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When Santa Joined Us For Tea - Golden Santa Bread!

Posted Dec 24 2012 12:00am

W
ho doesn’t love the idea of Santa bringing you gifts while you sleep? And then the almost unbearable excitement of tearing open the gifts to see what being good for the whole year has translated into? There are a lot of things one loses when one grows up, and I think one of things that we have lost most is the child in us. The little joys like believing in a Santa Claus (or the equivalents of all that’s good) and living in the moment.
So as a small child, she went to sleep on Christmas Eve worrying if Santa would remember her (how could he remember them all?), if she had been good enough to warrant a visit, and if he knew his way to leave presents for a kid who lived in a house without chimneys!



 
And as parents, we used to enjoy shopping for presents, and waiting till she was asleep to wrap up and hide them away, and then wait with eager anticipation (perhaps more than her) to see her face light up with happiness on opening her presents.
This went on until she was about 7 or 8 when we overheard her telling her cousin brother that Santa was an imaginary figure (he wanted to know why Santa didn’t visit him!) and that it was we who got her the gifts while pretending to be him. She went on further to explain that if she told us that she knew the truth, she would stop getting gifts for Christmas!! So that was the end of the magic and fun of Santa and Christmas magic. So though, Christmas no longer holds the delight it used to, we still get affected by the season. It’s cooler for one thing, and there are signs of Christmas everywhere. Bright stars and twinkling lights, Santa Clauses – both cut-outs and pretend ones, trees (even though plastic) and decorations, Christmas songs and carollers, bakery windows full of all manners of festive cakes and confections…………………….. You can see all my posts this month have been kind of Christmassy too. And here’s one more that’s really in the spirit of the season, a Santa Bread. If you know me, you know my love for baking bread and even more so if it’s shaped bread. I came across this lovely Santa Bread while looking for something else and knew it had to be baked.



  I halved the original recipe because my baking tray and oven would not take a large one. While my Santa doesn’t look as cute as the original, I’d like to think he’s not too bad. I stuck to recipe pretty much apart from adding some cardamom and lemon zest. I also discovered, at the last minute that I had run out of red colouring so I used a mixture of fresh beetroot juice and a bit of turmeric to give me the right shade of red. And that’s how Santa joined us for tea! As for the bread, it’s a light version of brioche (smaller quantities of butter, egg, sugar) and makes for a very soft and tasty bread. Serve it any way you want, plain or with accompaniments. Either way, no one will be able to resist it. 
Golden Santa Bread (Slightly adapted from Taste Of Home )  
Ingredients:
2 to 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1/4 cup sugar  2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast 3/4 tsp salt 3 to 4 pods cardamom, powdered 1 tsp lemon zest 1/4 cup milk 1/8 cup water 25gm butter, cubed 1 egg 2 raisins (for the eyes) Milk/ cream for glaze 1 to 2 drops red food colouring  
Method: 
I mixed my dough in the food processor but you can do this by hand. Put 2 cups of flour, the sugar, yeast, salt, cardamom and lemon zest in the processor bowl and pulse a couple of times to mix together. Heat the milk, water and butter in a small saucepan till just warm. Add this to the processor and pulse till well mixed. Add the egg and knead until you have a reasonably soft and elastic dough. Add as much of the remaining flour as needed to get this consistency. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a well-oiled bowl, turning the douh to coat it completely. Cover and let it rise till almost double in volume (about 1 to 1 1/2 hours). Deflate the dough and divide it into two portions, one slightly larger than the other. Working on a lightly floured work surface, shape the larger portion of dough into an elongated triangle with rounded corners for Santa's head and hat. Divide the smaller portion in half. Flatten out one potion into a circle and fold in half to a semi-circle. Flatten and shape this into a beard. Using scissors or a pizza cutter, cut into strips to within 1”. of top. Cut the strips rather thin as they will rise and become thicker while baking. Position the beard on Santa's face, and twist and curl the strips for a prettier looking beard!      Use the remaining dough to make a moustache, nose, a brim and a pom-pom for Santa’s hat.  Shape a portion of dough into a mustache; flatten and cut the ends into small strips with scissors. Place this above the beard. Then place a small ball above the moustache for nose. Fold the tip of hat over and add another ball for pom-pom. Roll out a narrow piece of dough to create a hat brim, and position under hat.  Cut two small slits for eyes, with scissors, and place the raisins in them.     Divide the milk/ cream for glazing between two small bowls. Add the red food colour to one and brush this over Santa’s hat and lightly on the cheeks to add a little colour to his face. Brush the plain milk/ cream over remaining dough.  Cover the dough loosely with foil and bake at 180C (350F) for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake for a further 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Serve with coffee or tea. This recipe makes one small loaf for about 4 people. Double the ingredients for a bigger Santa bread.   This Santa Bread is being YeastSpotted !       I think this post is the perfect occasion to thank you all for supporting this blog by just being here and to wish all my friends and readers, including those of you who might not say anything but continue to make my blogging worthwhile by your prescence, a very Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays. I also wish you all a very Happy New Year, well in advance.    

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