Cherry Almond Braid
Adding this sweet Cherry Almond Braid to your holidays is a delicious idea!
**Today’s post is part of an ongoing partnership in the Bake a Little Extra Blog Ambassador sponsored by Fleischmann’s® Yeast**
I love holiday traditions. And this is the time of year that families are starting to incorporate them into their daily life!
For example, my brother puts out his Christmas tree as early as possible (this year it was Halloween day). I enjoy listening to holiday music starting on November 1st.
Growing up there was one family tradition that I loved for many, many reasons. On Christmas morning, after the gifts had been opened, my grandparents always came over to visit. They not only came and wanted to see everything we got from Santa, but they also brought us the most amazing breakfast. It was a candy cane shaped coffee cake. I have fond memories of that sweet braid, and of course the time spent showing my grandparents all my toys (even though their eyes glazed over as they couldn’t fathom my excitement over a pink boombox)!
Every year on Christmas I think about that candy cane braid, and of course it’s too late to bake one by that point. I must ask my grandma for the recipe ASAP! Until then, today’s recipe for Cherry Almond Braid could totally be my NEW tradition. I could easily have shaped this into a candy cane shape prior to letting it rise and bake.
Using this recipe from Fleischmann’s® Yeast as a guide, I added some sweet maraschino cherries to the filling, giving it not only a great flavor but also adding a touch of festivity to the braid! I’ve seen around the holiday’s they sell GREEN maraschino cherries, how fun would that be to have both in the filling and on top as a garnish?
A few notes about making this braid:
- Read the directions prior to assembling. Make sure you have time (this does need time to rise). And make sure you everything you need to make it. I like to put everything I need to make it on the counter, and put the ingredients away as I use them. If there’s something left I know I messed up, haha!!
- Use Fleischmann’s® RapidRise™Yeast for this recipe. Don’t let the use of yeast scare or intimidate you! Follow the directions below as written, and you will succeed. Which means, of course, your family and friends will all be able to enjoy this delicious braid!
- Drain maraschino cherries and pat them dry on paper towels before using in the filling. This will help decrease the amount of excess liquid they add to the braid.
- Use parchment paper!!! I can’t stress this enough (hence the extra exclamation points). Not only does it help create a barrier from your bread to your pan to prevent sticking, but clean up is a breeze!
- Recruit assistants for clean up. I lied, it’s not a breeze. This recipe will make a mess of your kitchen. All worth it though, I promise. There is something to be said about a recipe that requires you to use your hands and mess up your kitchen. That’s where the love comes from! Truly, my advice, is clean as you go. Then, when it’s done baking, pour yourself a hot cup of coffee and enjoy a slice of this Cherry Almond Braid!
This holiday season, take the time to Bake a Little Extra! Give the gift of a sweet breakfast to family, neighbors, friends!
Connect with Fleischmann’s® Yeast:
Cherry Almond Braid
Yield: 1 coffee cake
Prep Time:45 minutes, plus 1 hour rise time
Cook Time:30-35 minutes
For the dough:
- 3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 envelope Fleischmann's® RapidRise™ Yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup milk (I use fat free)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp Spice Islands® Ground Saigon Cinnamon
For the filling:
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 large egg
- 1 jar (16 oz) maraschino cherries
For the egg glaze:
- 1 egg white
- 1 tsp water
For the glaze:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 Tbsp milk (I used fat free)
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 2 Tbsp sliced almonds
- maraschino cherries, garnish, optional
For the dough:
- In a small saucepan on low heat, combine milk, water, and butter until butter is melted (about 120-130 degree F). Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup of flour, sugar, undissolved yeast and salt. Mix and slowly add in milk mixture. Beat for 2 minutes on medium speed (using paddle attachment on electric mixer), scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Add eggs, cinnamon, and an additional cup of flour. Beat 2 more minutes at high speed. Add in enough flour (about 1 to 1 1/2 cup at this point) to make a soft dough.
- Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead with hands until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes). Cover dough with plastic wrap and let rest 10 minutes. While dough is resting, make the filling.
- For the filling, drain maraschino cherries using a strainer (discard juice). Pat cherries dry on paper towels to remove excess moisture. Reserve about 6-8 cherries for final garnish. The remaining cherries, dice into fourths. In a small bowl, combine almonds, sugar, melted butter, almond extract, egg and diced cherries. Mix until combined. Set aside.
- Divide dough into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece on a lightly floured surface to an 18x6-inch rectangle. Spread 1/3 of the cherry filling over each rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border. Starting at the long side, roll up tightly (like you would if making cinnamon rolls). Pinch the seams and ends to seal. Transfer each roll to a parchment paper lined baking sheet and braid the 3 dough rolls gently. Pinch ends and tuck under to seal. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 1 hour (should double in size).
- When ready to bake, remove plastic wrap. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg white and water for the egg glaze. Brush glaze over the unbaked dough. Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 30-35 minutes.
- Remove from baking sheet by sliding the parchment paper onto a wire rack to cool completely.
For the glaze:
- Whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, and almond extract. Spoon over the cooled braid. Sprinkle immediately with sliced almonds. Slice reserved cherries in half and place on top. Allow glaze to set, about 10 minutes. Slice and enjoy!
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