So Zac and I and a handful of our friends started this thing called the Whole Life Challenge about a week ago. It isn't a diet, or workout routine - but it is 8 weeks of making lifestyle changes to form healthy habits. What we like about this challenge is that it's played like a game. You have a team which holds you accountable and you earn "points" for completing tasks for the day such as 10 minutes of exercise, or drinking water. We're one week in and so far it's going great! I have more energy, wake up easier, and realized that I was living my life in a probable state of dehydration before the challenge. Things are certainly coming along!
What we don't like about the challenge (or at least what I don't like) are the food restrictions. I know I will thank myself in the long run and that I definitely have habits that need fixing BUUUUT baked goods are really good and they aren't allowed. Obviously this poses a challenge having a baking blog. I've decided that I'll only be tasting rather than eating an entire cake over the course of a week. Sure, I'll be losing a point but we're taking baby steps here. I'm excited to see how the rest of the challenge goes!
This week I knew I wanted to make something with yeast. I have two big jars of dry-active yeast sitting on my pantry shelf that needed some attention. I thought about bread, but settled on a cinnamon bun. My goal was the consistency of a mall-type Cinnabon - gooey and almost half-baked on the inside and dripping with butter and sugar. This bun is insanely gluttonous and topped with cream cheese frosting for good measure.
My cinnamon wreath was more bread-like and tasted more like cinnamon and sugar than butter. It peeled apart delicately and held shape well. Post-cinnamon wreath I thought about the mall-type in the same way you think about yourself in high school. "Why did I think that was a good idea?" This Nut Lover's Cinnamon Wreath is stuffed with pistachios, sliced almonds, and chopped pecans. You could really add any kind of nuts you want though! This recipe can be easily formed into individual buns as well. Enjoy!
Nut Lover's Cinnamon Wreath
Adapted From: Food Network
1/4-ounce package yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup scalded milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
3-1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup melted butter, plus more for pan
3/4 cup sugar, plus more for pan
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup nuts of your choice (I did 1/4 cup each pecans, pistachios, almonds)
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water and set aside
2. In a large bowl, mix milk, sugar, butter, salt, and egg.
3. Add 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth. Add yeast mixture.
4. Mix in remaining flour until dough is easy to handle
5. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for 5-10 minutes. Place in a well-greased bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place for 1 to 1-1/2 hours. I usually turn my oven to 200 degrees, turn it off and the let the dough sit inside.
6. When doubled in size, punch dough dough. Roll out on a floured surface into a 15x9" rectangle.
7. Spread melted butter all over dough. Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over buttered dough along with the assorted nuts.
8. Beginning with the 15-inch side, roll up dough and pinch edge together to seal. To make individual buts, cut thick slices of the log. For wreath, first coat bottom of baking pan with butter and sugar and then move log to the pan. Next, cut entire log down LENGTH-WISE and twist each half over the other while moving in a circle to form the wreath.
9. Brush exposed dough with butter and sprinkle with turbinado sugar and allow dough to rise another 45 minutes.
10. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for about 30-35 minutes.
Photos by: Zac Wolf Photography