One of our guilty (or not-so-guilty) pleasures is a stroll to our favorite French patisserie, 1/2 mile from our house, to snatch up one of the buttery, flaky treasures. Yes, we are talking melt-in-your-mouth almond croissants (the best ever, maybe even in Paris!), pain au chocolate, plain 'ol butter croissants with homemade jam, and various brioche rolls. The pastry chef also creates the most beautiful little confections that look almost too perfect too eat. However, it is easy to quickly change one's mind after taking a bite of these little treats. Even Lily has started a sophisticated croissant palate at such a young age :) Let's suffice it to say that Renaud is an absolute French genius! Croissants and other complicated French treats are just one of those food delicacies that I am willing to not try to make, but rather enjoy the fruits of another's labor!
When I came upon this month's Daring Baker's challenge, I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy this breakfast bread, as if I was sitting on the patio of Renaud's Patisserie. This, I decided, is the closest I get to such French pastry deliciousness. For surprisingly much less work than that of a typical french pastry, this treat tasted much like a lightly sweetened brioche filled with yummy things :)
The March 2011 Daring Baker's Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria's Collection and Jamie of Life's a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.
After making the "brioche" dough and allowing it to rise, the dough is rolled out into a rectangle and spread with a vanilla meringue. I chose to top it with an orange sugar I made using orange zest and organic sugar, dark chocolate, and toasted slivered almonds.
Then, you gently roll the dough up and shape it into a wreath, snipping around the wreath to expose the hidden treasures.
After a 2nd rise, the dough gets brushed with an egg wash and placed in the oven. The inside yumminess peeks out through the slits in the dough and the whole round becomes beautifully golden.
Finally, the bread gets a nice dusting of powdered sugar.
And, voila! A light, buttery dough hugging melted chocolate, scented with orange and crunchy almonds awaits!
Oh, and this recipe is both adult and kid-tested and approved!