Food has always been a big part of my family’s holiday celebrations. Over the years, we’ve refined those traditions to perfection. Christmas dinner always includes pickled peaches and cranberry chutney alongside the turkey and dressing; Christmas cookie trays always include sour cream sugar cookies and “peanut blossoms,” those chewy peanut butter cookies with a melty-but-somehow-still-firm chocolate kiss on top—made from a recipe more than half a century old. Sometimes there are gingersnaps. Occasionally there are oatmeal cookies. Our traditions allow for some leeway om the cookies. But breakfast? There’s always bubble loaf for breakfast.
Christmas mornings are often hectic—presents to be opened, family and friends dropping by, church services to attend—so you make and bake this sweet breakfast bread, then stash it in the freezer until needed.
Reheat covered with foil so the little “bubbles” don’t get too brown. Bubble loaf smells heavenly as it’s baking and the butter, sugar, and orange zest will combine in a glaze so delectable people will be tempted to lick their plates.
Orange Bubble Loaf
2 loaves frozen bread dough, thawed
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
1 jar of dried orange peel, around 1.5 ounces
2 round 9-inch cake pans
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Combine the sugar and dried orange peel in a shallow bowl.
Cut the thawed bread dough into pieces about an inch square and then roll each square into a little ball.
Dip the dough balls into the melted butter, then roll in the sugar orange mixture until coated.
Place the “bubble” into the pan.
Cover with a clean dish towel and set in a warm place until the dough has risen and doubled in volume.
Bake at 325 until golden brown. Allow to cool before serving.
If freezing, slightly under bake the bread so that when the bubble loaf is reheated, it won’t get too toasty.
One loaf of dough will fit into one pan.
This recipe makes two pans. Serving sizes will vary. When my brother was on the football team in high school, he could eat a whole pan by himself and then turn around and scarf a whole plate of bacon and eggs and home fries (also a Christmas morning staple). So plan accordingly.
The Christmas Experience
The Meredith Manor Hotel Series
The Meredith Manor Hotel Series
Genre: Cozy Holiday Romance
Publisher: Dark Valentine Press
Date of Publication: November 11, 2017
Number of pages: 210
Word Count: 50,860
Cover Artist: Lou Harper/Cover Affairs
Tagline: Christmas is a state of mind at Meredith Manor Hotel, which explains why everyone’s just a little nuts.
Christmas comes but once a year but this year, Meredith Manor Hotel in scenic Silver Birch, Washington, is celebrating the holiday almost a dozen different ways. Guests can choose their "experience" from a selection of themed celebrations filled with food and drink and love and laughter. (Yes, there are recipes.)
When unemployed accountant Miranda Weston takes a temp job at the hotel her best friend's family owns, she never dreams that her friend's globe-trotting brother will show up to celebrate the holiday and complicate her life. Peter Meredith broke Miranda's heart years ago and it's still a little tender at the broken places. She's not the lovestruck teenager she once was and he's changed too, and as guests come and go and the staff works hard to deliver Christmas magic, the season works a little magic on them as well.
But Miranda's complicated relationship with the man who may just be the love of her life is only one of the storylines playing out among the hotel staff and the guests gathered for the various "Christmas Experiences" offered at the Meredith Manor Hotel.
This is a short, cozy Christmas romance novel for fans of movies like Love, Actually and the books of Katie Flynn, Trisha Ashley, and Cathy Kelly.
The Christmas Experience celebrates love and family, and all the season means.
Amy came by and refilled our tea and water glasses. Alice polished off the rest of her rice and noodles. I nudged my bowl of rice closer to her. “You mind?” she asked.
“All yours,” I said.
I thought about the hotel as Alice prattled on, filling me in on all the gossip. It was kind of like listening to a recap of a soap opera, only with more food.
“Nika and Annie are getting married, and Annie wants to move back to Austin.”
“Mom’s frantic because she hasn’t found anyone to replace Nika.”
“Are they really going through with the wedding this time?”
Nika was the hotel’s passionate Hungarian-American pastry chef who notoriously ran hot and cold with her beloved. An ACF “Pastry Chef of the Year” winner, she wouldn’t have any trouble finding work in Austin and neither would Annie, who was an emergency room nurse. They’d both have new jobs before they’d even unpacked.
“Does Annie miss her family that much?”
“Her dad’s got some health issues,” Alice said. “And he’s old. I think she wants to stay close.”
”The thought of never eating another of Nika’s honey bran muffins makes me sad,” I said.
“Forget bran muffins,” Alice said. “Her carrot cake is transcendent.”
Nika was going to make Alice and Lionel’s wedding cake. Alice had known from the start she wanted carrot cake, but she’d tasted pretty much every cake in Nika’s repertoire until the chef pointed out if she didn’t make a decision soon, she was going to have to buy a wedding dress in a larger size.
“Carrot cake sounds good,” I said.
Alice jumped on that. “If you have dinner with us tonight there’ll be carrot cake.”
“You’re evil,” I said.
“No,” she said. I only use my powers for good.” She signaled for the check as she changed the subject. “Did I tell you, Mom’s hired Max Hopkirk to do his one-man Christmas Carol show for the Dickens Experience night?
“Squee,” I said.
“I know,” Alice said, eyes wide.
Max Hopkirk was pushing sixty, but he still had it going on with his piercing blue eyes and dramatic mane of silver-gilt hair. He was often praised for his deep and hypnotic voice, but in one interview he’d given, Max had said he thought he sounded like Eddie Izzard imitating James Mason playing God. So while he was reputed to be something of a diva, he at least had a sense of humor.
“Oh yes, he is a diva,” Alice said when I asked her about that. “He had all kinds of ridiculous demands. Finally, Mom told his manager to stop being silly, that everyone knew that Max needed money and it wasn’t as if she was asking him to walk around naked juggling chainsaws .”
“I’d pay money to see that,” I said.
“We could post it on our YouTube channel,” Alice said. “Maybe he could do it for his encore.”
“I’d like to see his Christmas Carol show,” I said.
Alice started to smile again. “Staff gets in free,” she said.
“You promise there’ll be carrot cake tonight?” I finally said because resistance was futile.
“Yay,” Alice said.
About the Author:
Katherine Moore was born in Washington, D.C., and now lives in the Pacific Northwest in a small town very much like the fictional Silver Birch, Washington where most of her books are set. She has worked as a caterer, a movie extra, a cookbook editor, and a lifestyle reporter for magazines and newspapers in Honolulu, Los Angeles, and Richmond, Virginia.