eggnog cinnamon swirl bread
The Christmas season always brings with it a flood of memories and emotions for me (all of which, mind you, are grossly exaggerated right now thanks to my physical status. Pretty sure I teared up after watching a life insurance commercial the other day).
It reminds me of gatherings with old friends; glittering, nostalgic memories of waiting for Santa to come deliver our presents on Christmas Eve; spending my first Christmas with my husband when he surprised me by decorating our entire place (indoors) with Christmas lights.
It also reminds me of the ones I’ve loved and lost — my sweet grandfathers who never ceased to make me laugh and whom I miss terribly with an aching, gutting feeling every year as the snow begins to fall; and my loving aunt, whose two young boys will be without their mother for the first time this holiday.
Most of all, it reminds of how ridiculously blessed we are in this life. I say this humbly, because I know there are so many hurting and alone this season. Sometimes I feel that pain in my own life, too. And sometimes I feel it for others so much that I become paralyzed with indecision on how to help them. Do I send cookies? A card? Do I just offer a hug? A sympathetic tweet or Facebook message? Will I sound selfish? Aloof? Sometimes I feel like a drop of a few coins in a red bucket outside of the mall just isn’t helpful, so I don’t even do it. Sometimes I clean out our cupboards and completely forget to set aside a few pantry items for the local food shelf. We send money to a child in India, but sometimes I forget we even divvy out that payment every month. Is that enough? Why do I become so overwhelmed by the needs of others that I neglect them?
Oy. I know this is heavy stuff and I don’t mean to be such a downer right when we should be thinking about Christmas cookies and decking the halls and baking eggnog cinnamon swirl bread. It’s just that sometimes, I need to get this out. I need to chat with you and let you know where I am right now, in this life. And right now I’m feeling like I need to be doing more, giving more, loving more. Christmas always reminds me of that.
And yet, I know there is something so gracious and generous in offering a hug, or a plate of cookies to a neighbor. I know there is something loving and wonderful in letting someone know you thought about him or her that day, even if it came through a message online. I know that if I was hurting, and someone invited me over for a cup of hot cocoa and a slice of fresh, warm cinnamon swirl bread, it would help. It might not solve the problem — just as the drop of a few coins into a red bucket won’t give every single person food and shelter and warm clothing this season — but it would certainly help.
I baked this eggnog-spiced cinnamon swirl bread in a moment of recognition that I am so dang lucky to be looking forward to the holidays. I mean yes, there will still be family drama aplenty and we’re traveling by airplane, which always gives me the slight willies — but overall, I have no complaints, no apprehensions. I’m going from one warm, cookie and joy-filled home to another. I get to celebrate the season with the people on this earth I love the most. I get to bake homemade bread and eat it, too.
I hope so much that wherever you are this season, you are able to count your blessings. I hope you, too, are going from one warm, cookie-filled home to another (or staying put in your own, away from the cold). I hope that the joy and peace of the season overwhelms you more than the bitterness and sadness. And I hope you bake this bread and share it with someone you love or who is in need, or both. It might not be much, but it’s something. And something is always better than nothing.Print
Eggnog Cinnamon Swirl Bread
- Prep Time: 2 hours 50 mins
- Cook Time: 45 mins
- Total Time: 3 hours 35 mins
- Yield: 1 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf 1x
For the dough:
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) instant yeast
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
- 1 cup warm eggnog (about 120 degrees F)
For the filling:
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water (egg wash)
For the streusel topping:
- 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
For the eggnog glaze:
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons eggnog
- In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, yeast, salt, and cinnamon. Add butter and warm eggnog. Stir until combined.
- Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and knead 10 minutes, adding more flour as needed until a smooth, elastic and only slightly sticky dough forms OR using dough hook attachment, knead dough in stand mixer on medium speed 5 minutes, adding more flour as needed until a smooth, elastic and only slightly sticky dough forms.
- Shape dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place 1 1/2 to 2 hours until nearly doubled.
- Punch down dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a 16-by-8-inch rectangle. Brush with egg wash, then reserve egg wash for later. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, flour and cinnamon; sprinkle evenly over dough.
- Starting from one short end, tightly roll up the dough into a log. Pinch seam to seal. Place dough seam-side down in a lightly greased 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pan (a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan also works). Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap and let rise 1 hour in a warm place until the dough comes about 1 inch over the top of the pan.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, combine flour, sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or your fingers until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Brush top of loaf with reserved egg wash. Carefully sprinkle and pat streusel mixture on top of dough, being careful not to deflate dough.
- Bake loaf 45 to 50 minutes until golden brown. Tent with foil halfway through if top of loaf gets brown too quickly. Cool loaf 5 minutes in pan, then carefully remove and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
- In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar and eggnog to make a glaze. Drizzle glaze over fully cooled bread. Let set before slicing.
Keywords: Christmas, Holidays
MMMM…… That praline topping covered in glaze? I definitely have to try this on my weekend off.
I am always one to look for food to help fix things; you have summed it up right here. Christmas is a time of increased sadness, especially for the ones who have lost someone recently or do not have supportive friends and family. However Christmas also means increased positivity, so I guess it helps balance things out and makes us look towards making a better future for ourselves.
Gah! This sounds soooo good!!
Good morning and season’s greetings (amd eatings!!), and thank you for your courage and honesty in summing up the feelings we all struggle with at this time of year. How bittersweet this time can be, as so many of us share the same feelings of happiness, hope, help, love for one another, being overwhelmed, sadness of losses for our selves and others, and the ultimate peace that comforts us whatever our station as we trust in the true reason for the Christmas season. Dry your tears and know this world is a far better place for you being in it. There is much to be thankful for, and ways you can help everyday by being a blessing to others through your blog and daily life. God has blessed you with special gifts to share with others, and so much to look forward to. Enjoy every moment, take care of yourself and that precious growing baby, and remember we love ya!
I know exactly what you mean, I’ve got a friend who is struggling right now and I want to make her holiday a little merrier, but don’t know what to do. I’m thinking cookie plate! This bread, omg, I can only imagine cutting a slice and stuffing my face with it!
Belinda — I completely agree — it’s nice that the season can bring out such positivity. 🙂 Thanks, dear!
Katrina — Thanks, lady!
Kiki — Oh, thank you so much for your sweet and kind comment! You’re right — focusing on the true reason for the season is such a blessing in itself, and one I try to focus on consistently this time of year. 🙂 Thank you.
Steph — I think a cookie plate would be perfect. 🙂 Thanks, friend!
Look at that gorgeous swirl! Absolutely in love with this fluffy, fragrant bread, Steph. My mom is obsessed with cinnamon-swirl and I just might have to make this for her over the holidays. Have a very merry Christmas!
This post was so touching! You’re so giving and thoughtful of others, and reading this made me realize I need to make some changes and give more to others in need.
High fives for eggnog bread! LOVING the cinnamon swirl! And congrats on climbing on board with ZipList – they’re a hoot! 🙂
I loved this post so much. I’ve seriously been thinking about the same things and wrote a very similar post earlier this week. I feel like Christmas amplifies emotions–both the good and the bad. So if you’re already hurting, Christmas can just be like salt on a wound. I don’t think there’s anything “downer” like about this. It’s just being honest, and recognizing that there’s people hurting in the midst of all the joy of this season. I’ve struggled a lot with feeling so overwhelmed that I don’t do anything at all, but I think you’re on the right track with this post. Sometimes you just have to do one thing. That’s been my mantra for the year. Do one thing. You won’t solve the world’s problems, but sometimes a tray of cookies can help put at least one stitch in someone’s broken heart. Love it!
If you’re interested in my post from last year on doing one thing, you can find it here! http://www.neighborfoodblog.com/2013/01/a-single-word-for-2013.html
I loved this post! You are amazing girl. This really is the time of year to be thankful for what you have but to recognize and give back to people who aren’t as lucky.
This eggnog bread sounds fantastic!
I know how you feel.
Oh this looks so fantastic! So creative!