Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

I made a traditional Italian Easter Bread for my campus kids this weekend.  I hope they enjoy it!  I've seen similar recipes around the web, but they all have dyed eggs in the center or around the sides.  I didn't have any eggs to spare and didn't want the eggs to go bad sitting in a guy's dorm room, so I chose to skip the eggs and just make the "nests".

The dough was soft and a little challenging to work with at first, I thought.  But, the flavor was incredible!  The recipe makes 4 loaves, but I only needed to make 3, so I used the rest of the dough to make cinnamon rolls for my sweetie... He LOVES his cinnamon rolls.  (I took out a portion of the dough before adding the anise... licorice and cinnamon together might be a little too over the top for his taste buds.)

This is a sweet bread, made even sweeter with the addition of a sugar glaze and sprinkles.  The anise seed is optional, but I'm glad I added it.  The "licorice" taste paired beautifully with the sweet bread.

Out of sprinkles?  No worries! I saw another variation that used pearl sugar instead of the glaze/sprinkles.  That would be good too, but seeing that I had sprinkles...well, the rest is history.

You know what else is history?  These loaves...  Don't just take my word for it.  Make a batch yourself and see how quickly they disappear. If you need to see Nutrition Facts, hop on over to my recipage, here.

Buona Pasqua!  (Or, Happy Easter!)

Easter Bread

by Raye
Prep Time: 20 minutes (+3 hours to rise)
Cook Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients (4 loaves)
  • 2-1/4 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1-1/4 c. scalded milk, cooled to room temperature
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 c. butter, softened
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 c. white sugar
  • 3-4 c. all purpose (or bread) flour
  • 1 Tbsp melted butter (for brushing)
  • sprinkles
  • 1/4 c. confectioners sugar
  • 1-2 tsp water
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine yeast, warm milk, sugar, butter and salt. Add eggs, anise seed (if using) and 2 cups of the flour. Mix until a smooth batter forms.
  2. Switch to using a bread hook, or continue with the recipe manually. Slowly add more flour (1/2 cup at a time) until the batter is no longer sticky. Knead until smooth and elastic (dough will be soft, but shouldn't be sticky).
  3. Place dough in an oiled bowl and turn once to coat the top. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled, approximately 2 hours.
  4. Punch down and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope, approximately 1/2 inch wide and 14 inches long. Pinch the top of 3 ropes together and braid them. Pinch the bottom of the braid together, then bend the braid around and press the ends together to form a circle.
  5. Transfer each circle to a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining sections.
  6. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for another hour.
  7. Preheat oven to 350*F. Brush the tops of each loaf with melted butter. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
  8. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Meanwhile, stir together confectioners sugar and water to make a glaze. Brush the cooled loaves with glaze and top with sprinkles.
  9. Serve immediately, or wrap cooled loaves in plastic wrap until ready to devour.
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  1. Cute! They look perfect and sound tasty. I'm sure your boys loved them.

  2. These loaves look beautiful! I am sure they taste great too...Momma

    1. Thanks, guys! They were fun to make!


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