The holiday season does not have to be filled with unhealthy treats. I was fortunate to be sent some whole grain goodies from Hodgson Mill to create a recipe. I thought about the usual holiday treats, such as cookies and sweet breads. However, I decided to make Pomegranate Crostini – creating a holiday hors d’oeuvre utilizing fresh pomegranate arils (seeds), cream cheese, and homemade French bread baguettes.
The baguettes are packed with whole grain goodness. They are made with Hodgson Mill’s White Whole Wheat Flour, Organic All-Purpose Naturally White Flour, and Flax Seeds. (I used Hodgson Mill’s yeast which is designed to use with whole grains which are naturally heavier.) Flax seeds are high in fiber and Omega-3 fatty acids and are often used to aid in digestive health. Grains are a good source of complex carbohydrates.
According to the internet, 95% of Americans do not consume enough of this nutritious powerhouse. Bread machines make the work of making bread dough easy. However, if you don’t have one, you can adapt the recipe. (Here is a link with how-to directions.) After the dough has risen, divide it into two equal portions. (These are close enough. No need to worry about them being perfect.) Flatten each portion into an oblong shape, then roll each piece to form baguettes approximately 14 inches in length.
Using a knife, cut small slits on the top. Doing so helps the bread expand when baking.These loaves have finished rising and are ready to be baked. After the bread has cooled, cut off one inch from each end and discard. (Or slather a little butter on and enjoy!) Cut the remaining bread into 1/2 inch slices. Toast the bread in an oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
Top the crostini with some cream cheese mixed with honey and topped with pomegranate arils. This is also good with a little bit of honey drizzled on top.
Holiday Pomegranate Crostini
- 1½ cups warm water, divided
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 1 packet Hodgson Mill Active Dry Yeast
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 2 cups Hodgson Mill Unbleached All-Purpose White Flour
- 1¾ cups Hodgson Mill White Whole Wheat Flour
- ¼ cup Hodgson Mill Milled Flax Seed
- 1½ tsp salt
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 Tbsp honey
- pomegranate arils
- additional honey, optional
- Combine ¼ cup warm water, 2 Tbsp honey and yeast in bread machine well and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Add remaining water, olive oil, white flour, whole wheat flour, flax seed and salt. Program bread machine for “dough” cycle.
- Upon completion of cycle, remove dough from bread machine and divide in half.
- Shape each half into oval shape and roll into 14″ logs. Slash the top of each loaf about ¼ inch deep on a diagonal 3-4 times lengthwise. Spray loaves with nonstick cooking spray.
- Allow to rise in a warm place 30-45 minutes. (I heat my oven to about 150 degrees, then turn it off, and place the dough inside to rise.)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake loaves for 20 minutes or until done.
- Allow loaves to cool. Cut the bread on the bias into ½ inch slices, discarding one inch pieces at each end.
- Layer slices flat on baking sheet and bake in oven preheated to 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until crisp.
- Allow slices to cool for approximately 5 minutes.
- Combine cream cheese and 1 Tbsp honey. Spread on top of slices and sprinkle with pomegranate arils.
- Drizzle with honey, if desired.