This braided sweet bread looks as festive as it tastes thanks to a ripple of a vibrant stove-top cranberry-hibiscus jam.

Kate Ramos
Source: Better Homes and Gardens

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Credit: Carson Downing

Recipe Summary test

hands-on:
30 mins
total:
5 hrs 5 mins
Servings:
12
Yield:
1 loaf
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • For the jam: In a medium saucepan combine cranberries, the 1/3 cup granulated sugar, the orange juice, hibiscus flowers (if using), and 1/4 cup water. Bring to simmering, stirring to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat. Gently simmer, uncovered, about 15 minutes or until slightly thickened. Let cool 15 minutes; transfer mixture to a blender and blend to a smooth puree. Cool completely. You should have 2/3 cup jam (it thickens as it cools; stir before using).

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  • For the babka: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook* combine flour, milk, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, the eggs, yeast, and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt. Mix on low until combined. Increase speed to medium and knead 8 minutes. Add butter, one piece at a time, beating until combined after each.

  • Coat a medium bowl with nonstick cooking spray; transfer dough to the bowl. (Dough will be very sticky; use floured hands or a rubber spatula.) Cover; let rise in a warm place 2 to 3 hours or until doubled in size.

  • Turn out dough onto a generously floured work surface. Sprinkle with more flour; pat dough into a 12×9-inch rectangle. Spread jam in an even layer over rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border all the way around. Starting from a long side, roll dough into as tight a log as you can without the jam squeezing out. Pinch edges of dough to seal.

  • Cut the log in half lengthwise, exposing the jam. Lay the two pieces, jam side up, side by side. Twist the two pieces around each other. Pinch ends together and fold them under the loaf.

  • Coat a 9×5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Lay the babka in the pan. Cover; let rise in a warm place 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until it has risen slightly above the edge of the pan.

  • Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake babka about 35 minutes or until golden brown, firm to the touch, and the internal temperature reaches 190°F.

  • Meanwhile, in a small saucepan combine the remaining 3 Tbsp. granulated sugar and 3 Tbsp. water. Bring to boiling, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat; let syrup cool slightly.

  • Remove babka from oven and brush generously with syrup while still warm. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. Remove babka from pan; cool at least 15 minutes more. Store, covered, at room temperature, 1 to 2 days. Serves 12.

Tips

If you don't have a mixer with a dough hook, stir together 1 1/2 cups of the flour, the milk, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, the eggs, yeast, and 1/2 tsp. kosher salt with a wooden spoon. Stir in butter pieces, one at a time, until mixed in (it should take 5 to 6 minutes). Stir in the remaining flour until satiny and elastic (about 3 minutes). Continue as directed in Step 3.

Nutrition Facts

190 calories; fat 5g; cholesterol 42mg; saturated fat 3g; carbohydrates 32g; mono fat 2g; insoluble fiber 1g; sugars 15g; protein 4g; vitamin a 193.3IU; vitamin c 3.2mg; thiamin 0.2mg; riboflavin 0.2mg; niacin equivalents 1.4mg; folate 51.7mcg; vitamin b12 0.1mcg; sodium 65mg; potassium 67mg; calcium 22mg; iron 1.2mg.
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