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This recipe, from Teigen’s first Cravings cookbook, makes garlic bread that really does look like an armadillo: A round loaf of bread is cut up in a crosshatch pattern to resemble the well-armored mammal. Eating the armadillo bread also seemed like a fun communal experience, since you pull off hunks of the bread with your hands. I set out to see if this was as delicious as it looked in photos.
How to Make Chrissy Teigen’s Garlic Bread
To best resemble an armadillo, the recipe calls for a 1-pound round loaf of French bread, also known as a boule. These can be surprisingly difficult to find, although I did manage to get one from a local bakery. Batards, or football-shaped loaves, are easier to find, and I think will work just as well. Whatever shape of bread you find, the important step is cutting a crosshatch pattern (spaced about 2 inches apart between cuts) into the bread. You need to go all the way down to the bottom crust but stop just short of cutting through the crust so that the loaf stays together. Grab the biggest serrated knife you can for this step, and take your time.
Next comes the filling: Lots of mozzarella cheese, butter, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and mayonnaise. The key word here is lots; it’s way more than you’ve probably ever used for garlic bread. Everything gets mashed together with softened butter to form a thick paste.
Assembly is easy: Stuff the butter and cheese paste deep down into the slits, then wrap the whole thing up in foil to form a big pouch. Bake in a 375ºF oven for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake until browned, about 20 minutes more. To serve, ceremoniously put it on the table and let the diners go at it to pull off cheesy hunks of toasted bread.
There’s More Dairy than Bread. Is That a Good Thing?
Let’s talk about aroma first. This cheesy garlic bread smelled amazing as it was baking, perfuming the whole kitchen to make it feel like I was in a classic Italian American red-sauce joint. I could not wait to eat this and kept hyping it up to my daughter as dinnertime got closer.
Then came taste test time. It definitely tasted like buttery garlic bread amped up with a ton of melty cheese. I’m sad to say that it was actually way too rich and cheesy for me, and my carb and cheese-loving daughter agreed. For a one-pound loaf of bread, this had a whopping 23 ounces of cheese and butter, plus mayonnaise, garlic, and seasonings on top of that. That’s more dairy by weight than bread!
Because the cuts in the bread are fairly far apart, the hunks of bread you pull off are quite large, with only the outsides being covered in cheese and butter, leaving the centers plain and doughy. There were also big pools of buttery cheese — I would have preferred the cuts to be closer together so that the filling could be more evenly dispersed into the bread.
Richness aside, we did make a big dent in our armadillo bread, but we picked off and ate smaller pieces, letting any excess cheese drip off to get more of a balanced garlic bread bite. All of the flavors were spot-on, though, and I liked the spicy kick from the red pepper flakes. It was definitely fun to pull our dinner apart with our hands and watch cheese pull after cheese pull happen, so armadillo bread was still a success in our house.
If You’re Making Chrissy Teigen’s Garlic Bread at Home, a Few Tips
1. Use lots of foil and spray it well. Place the loaf on 2 overlapping sheets of foil so there’s enough to wrap up and around the sides of the loaf, and coat them well with cooking spray. When you enclose the bread with another sheet of foil, crimp together to make a tight packet.
2. Score the bread more. Making cuts about 1 1/2-inches apart will be slightly more challenging, but that makes more slits to stuff filling into so that it’s more evenly dispersed.
3. Stuff the filling deep. Smash the filling together with a wooden spoon to really get it to come together. Use your hands to stuff the filling deep into the slits as far down as it will go. Don’t worry too much about leaving some for the top.
4. Skip the red pepper flakes if you want. The full 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes made for a decent kick, so take it down to 1/2 teaspoon if you’re spice-averse, or omit it completely if you’re feeding kids or others who might not want it spicy.
Have you tried Chrissy Teigen’s garlic bread recipe? Let us know in the comments!