Every other week, Anna Hezel talks about the innovations, decorations, and other quiet touches that make a party memorable.
Today: How to host a kid-friendly brioche and hot chocolate party.
A few winters ago, my sister Amy was baking bread for a family get-together, and she had an idea. With the scraps of dough that she didn't use in the loaves, she had all of the kids make little snowmen, repurposing various odds and ends of ingredients to create the face and arms.
This year, the snowmen made a reappearance at breakfast on a snowy morning when I baked a batch of Dorie Greenspan's brioche for my family and hot chocolate for my nieces and nephews. Dorie Greenspan's recipe is great because it's so versatile -- it tastes wonderful with some finely chopped candied grapefruit peel or slivers of chocolate mixed in, or just on its own, with some confectioner's sugar sifted on top. However, you can also make these snowmen with scraps of dough from pizza, challah, or pretty much any yeast bread dough, as long as you follow the recipe's instructions for rising, proofing, and baking.
I may be in the minority on this, but I'm pretty sure a brioche snowman, a couple clementines, and some rich hot chocolate creates a balanced breakfast. I'd recommend pairing the brioche with SavvyJulie's Perfect Hot Chocolate, or motease's Cardamom Hot Chocolate for adults and kids with eclectic taste in hot beverages.
And if you have a little time to plan ahead, be sure to include some homemade marshmallows. Caitlin Freeman's Moonshine Marshmallows are great, and the moonshine can be easily swapped out for a little splash of vanilla to make a kid-friendly version.
- Brioche, pizza, or other bread dough
- One egg whisked with 2 tablespoons of water
- A few little slivers of candied orange peel
- Sprigs of thyme
Follow the instructions for the brioche or bread that you are making. When it comes time to form the dough into loaves or buns, roll the dough into little balls, a little smaller than golf balls. Join these together in little stacks of three so that they look like snowmen, and space these out on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
Allow the dough to proof for an hour (or as instructed in recipe), and then brush with the egg mixture. Use the currants to create eyes and the orange peel as a nose. Stick a short sprig of thyme into each side of the snowman to act as arms.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until snowmen are golden-brown and sound hollow when tapped.
Photos by Anna Hezel