This is the kind of bread that initially seems a bit fussy, yet is really so simple, not to mention a delicious happy treat. The standup mixer kneads the dough, the food processors makes the cinnamon date caramel like filling, the only steps "to do" are assembly: roll out circles, layer them, then twist the sections together. And most of the prep is done the evening before, making it a perfect breakfast treat to wake up to.
If the snowflake/flower design still seems too much, you can always make cinnamon rolls with the exact same recipe, simply make the brioche, follow the risings, make the filling, and when it comes time to assembly roll out the dough in one rectangle, spread the filling, roll up, and slice in 12 rolls before the final rise and bake.
To make the Brioche you'll need:
1½ teaspoons active dry yeast
⅓ cup warm, but not hot, milk
11/2 cups all purpose flour*
1/2 cup white spelt flour*
1/2 cup whole wheat flour*
½ cup butter, softened
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
* You can also make this using simply 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, rather than the mixture of AP flour, whole wheat, and spelt.
Add yeast and warmed milk to the bowl for your stand up mixer. Stir to combine, cover and let stand for 5 minutes until it blooms.
Add in the flours, butter, eggs, sugar, and salt. Mix on low with the paddle attachment just until combined then switch to the hook attachment and knead on low speed for 5-10 min or until the dough looks smooth and slightly glossy. The dough will be very sticky as its an enriched dough.
Cover and let rise for 1 hour in a warm place.
Then transfer to a container and refrigerate the dough overnight. This will not only deepen the flavor and give the dough time to gently rise, chilled dough will make assembly much easier.
The next morning make the filling first, keeping the dough chilled right up until rolling and layering.
For the Filling you'll need:
5 tablespoons butter, softened
13 medjool dates, that have been pitted, and soaked in hot water for 10 min to soften
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Drain the dates, place in a food processor, and wiz until a smooth puree. Add in the butter, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. I use salted butter, if you use unsalted, add a scant pinch of salt. Wiz until all the ingredients are mixed together into a smooth delicious filing.
Line a large baking pan or work surface with parchment paper for ease in transferring.
Take the dough out of the fridge, and divide the dough into 4 equal portions. On a lightly floured work surface roll one portion of dough to a circle, I use the base of a 9inch cake pan as a rough template. No need to be perfect, and you can patch parts of the circle together.
Place the first circle on the parchment paper, spread with ⅓ of the filling.
Roll out another portion of dough and place it on top, spread with an additional ⅓ of the filling. Repeat once more, rolling out the last portion of dough and placing it on top.
Use a small glass to create a mini center circle as a guide for the stack. Gently press the glass into the surface to leave a slight imprint. Leaving the center circle whole, use a sharp knife to cut the layered dough first into quarters. Then cut each quarter into 4 equal parts creating a total of 16 sections.
Take two sections of dough side by side and twist each section in the opposite direction. Twist each section 3 times and on the third time pinch the ends together to form a point.
Let the bread rise in a warm place for 30 minutes, meanwhile preheat the oven to 350F. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned and cooked through to the center.
You can leave the bread as is, dust with powdered sugar, or create a simple glaze. I finished ours off with a glaze made of 3 tablespoons salted butter, 4 tablespoons honey, simply brought to a boil for about 30 seconds then brushed on top of the bread. It adds a faint hint of sweetness, yet really works to keep the bread from drying out.