Day 8: Snowflake Buns

Family traditions. I didn’t really grow up with any. For this reason, I think I may overcompensate a bit with my family now. This all makes me wonder. How does a family tradition get started?

Today’s bread is not a tradition in any other place but our house. I first made these buns 7 or 8 years ago and we all fell in love with them. Every time I eat one, I catch myself thinking, “this is the best thing I have ever eaten.”

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Really, though. What’s not to like? The bun is made of a very rich and soft brioche dough. Generous amounts of chocolate and kirsch soaked dried cherries are rolled into the dough on baking day. Then, it is topped with a snowflake-shaped sugar cookie, glazed with egg wash, sprinkled with pearl sugar, and baked until puffy and lightly browned.

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Somehow, I think it is the sugar cookie that takes the whole thing over the top into the land of Super Special Christmas Treat. I make the dough periodically year-round, but I only make it with the sugar cookie on top during the holidays. When the bun is eaten just warm out of the oven, the sweet crunch of the cookie on top of the pillowy brioche is enough to make anyone love it, but if you get a soft melted bit of chocolate or a sweet-tart cherry, it might make you swoon.

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Of all the Christmas treats I make every year, this is my personal favorite and one that I hope to be making for many years to come. Maybe, it’s because this treat is one that we all sort of found together. It’s not something I “borrowed” from another culture. This is something we all look forward to every year and our anticipation and enjoyment of it brings us together; brings us closer. Now, as always, it is important for all of us to cherish our loved ones. Eat together. Bake together. Talk. The traditions will follow.

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The recipe I use is the one for Baking Team USA Caps that you can find in the wonderful book, Artisan Baking. Aside from the wonderful recipes, I love that all of the recipes in this book are from small, artisan bakeries all across America.

Now, don’t forget to leave comments for the give-away! Today, will you tell me about your favorite family holiday tradition? I love to hear about other families’ traditions!

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Posted on December 17, 2012, in Baking, Holiday, Recipe reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. My family is Swedish by decent and we feel the same way about our shingle bread and lefsa! Traditions are important!!!!

  2. When I married, we blended some traditions (white vs. colored lights), resurrected some that had fallen to the wayside (handmade things), and elevated the foods that we loved from mediocrity by using better ingredients than our parents had used. Food traditions we now have include the Swedish fruitcake with the homemade candied peel and a fresh gravlox on Christmas Eve. This list could go on for paragraphs more, but let me divulge the most favorite food tradition of all for my sons: blueberry porridge on Christmas morning. This top secret recipe from the wilds of Ontario isn’t oat based but is more than capable of holding up a spoon in a bowlful.

  3. Paige Eickelberg

    Those look over the top wonderful. Could you even think of saving one for me? My only cooking traditions have to do with cookies and nothing super special. I do love my thumbprints with pink and green buttercream icing in the center. They are my favorite Christmas cookie and I think they look so pretty.

  4. Wow, those look delicious! It has been tricky blending family traditions but we have come to having cheese fondue (swiss – an upgrade in my opinion from my parent’s cheddar) on Christmas Eve, then sticky buns on Christmas morning (with a slightly adapted recipe), and then my husband’s family tradition of ebelskivers on the day after Christmas. How we work out opening presents is another tradition conversation!!

  5. I just love the snowflakes you decorated your buns with. It looks like such a light bread and must taste delicious with the dried cherries and chocolate. What a great tradition!

  6. Wow those buns look delicious but labor intensive. I guess all the work pays off if they’re your favorite.
    Our family traditions include: 3 angels on the top of the tree – each one made by one of the children in preschool; also, we always huddle together on one sofa and read “The Night Before Christmas” on Christmas Eve. .

  7. These do look scrumptious!
    For a time I made Irish Soda Bread on Christmas morning, which we ate while we opened presents. Somehow, that has faded, and more recently, I’ve been making lasagne for Christmas dinner. I remember my mom doing this, and I remember her telling me how much joy it brought her to prepare the meal for the family. A little more ‘mature’ and with grandchildren of my own now, I understand and am grateful for her memory.

  8. You really put in a lot of work on these buns and it shows, they look delightful!

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