Valentine’s Day will likely be a bit different at my house this year. You see, I haven’t gotten brave enough to leave the little girl with a babysitter yet. I’m working up to it gradually, but I’m just not ready. I’m sure she’d do just fine, but I’m not sure I would do nearly as well. So, since we won’t be headed out for dinner, I’ll most likely be baking up a few special treats for my hubby at home.
So, when I was picking a Red Star Yeast recipe to share with you this month, I couldn’t resist trying this Heart-Shaped Cinnamon Bread. It’s the perfect candidate for a sweet breakfast for your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day (or any day for that matter!). The recipe is basically a typical sweet bread (similar to one you would find in a cinnamon roll recipe) that is turned into a beautiful, heart-shaped loaf swirled with sweet cinnamon.
Believe it or not, this bread is quite easy to make. The dough is fast and easy, with no special tools required (just a large sauce pan and a wooden spoon). As I read the directions in the recipe, I was somewhat skeptical about whether or not my loaf would really turn out looking like a heart, but I have to tell you that I was pleasantly surprised. I’ve included step-by-step photos to show exactly how I shaped my loaf. I love the way it turned out!
And, let me tell you… This bread is not just pretty. It is delicious. It’s a good thing that the recipe makes two loaves because my hubby and I were both picking at it as soon as it came out of the oven, before I even had time to add the glaze. If you’re serving it to company (or, if you would like to control your portion size), you can absolutely cut it into slices, but we ended up just pulling apart and eating the first loaf. Fortunately, I set the other heart-shaped loaf aside for photos the next day.
Heart-Shaped Cinnamon Bread
Makes 2 loaves, 24 servings
(Recipe from Red Star Yeast, used with permission)
For the dough:
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 4 1/2 teaspoons (2 packets) active dry yeast
(Jen’s Note – Instant yeast, such as Red Star PLATINUM, works beautifully, too!)
- 4 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the filling:
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
For the glaze:
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
(Jen’s Note – I often use cream or half and half for a slightly creamier glaze.)
Begin by preparing the dough. In large pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add water and milk. Heat the liquids to 110°-115°F, and then remove from heat. Add the sugar and egg and then stir in the yeast. Whisk until mixture is smooth.
Add flour and salt. Stir with heavy wooden spoon. If necessary, work in a little additional flour with your hands until the dough is no longer sticky.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface, and knead for 2 – 3 minutes. Place dough in lightly oiled bowl and turn to grease top. Cover and let rise until dough tests ripe.
Punch down the dough, cover, and let rest 10 minutes. Meanwhile, grease two baking sheets (or line with a silicone liner, which is my preference!).
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide into 2 portions. To shape the heart-shaped loaves, roll each half of dough into a 15 x 10-inch rectangle. Brush each half with half of the melted butter for the filling. Combine the 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle half of the sugar mixture over each dough rectangle.
Roll up each rectangle, jelly-roll style, starting from one of the long sides. Pinch seams to seal. Place seam side up on prepared baking sheets. Fold half of each roll over the top of its other half, sealing ends. Starting 1½ -inch from the sealed end, cut all the way through the dough to the folded end. Turn cut sides out so they face up, forming a heart shape. Cover and let rise until indentation remains after touching.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake 20 – 25 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from baking sheet and cool on wire rack.
Once the loaves have cooled, prepare the glaze. In small bowl, combine icing sugar and milk and whisk until smooth. Drizzle over the heart-shaped loaves.
My Kitchen Addiction Disclosure – This post was sponsored by Red Star Yeast. Though I have been compensated to write this post, all opinions expressed are my own.