Run, do not walk, to Wegmans to buy a loaf of the Craquelin Brioche bread pictured in the photo, on the left (that is sourdough next to it on the right, also quite good). I suspect the brioche, which cost $5, will be a holiday item, and will cry when/if it is no longer offered (hint, hint to Wegmans!).
Craquelin Brioche is, according to Wikipedia, “…a type of Belgian brioche that is filled with citrus marinated sugar cubes.”
While the Wegmans version lacks the citrus touch, there are, indeed pockets of crunchy sugar in my loaf (you can see one if you look closely at that air pocket), sugar that became molten during baking, then hardened when cooled. It is also the airiest brioche I’ve ever had, and it makes spectacular melt-in-your-mouth toast.
The second photo was my breakfast on this blustery, cold, Sunday morning. I spread whipped sweet butter and some of Sarabeth’s Orange-Apricot marmalade on that brioche, served with nitrite-free apple wood smoked bacon and Cherry Grove Farm eggs. No wonder I like winter!
What a hostess gift this would make – a loaf of brioche, European style cultured butter, a jar of good preserves – and you’re done for $15 or less.