle with additional flaky sea salt. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until golden brown and baked throughout, and registering 200˚f / 95˚c. Tent with foil in the last 10 minutes if necessary. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.  Reheat leftovers in microwave before eating.

Brioche dough is spiked with vanilla bean and muscovado sugar, and spread with dulce de leche and sprinkled with mixed nuts. The finished knot is dusted with powdered sugar - the perfect christmas treat to feed a crowd.

Giant Skillet Cinnamon Roll with Cream Cheese Icing


 
Giant Skillet Cinnamon Roll with Cream Cheese Icing - from Holiday and Celebration bread in five minutes a day. No knead brioche is covered in cinnamon sugar and rolled into a giant cinnamon roll - the most amazing twist on the traditional roll, and perfect for Christmas morning.
Giant Skillet Cinnamon Roll with Cream Cheese Icing - from Holiday and Celebration bread in five minutes a day. No knead brioche is covered in cinnamon sugar and rolled into a giant cinnamon roll - the most amazing twist on the traditional roll, and perfect for Christmas morning.
Giant Skillet Cinnamon Roll with Cream Cheese Icing - from Holiday and Celebration bread in five minutes a day. No knead brioche is covered in cinnamon sugar and rolled into a giant cinnamon roll - the most amazing twist on the traditional roll, and perfect for Christmas morning.
Giant Skillet Cinnamon Roll with Cream Cheese Icing - from Holiday and Celebration bread in five minutes a day. No knead brioche is covered in cinnamon sugar and rolled into a giant cinnamon roll - the most amazing twist on the traditional roll, and perfect for Christmas morning.
Giant Skillet Cinnamon Roll with Cream Cheese Icing - from Holiday and Celebration bread in five minutes a day. No knead brioche is covered in cinnamon sugar and rolled into a giant cinnamon roll - the most amazing twist on the traditional roll, and perfect for Christmas morning.
Giant Skillet Cinnamon Roll with Cream Cheese Icing - from Holiday and Celebration bread in five minutes a day. No knead brioche is covered in cinnamon sugar and rolled into a giant cinnamon roll - the most amazing twist on the traditional roll, and perfect for Christmas morning.
Giant Skillet Cinnamon Roll with Cream Cheese Icing - from Holiday and Celebration bread in five minutes a day. No knead brioche is covered in cinnamon sugar and rolled into a giant cinnamon roll - the most amazing twist on the traditional roll, and perfect for Christmas morning.

I’ve been wanting to put a giant skillet cinnamon roll on here for ages. Like, since before regular cinnamon rolls were published here. But I never quite got around to it. I kept thinking about it, but it just never happened. Well, here we are. And it’s not just any giant skillet cinnamon roll. It’s the most epic giant skillet cinnamon roll of all, made with a stupid simple dough that requires only 30 seconds of kneading, and can be made up to 5 days in advance. The recipe is from my friend Zoë’s new book - Holiday and Celebration Bread in five minutes a day. This is Zoë’s fifth book, written alongside Jeff Hertzberg, M.D, and I can’t wait to bake my way through it.

The concept of the book is super simple (and super clever) - there are a bunch of base bread recipes, which are all incredibly versatile, and can be prepared in 5 minutes of active time. There are accompanying recipes for each base bread recipes (in a lot of cases you can use multiple doughs to make the same recipe), and the dough can be stored in the fridge, so one quick batch of dough will yield multiple bread projects. I’ve never made an overnight dough that is as easy to work with as these, and it doesn’t require the use of a mixer or loads of kneading. It’s just genius. The focus of this particular book is Holiday and Celebration breads, so it is jam packed full of holiday themed breads from different cultures.

This giant skillet cinnamon roll is pretty similar to the standard cinnamon roll recipe - except instead of rolling the dough up into a log and cutting rolls, you cut the dough into strips, and wind them into a tight spiral, forming one giant cinnamon roll. Once it is baked, it is loaded up with a dreamy cream cheese icing. The whole thing is perfect - super simple to make but an amazing twist on the traditional cinnamon roll. I know what I’m making for Christmas morning. I hope you pick up a copy of the book - there are so many incredible recipes in there, and it is a great introduction to bread if you haven’t made it before, as the base bread formulas and the overnight rest in the recipes produce a dough that is dreamy to work with and produces beautiful bread as a result.

A few wee tips:

  • The bread recipe here makes enough for two of these cinnamon rolls, or there are a whole heap more recipes in the book you can use the dough for. It will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can also halve the recipe if you like.

  • I tweaked the method slightly - using a little more dough than Zoë calls for, as she made the roll in an 8” skillet and I only had a 10”.

  • I also added in a wee step just to help keep the roll tight when forming the roll - once the dough is rolled out, you pop it onto a piece of parchment, then add the butter and sugar mixture. The whole thing is then quickly placed in the freezer just to help the dough firm slightly, which makes it a tiny bit easier to work with. You can skip this step if you like, it just makes the dough a bit harder to roll up.

  • To make this recipe into regular cinnamon rolls, you can roll out the dough, spread with the cinnamon mixture, then roll from the long side into a log, before cutting into rolls, placing into a buttered skillet, and proofing and baking in the same fashion as the giant roll.

  • If you can, make the recipe by volume - you can literally measure everything directly into the mixing bowl, which reduces dishes.

  • I used a Danish dough whisk to mix up the dough, but you can use a mixer with the paddle attachment, or a strong spoon.

 

 

Giant Skillet Cinnamon Roll with Cream Cheese Icing

- Makes one giant cinnamon roll -

Reprinted with Permission, from Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five Minutes a day

Brioche Dough
340g (1 1/2 cups) Lukewarm water (100˚f / 37˚c)
10g (1 Tbsp) granulated yeast
17g (1 Tbsp) kosher salt
340g (6 large eggs) eggs, lightly beaten
170g (1/2 cup) honey
340g (1 1/2 cups, 3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing the pan
990g (7 cups) all-purpose flour

Egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water, for brushing.

Filling
45g (3 Tbsp) melted butter, cooled slightly
75g (1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp) dark brown sugar
75g (1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp) granulated sugar
pinch salt
2 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Cream Cheese Icing
225g (8 oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
50g (6 Tbsp) powdered sugar
60ml (1/4 cup) heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla bean paste

- PROCESS -

BREAD DOUGH

Mix the water, yeast, salt, eggs, honey, and melted butter in a 6-quart bowl or a lidded (not airtight) food container

Mix in the flour without kneading, using a Danish dough whisk, a spoon, or a heavy-duty stand mixer (with paddle). If you’re not using a machine, you may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour. The dough will be loose but will firm up when chilled; don’t try to work with it before chilling.

Cover (not airtight), allow to rest at room temperature for 2 hours, and then refrigerate.

The dough can be used as soon as it’s thoroughly chilled, at least 3 hours. Refrigerate the container and use over the next 5 days.

 

FILLING AND ASSEMBLY

Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off an 800g piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom, rotating the dough a quarter turn as you go.

Knead the dough lightly for 30 seconds or so, then leave to rest for 5-10 minutes.

Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to a rectangle approximately 12” x 17” in size. Add more flour as needed to stop the dough from sticking. Place onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet dusted with flour.

Brush the surface of the dough all over with melted butter. In a small bowl, mix together the sugars, salt, and cinnamon. Spread the mixture over the butter-topped dough. Use your hands to make sure you have an even coat of the sugar.

Transfer the dough on the baking sheet to the freezer, and freeze for 15 minutes. While the dough is in the freezer, butter a 10” skillet or cake pan.

Remove from the freezer, and slide the parchment paper and dough off the baking sheet and onto the work surface. Trim the sides of the dough using a ruler and pastry cutter or sharp knife, so the edges are straight, then cut the dough lengthways using a ruler and pastry cutter into 1 1/2” strips.

Roll one of the strips into a tight coil. Place the coil on the next strip and roll that strip around the coil, connecting the two ends together. Repeat with the remaining strips of dough until you have a giant coil of dough. At some point, you will have to lay the coil in the skillet and wind the dough strips around the outside of it, or it will get too large.

Once you have finished coiling the roll, cover and allow to rest for 75 minutes. 20 minutes before the resting time is up, preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. Brush the roll with egg wash and bake for about 35 minutes, or until set in the middle. Allow to stand for 10 minutes, then ice with cream cheese icing.

CREAM CHEESE ICING

In a bowl using an electric mixer, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine all ingredients together and mix until well combined.

Store leftover cinnamon roll in an airtight container. Best reheated slightly in the microwave before eating.

Giant Skillet Cinnamon Roll with Cream Cheese Icing - from Holiday and Celebration bread in five minutes a day. No knead brioche is covered in cinnamon sugar and rolled into a giant cinnamon roll - the most amazing twist on the traditional roll, and perfect for Christmas morning.

Holiday and Celebration Bread in Five minutes a day is Copyright © Zoë Francois and Jeff Hertzber, M.D

Apple and Cardamom Babka


 
Apple and Cardamom brioche babka - lightly spiced babka dough is filled with a spiced brown sugar mixture and fresh apple, then rolled into a tight babka swirl. Inspired by the swedish cinnamon roll, this is a perfect fall baking project. #babka #cardamom #brioche
Apple and Cardamom brioche babka - lightly spiced babka dough is filled with a spiced brown sugar mixture and fresh apple, then rolled into a tight babka swirl. Inspired by the swedish cinnamon roll, this is a perfect fall baking project. #babka #cardamom #brioche
Apple and Cardamom brioche babka - lightly spiced babka dough is filled with a spiced brown sugar mixture and fresh apple, then rolled into a tight babka swirl. Inspired by the swedish cinnamon roll, this is a perfect fall baking project. #babka #cardamom #brioche
Apple and Cardamom brioche babka - lightly spiced babka dough is filled with a spiced brown sugar mixture and fresh apple, then rolled into a tight babka swirl. Inspired by the swedish cinnamon roll, this is a perfect fall baking project. #babka #cardamom #brioche
Apple and Cardamom brioche babka - lightly spiced babka dough is filled with a spiced brown sugar mixture and fresh apple, then rolled into a tight babka swirl. Inspired by the swedish cinnamon roll, this is a perfect fall baking project. #babka #cardamom #brioche
Apple and Cardamom brioche babka - lightly spiced babka dough is filled with a spiced brown sugar mixture and fresh apple, then rolled into a tight babka swirl. Inspired by the swedish cinnamon roll, this is a perfect fall baking project. #babka #cardamom #brioche
Apple and Cardamom brioche babka - lightly spiced babka dough is filled with a spiced brown sugar mixture and fresh apple, then rolled into a tight babka swirl. Inspired by the swedish cinnamon roll, this is a perfect fall baking project. #babka #cardamom #brioche

Hiii! I’ve written and re-written this little top bit a bunch of times now, and I can’t think of anything clever, or witty, or funny to say, or any context that goes along with this recipe other than it’s yum and I think that you should make it. It’s been a bit of a long week. I’ve seen on a few different places people complaining about having to scroll past this part of food blogs to get to the recipe, and how they think it’s bullshit. It keeps rolling round in my mind. That we have gotten to a place where we expect instant gratification. That everything should be served up on a platter for us. That all recipes should be free and available on the internet without having to spend an extra 2 seconds of precious life scrolling past the part where the person who puts hours into developing recipes gets to express themselves for a little bit I think it’s always interesting how people find literally ANYTHING to complain about, including having to do two extra finger scrolls to get down to the recipe they are getting for free. Anyway. That’s what is swimming round in my wee brain!

I’m coming at you today with a giant dose of autumn. Last year a friend shared her Mum’s Swedish cinnamon roll recipe with me. They are super cute little knots, loaded up with cardamom and cinnamon, and finished with pearl sugar. I’ve been meaning to turn them into a babka for a while now, so finally here we are.

I took my go-to brioche recipe, laced it with some warming spices, filled it with a similar filling to the Swedish rolls, but scattered some chopped apple over the filling before rolling it up nice and tight. I love how the apple and the spices play together, and I just can’t go past the swirls of a babka. When making babka I generally freeze the dough for an hour or so before rolling out to help the dough stay chilled and keep its shape better when cut, however this time I tried a slightly different method, and rolled out the dough, filled it and rolled it into a sausage, then chilled the rolled sausage for an hour or so to firm it up before cutting. This resulted in a super clean cut when it came to splitting the dough lengthwise, and made the shaping process much easier in my opinion. Definitely going to be my go-to babka method from now on!

A few wee tips:

  • This dough can be made the night before and proofed in the fridge for the first rise. If you do this you can skip the chilling step!

  • These would also make epic cinnamon rolls. After you have rolled the dough into a log, cut into 10-12 rolls, arrange in a greased baking pan, and follow the rising and baking directions - you may need to reduce baking time slightly so just keep a close eye!

  • The swedish sugar isn't necessary, but if you can get your hands on it, it's hugely worthwhile!

  • If you don’t have an apple on hand, you can omit it if you like!

 

 

Apple and Cardamom Babka

- Makes two loaves -

Bread Dough
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
200g (3/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp) whole milk, lukewarm
4 Tbsp (50g) sugar
565g (3 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
115g (8 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Filling
115g (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
150g (3/4 cup) dark brown sugar
3 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
One medium apple, peeled, cored and finely diced

Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 Tbsp water
Swedish pearl sugar to finish (optional)

 

- PROCESS -

BREAD DOUGH

In a small bowl, combine the yeast, milk and 2 Tbsp of the sugar. Mix well, and leave to sit for 10-15 minutes, or until foamy.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, salt, cardamom, cinnamon, and remaining 2 Tbsp sugar. Mix briefly to combine. Add the eggs, vanilla, and foamy yeast mixture to the bowl. Mix on low for 2-3 minutes, until the dough is starting to come together. It may look slightly dry but do not worry - it will mix together nicely in the next steps. Increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for another 10 minutes, until the dough is soft and smooth. 

Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add the butter a little at a time, waiting until it is fully incorporated into the dough before adding the next piece. This process should take 3-4 minutes. Once the butter is fully incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for a further 5 minutes, until the dough is very soft and smooth. 

Transfer to an oiled bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in a warm spot until doubled in size, approximately 1 - 1 1/2 hours. 

 

FILLING AND ASSEMBLY

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place all of the filling ingredients except for the apple in a small bowl, and mix well to combine.

Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a rectangle 16” x 24”, squaring off with a bench scraper as you roll to make sure it is as even as possible. Using an offset spatula, spread the filling mixture over the surface of the dough, then sprinkle with the chopped apple.

Starting from the long side of the dough, roll up the dough into a tight spiral. Measure the length of the sausage of dough, then cut in half so it is in two sausages. Place these pieces side by side on the lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for an hour.

Line two loaf pans with a parchment paper ‘sling’. Remove the chilled dough sausages from the fridge. Working with one at a time, using a sharp knife, cut the first piece in half, lengthwise, and then cross the pieces over each other, and then cross over two more times to form a twist (this video also explains well). Place into the loaf pan, tucking the ends under slightly if needed. Repeat with the second half of the dough.

Lightly cover the loaf pans in plastic wrap, and place in a warm place to rise for an hour to 90 minutes, or until the dough springs back lightly when pressed. While the loaves are proofing, preheat the oven to 350˚f / 180˚c. 

Brush the loaves lightly with egg wash, and sprinkle with Swedish pearl sugar if desired. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the loaves are golden brown and the internal temperature registers 200˚F / 90˚c. Remove from the oven and cool completely before slicing. Store leftovers in an airtight container, or wrap tightly before freezing.

Apple and Cardamom brioche babka - lightly spiced babka dough is filled with a spiced brown sugar mixture and fresh apple, then rolled into a tight babka swirl. Inspired by the swedish cinnamon roll, this is a perfect fall baking project. #babka #cardamom #brioche