Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Loaf (Blueberry Cream Cheese Braided Loaf)

Mom instilled within me countless pearls of wisdom—among them, how to make “the loaf.” So in honor of Mother's Day, I'm sharing the love! This blueberry cream cheese braid is simple, but oh so fancy. It's graced the table of countless showers, birthday breakfasts and holiday brunches.

The breadstick dough bakes up like a champ, encapsulating a rich cream cheesy filling and sweet pops of fresh blueberries. Drizzle it generously with glaze and listen up for the oohs and ahhs. Because the loaf steals the show every time.

The Loaf (Blueberry Cream-Cheese Braided Loaf)

  • 6 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners sugar, divided
  • 1 (11 oz) can refrigerated breadstick dough (name brand)
  • 3/4-1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 2 tsp. water
  • 2 tbsp. orange juice

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a baking sheet.

Beat softened cream cheese in a mixing bowl at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add egg yolk and 1/4 cup confectioners sugar. Beat until well mixed and set aside.

Carefully remove breadstick dough from can and unroll into a rectangle. Place dough horizontally on baking sheet. Lightly press seams together to seal.

Spoon cream cheese mixture the full length of the dough. Sprinkle blueberries evenly over cream cheese mixture.

Separate dough at perforations up to the cream cheese mixture, slightly stretching the strips. Beginning at one edge of the dough, pull strips and cross one over the other in sort of a braid-like motion. This is hard to explain, but super easy, I assure you! Check out the pictures for guidance. Tuck the last 2 ends under at bottom of loaf.

Voila! Beautiful!

In a small bowl, beat egg white and water with fork until blended to form an egg wash. Lightly brush egg wash over the loaf, careful not to crush it.

Bake until golden brown, 15-20 minutes, jeeping a careful watch! It will brown up pretty quickly and tastes better on the lighter done side. Cool for as long as you can stand it, 30 or 40 minutes, if possible, so the glaze doesn't melt all over the place. But if you need to serve it right away, it won't be the end of the world. The glaze is pretty think anyway, so it won't matter too terribly much. Mom usually makes it the night before and glazes it in the morning. I think it tastes better at room temperature — cream cheese always seems to!

To make the glaze, combine remaining 1 cup confectioners sugar and orange juice, whisking until smooth. (you can use milk if you're in a pinch, but the citrusy flavor makes it special) Drizzle glaze generously over loaf and serve! Slice with a serrated bread knife.

We just so happened to enjoy this beloved loaf for Easter! G and I kicked off spring with a super fun weekend with my fam. Gradon was delighted to sleep in to his heart's content (that's him curled up in my very pink bedroom) and mom and dad treated us to a spectacular night in downtown Baltimore on Saturday night! We savored decadent dishes of stuffed gnocchi in Little Italy and saw the greatest show on earth--the circus! We marveled at the majestic elephants, energetic acrobats, and dazzling lights! Surprisingly, my favorite part was probably the caged motorcycles! I'm not a biker chic, but man, that "globe of death," blew my mind! They crammed eight of those bikes into a tiny globe and rode around in perfect sync. Absolutely incredible stuff. The dog show was another highlight of course.

Then, on Easter Sunday, we scarf down a lovely Easter Brunch, enjoyed a special Easter program at church and came home to prepare a festive feast! We ate a terrific spread of glazed ham, cheesy potatoes, candied sweet potato casserole, roasted asparagus, glazed carrots, salad and hot crossed biscuits, my contribution. The whole dinner was to die for, as usual, courtesy of my talented momma! Mom also gifted me a gorgeous cookbook called "Sky High." It just so happens to contain my absolute favorite cake that she made for my birthday. I pretty much died of pretty picture overload, and I can't figure out which one to make first!

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