I love everything about Christmas. The magic, the wonder, the traditions. I love coming home to find my childhood house decorated in boughs of garland, flickering candles, and twinkling lights. The kitchen is usually bustling with activity as my sisters and I bake cookies while my Mom puts together her signature brioche rolls.
My all time favorite holiday tradition is Christmas Eve. My family attends 5 o’clock Mass, then comes home to an incredible feast of prime rib. We sit around the dining room table, reminiscing about Christmases past and looking to the future. After dinner, we gather in the living room to sip on White Russians and hot chocolate, while my sisters and I exchange gifts. As the hour grows late, we finally choose cookies for the Santa plate and head up to bed, hoping that reindeer dust sprinkled in the front yard will lead the Big Man to our house.
Christmas Eve is a night where my sisters and I can embrace our child-like wonder, and give into the spirit of Christmas.
One of my Mom’s specialties at our Christmas Eve dinner is her brioche rolls. Their buttery, soft, and practically melt-in-your-mouth. Be sure to double the batch because I promise you won’t be able to share.
(from bon appetit)
1/3 cup warm water (105°F to 115°F)
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (from 1 envelope)
1 pinch sugar plus 3 tablespoons sugar
2 1/4 cups bread flour, divided
5 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup (12 tablespoons) unsalted European-style butter (such as Plugrá), room temperature
1 large egg yolk, whisked to blend with 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream (for glaze)
- Pour 1/3 cup warm water into large bowl of heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Sprinkle with yeast and pinch of sugar; stir to blend. Let stand until yeast dissolves and mixture is slightly foamy, about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk 2 cups bread flour, all purpose flour, coarse salt, and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar in medium bowl to blend. Sift flour mixture over yeast mixture in bowl of stand mixer. Mix on low speed 1 minute (mixture will be dry and crumbly and resemble old-fashioned oats). Add eggs 1 at a time, beating 30 seconds on medium speed after each addition, then beat mixture 10 minutes (mixture will be very sticky and cling to sides of bowl but will begin to mass around paddle during last 2 to 3 minutes of beating, with some dough still clinging to sides of bowl). With machine running on medium speed, add butter 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until incorporated before adding more, about 7 minutes total. Continue to beat dough 4 to 5 minutes longer (dough will be soft, smooth, and shiny but still sticky and will begin to pull away from sides of bowl and climb up paddle attachment).
- Turn dough out onto generously floured work surface. Knead 1/4 cup more bread flour into dough by tablespoonfuls (dough will still be quite sticky but do not add any more flour). Butter large bowl. Transfer dough to bowl; turn to coat with butter. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let rise in warm draft-free area until almost doubled in volume, 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. Punch dough down. Cover dough again with plastic wrap and kitchen towel and refrigerate dough overnight.
- Butter 12 standard (1/3-cup) muffin cups. Divide cold dough into 12 equal portions. Divide each portion into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into smooth ball (each about 1 to 1 1/4 inches in diameter). Place 3 dough balls in each prepared muffin cup, preferably side by side, forming triangle. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, then kitchen towel. Let rolls rise in warm draft-free area until puffed and extending slightly above sides of muffin cups, about 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400°F.
- Brush tops of rolls with egg glaze. Bake rolls until deep golden on top, 15 to 16 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then transfer rolls to rack and cool completely. DO AHEAD Can be made 8 hours ahead. Store rolls airtight at room temperature.