Buttery Almond Braid
Do you remember Saturday or Sunday morning trips to the bakery with your parents? Where you could smell the freshly baked bread and sweet treats a block away as you were walking from the car?
As you walked in you debated with your siblings which donut you were going to get that trip? Would it be a Long John with Vanilla icing or maybe a croissant, or maybe even a bear claw to go along with the special danish pastry that your parents were picking up for the guests that were coming for brunch.
Maple Swirl braids and Almond braids were always on the brunch menu at our house. Sometimes one of my aunts would make one and bring them over or we would go off to our favorite bakery and pick one up.
This Buttery Almond Braid is just like the pastry that you get at the bakery. The pastry is light and flaky and the inside is buttery, sweet, creamy and has a delicious almond flavor. Add the glaze and the slivered almonds and I think this is a breakfast treat that you will want to have in your recipe file to make every weekend and especially for the holidays!
Buttery Almond Braid
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
- 3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 egg whisked with 1 teaspoon water for an egg wash
- 8 Tablespoons of Butter softened
- 1/3 cup of sugar
- dash of salt
- 1 egg
- 7 ounces of almond paste, frozen until firm, then grated
- 1 ounce sliced almonds
Powdered Sugar Glaze
- 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons of milk or heavy cream
- 1/8-1/4 teaspoons of almond extract
- 1 teaspoon soft
- Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy and pale yellow.
- Then mix in the salt and almond extract. Beat in the egg until just combined.
- Next stir in the almond paste flakes and about 1 cup of the slivered almonds. Set mixture aside.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In the bowl of a food processor, mix the flour, powdered sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- Add the cream cheese and butter into the flour mixture and pulse about 6 times.
- Add the milk and almond extract and blend until the mixture just starts to come together into a loose dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a Silphat baking mat or a sheet of lightly floured parchment paper. Knead the dough very lightly being careful not to overwork the dough or it’ll be tough. You do not need to worry about getting it smooth, just knead it for a few strokes.
- Lightly flour the top of the dough and roll it out to a 10- by 12-inch rectangle. Once you have the dough rolled, measure and mark the dough lengthwise into thirds. Spread the butter filling mixture down the middle third of the dough.
Assemble the Braid
- Make diagonal cuts at 1 inch intervals on each of the long sides of the dough, on either side of the filling in the middle. Do not cut into the center filling area. Fold the strips, alternating from one side and then the other over the filling, until it looks like a braid. Use the Silphat or the sheet of parchment to transfer your braid to a baking sheet. At this point you can cover and refrigerate the braid overnight, or you can bake the braid.
Bake the Braid
- Just before you put the braid into the oven brush it with the egg wash mixture. Bake in the 425 degree oven for 20-22 minutes, until the dough is golden on top and the filling is set.
- Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool.
Make the Glaze
- Whisk together the powdered sugar, almond extract, and milk in a small measuring cup with a pour spout or in a bowl. Make sure you wait at least 30 minutes for the braid to cool or the glaze will just melt. Once the braid is slightly cooled, pour or drizzle it with the glaze and top with sliced almonds, slice, serve, and enjoy.
- My dough was very sticky but I was afraid to keep adding flour for fear it would get tough. Be careful not too add too much flour.
- If your braid does not look that great, and mine did not, just add more glaze to cover it up.
- Make sure to let the braid cool for a minimum of 30 minutes before you put on the powdered sugar glaze.
- You can use as little or as much glaze as you like on the braid.