Sometimes I have issues with humility. I have no problem asking people for compliments, especially when it comes to food.
I think the trouble lies in the fact that I rarely make up recipes. So when I make something, all credit for how the food tastes goes to the recipe creator. If I compliment my own food, in my mind it’s really just a shout out to the person who came up with the idea. And okay, perhaps acknowledgement that I picked out an awesome recipe.
This habit has spread. Just ask Eric. Poor guy probably doesn’t live a day without hearing me say, Eric, did you notice that I curled my hair? Or Eric, do you like my new shirt? Or Eric, can you tell me that I look nice? Seriously. Maybe you think this is pathetic, but I feel really happy when people compliment me, and my brain doesn’t distinguish between legit compliments and ones that are begged for.
(By the way, Eric is not even close to stingy on the legit compliments. For being a guy, he really notices a lot. I guess I’m just ultra needy.)
I became infamous for this in Indiana. One time I was at a baby shower and brought cinnamon rolls. Imagine the best cinnamon roll you’ve ever had. These rolls kicked your rolls’ butt. So. Good.
Everyone was talking about them. A friend of mine came to the shower a little late and had missed the fuss. She came up to me with a half-eaten roll and said Karen, these rolls— and I actually interrupted her: I know. They’re awesome.
She laughed forever. She thought it was so funny that I would compliment myself so blatantly. No! It’s the recipe that’s awesome, not me! No way. I have never lived it down. To this day whenever I see her, I make a point to tell her just how awesome my food tastes.
I had so much fun making this Santa Bread. I was borderline-giddy when he started to look recognizable. Isn’t he just adorable? I was worried that the bread would taste mediocre (sometimes things that look pretty just don’t taste that good) but I was not disappointed. It is rich bread that is on the sweet side. I served it with this Cinnamon Honey Butter, which is also amazing. This recipe is a little time consuming, but not hard. The beard looks intimidating, but if I can do it you can too. And don’t worry. You will not have to fish for compliments if you make this bread.
Golden Santa Bread
Source: Taste of Home
4 to 4-1/2 cups bread flour (I only used 4 and my dough was a little too stiff, so be careful)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons yeast
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup butter, cubed
2 egg yolks
2 to 3 drops red food coloring (I used way more than this)
- In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast and salt. In a small saucepan, heat the milk, water and butter to 120°-130° (or do it in the micro like I did). Add to dry ingredients; beat just until moistened. Beat in the eggs until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a stiff dough.
- Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, at least an hour and a half, mine took 2.
- Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into two portions, one slightly larger than the other.
- Shape the larger portion into an elongated triangle with rounded corners for Santa’s head and hat. Transfer to a large greased cookie sheet.
- Divide the smaller portion in half. Shape and flatten one half into a beard. Using scissors or a pizza cutter, cut into strips to within 1 in. of top. Cut the strips pretty thin so that they are easier to twist. Position on Santa’s face; twist and curl strips.
- Use the remaining dough for the mustache, nose, hat pom-pom and brim. Shape a portion of dough into a mustache; flatten and cut the ends into small strips with scissors. Place above beard. Place a small ball above mustache for nose. Fold tip of hat over and add another ball for pom-pom. Roll out a narrow piece of dough to create a hat brim; position under hat.
- With a scissors, cut two slits for eyes; insert raisins into slits. In separate small bowls, beat egg each yolk. Brush plain yolk over portions of dough that will not be red. Add red food coloring to one yolk; carefully brush over hat, nose and cheeks. (You have to do the regular yolk first otherwise the color will run.)
- Cover loosely with foil. Do not let the foil touch the bread at all, otherwise it will stick to it and when you try to remove it, it will tear your bread. Let dough rise at least another half hour. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes. Uncover; bake 10-12 minutes longer or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Take pictures. Bask in the admiration of whoever sees it.