- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1⁄4 cup warm water
- 3⁄4 cup warm milk (low-fat or full fat)
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1⁄4 cup butter, softened
- 1⁄4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 31⁄4 to 33⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup seedless raspberry jam
- 21⁄2 tablespoons butter, melted
- Several tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1. Dissolve yeast in warm water until foamy.
2. In a separate bowl, combine milk, egg, butter, sugar, and salt.
3. Add yeast mixture and 3 cups flour. Beat on medium speed until dough is smooth and sticky. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
4. Place dough on a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic.
5. Place dough in a greased bowl, turning it to grease the top. Cover and set aside to rise until doubled.
6. Punch down dough.
7. Turn onto a floured surface and divide into four portions. Roll one portion into a 12-in. circle. Place on a greased 14-in. pizza pan. Spread with one-third of the jam to within 1⁄2 in. of edge. Repeat twice, layering dough and jam, and ending with final portion of dough.
8. Place a 21⁄2-in. round cutter on top of the dough in center of circle as a marker only (don’t press through the dough).
9. Using a sharp knife, make 16 evenly spaced cuts from the round marker to the outer edge of dough. This will form a sort of starburst.
10. Remove cutter.
11. Taking hold of two adjacent strips, rotate them together twice outward. Pinch ends together. Repeat
with remaining strips.
12. Cover star bread and let rise until almost doubled, approximately 30 minutes.
13. Preheat oven to 375°. Bake until golden brown, 18–22 minutes.
14. Remove from oven and immediately brush with melted butter.
15. Cool completely on a wire rack, then dust with confectioners’ sugar.
While the bakery gets a last-minute job to cater a holiday costume party, Ivy gets the chance to bolster her photography business, by being the official photographer. When a particularly nasty reporter is found dead, it is up to Ivy to piece together the snippets of conversation and gossip she overheard with her pictures to find out whodunnit.As always, a mystery by Winnie Archer is a happy indulgence. It is a smartly written mystery with plenty of clues, too many suspects and misleading red herrings. Add to that mouthwatering food and fantastically written characters and you have a winner. The holiday theme makes this installment in the series extra fun in a series that is always better than the last book. I suggest reading the series from the beginning, just to get the whole story, because you will really want to know the whole story. However, if this series is new to you, this book reads well as a standalone.
Freelance photographer and Yeast of Eden bakery assistant Ivy Culpepper has just scored the job of a lifetime shooting the Dickensian dress-up X-mas party thrown by It Girl film actress Eliza Fox . . . until an unwanted guest appears.
A holiday costume party in the sleepy coastal town of Santa Sofia could be just the boost Ivy needs for her fledgling photography business. At the party, Ivy enters a Victorian fantasy come to life, all courtesy of the fabulous Ms. Fox. Ivy gets to play shutterbug while hanging with Scrooge, Marley, the Cratchits, and more classic Dickens characters. But what begins as the best of times turns out to be the very worst for one of the party guests—a tabloid journalist with more enemies than Ebenezer himself.
When the man’s body is found sprawled across the jagged rocks below the house, the fingers begin pointing at Eliza. Meanwhile, Ivy gets roped into helping prove the starlet’s innocence. Her festive photos are now official evidence—and the Ghosts of Christmas Present could mean the party for Eliza is over, once and for all.
Winnie Archer is the nationally bestselling author of the Bread Shop Mystery series, and the Magical Dressmaking Mystery series written as Melissa Bourbon. A former middle school English teacher, lives in North Carolina with her educator husband, Carlos, and the youngest of their five children. She can be found online at MelissaBourbon.com.
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