No, I don’t have my holidays confused! OK, so this is considered an Easter bread, but it’s just that good that our tradition has been to have this for Christmas morning every…single…year! Really, ever since our first Christmas after my son was born (oh my gosh…20 years ago!), we’ve had this for Christmas morning. It was perfect when the kids were little and all they wanted to do was rip into their gifts. This keeps you sitting by the tree with them enjoying one of the best mornings of the year, instead of fussing in the kitchen.
Choereg is an eggy, rich and brioche-like bread. It’s got a bit more density to it than brioche or challah. I like that about it. It’s also enhanced by an unusual spice used a lot in the Middle East and Greece, mahleb. Mahleb is the little seed inside of the sour cherry pit. It’s got the most unusual scent and flavor. It is warm, sweet and nutty with a hint of almond and cherry. It adds so much to this bread. You can find mahleb at any Middle Eastern grocer, but honestly, if you don’t have it, the vanilla alone is fine. I’ve made this plenty of times without it and it’s still amazing. If you find the mahleb, buy it whole and grind it at home if you have a coffee grinder. The flavor is much more intense when you grind it yourself.