Cherry Almond Braid

Adding this sweet Cherry Almond Braid to your holidays is a delicious idea. Sweet yeast bread stuffed with cherries and almond glaze makes a festive Christmas breakfast treat!

Christmas Breakfast Braid

While everyone is thinking about their Christmas dinner menus, I’m over here obsessed with Christmas breakfast! My family almost always has some form of Biscuits and Sausage Gravy on actual Christmas morning but when there’s another occasion for a big celebratory holiday brunch or breakfast, I love impressing everyone with this Cherry Almond Braid.

The recipe starts by making a sweet yeast dough from scratch. You then fill it with a juicy cherry filling, shape the dough into a braid, bake and drizzle it with an almond glaze.

This Cherry Almond Braid is a showstopper that’ll have everyone “oohing” and ahhing. While it takes a little bit of time and effort, the results are more than worth it.

After all, Christmas comes but once a year!

Ingredient Notes

  • Yeast – I find the packets of rapid rise yeast work best in this recipe. Make sure the yeast is FRESH (so if you can’t remember how long your yeast has been sitting around in the cupboard, that’s a good sign you should toss it and replace with a new packet).
  • Milk – Fat free, skim or whole milk will all work in this recipe.
  • Marachino cherries – Drain the juices from the jar and pat the cherries dry before using them in the recipe.

Step by Step Instructions

STEP 1. Make the dough

Heat milk, butter and water on the stove until the butter is melted, then remove from heat and set aside.

Mix together the flour, salt, yeast and sugar in a large bowl. Gradually add in the milk and butter mixture and beat while adding eggs, cinnamon and a little more flour to form a soft dough.

Knead the dough on a clean surface until smooth and elastic (this took me about 8 minutes), then cover and let the dough rest while you make the filling.

STEP 2. Make the filling

Dice the drained cherries and combine them in a bowl with the rest of the filling ingredients. Set the filling aside while you shape the dough.

STEP 3. Shape and braid

Separate the dough into three equal pieces and roll each one into a rectangle. Spread a third of the cherry almond filling over each segment of dough, then roll each one up tightly from the long edge.

Place the sections on a parchment lined baking sheet and brain them gently. Pinch the ends so they seal, cover the braid and let it rise until it’s doubled in size.

STEP 4. Bake

Make an egg wash by whisking egg whites with water, then brush the wash over the unbaked braid. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, then let the Cherry Almond Braid cool completely while you make the glaze.

STEP 5. Glaze

Whisk together all the ingredients for the glaze then spoon it over the braid. Garnish with sliced almonds and halved cherries.

Let the glaze set on the Cherry Almond Braid for about 10 minutes before serving.

Tips and Tricks

  • 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. I
  • Use parchment paper! Not only does it help create a barrier from your bread to your pan to prevent sticking, but clean up is so much easier.
  • Be sure to lightly flour your hands before kneading the dough to prevent them from getting sticky.

Recipe FAQs

Do you need to proof your yeast first?

Not with this recipe. You can just add the Rapid Rise yeast to the dough with the other dry ingredients.

Why isn’t my dough rising?

Dough that doesn’t rise is usually an indicator that your yeast is dead. Check the dates on your yeast before beginning the recipe to make sure your yeast is fresh.
You should also be sure to put the dough in a warm (but not hot) place while it’s rising to help move it along.

Can this be made in adavnce?

Yes, you can prepare the braid the night before and store it covered (unbaked) with plastic wrap in the fridge. Let it come to room temperature before baking.

As much as I enjoy a quick and easy recipe, sometimes I want to make something that feels a bit more like a project, like this Christmas Breakfast Braid.

When you need a special breakfast that’s as pretty as it is delicious, you can’t do better than a Cherry Almond Braid. Enjoy a slice this holiday season with a big cup of coffee!

Yield: 16 servings

Cherry Almond Braid

Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes

Adding this sweet Cherry Almond Braid to your holidays is a delicious idea! Sweet yeast bread stuffed with cherries and almond glaze!

Ingredients

FOR THE DOUGH:

  • 3 to 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 envelope rapid rise Yeast
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup milk (I use fat free)
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

FOR THE FILLING:

  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • ½ 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)
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 2 Tbsp sliced almonds
  • maraschino cherries, garnish, optional

Instructions

FOR THE DOUGH:

  1. In a small saucepan on low heat, combine milk, water, and butter until butter is melted (about 120-130 degree F). Set aside.
  2. 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 ½ cup at this point) to make a soft dough.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Divide dough into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece on a lightly floured surface to an 18x6-inch rectangle. Spread ⅓ 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).
  6. 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.
  7. Remove from baking sheet by sliding the parchment paper onto a wire rack to cool completely.

FOR THE GLAZE:

  1. Whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, and almond extract. Spoon over the cooled braid. Sprinkle immediately with sliced almonds.
  2. Slice reserved cherries in half and place on top. Allow glaze to set, about 10 minutes. Slice and enjoy!

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

16

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 471Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 47mgSodium: 170mgCarbohydrates: 83gFiber: 3gSugar: 18gProtein: 12g

*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on November 19, 2015

Comments & Reviews

  1. any change for making at higher altitude? (i live at 5500 ft) aldo, this grandma bread tradition we had … her recipe is lil this and lil that and i could never get right…this seems very similar!

  2. Awww I love holiday traditions!! They are the best! I put my tree up on Halloween a lot of times 🙂 Love this cherry almond braid and can’t wait to try it out.

  3. Love the flavors in this bread!  And what a pretty braid too!  Such a sweet post, love recipes that are part of a family tradition.  

  4. Best use of maraschino cherries that I’ve ever seen! I can imagine the flavor being so good!

  5. Awwww happy grandma memory! Those always make the best recipes. Best best best.
    This looks amazing! 

  6. Love this braid … it’s so pretty and festive! I usually can’t listen to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving, but this is getting me into the spirit. 🙂

  7. This is absolutely gorgeous!  What a fun breakfast tradition to start now!!! We usually don’t do anything Christmas related until after Thanksgiving, but this past weekend we may have had music playing as we packed up the basement!!!

  8. I love watching the Great British Baking show because they make recipes just like this that just make me happy. Especially late at night when I shouldn’t really be snaking but need a snack. So pretty! I had no idea that braids were doable until I visually saw it done. 

  9. You need to move to DC, Aimee. A bunch of stations started doing 24/7 Christmas music on November 11th! I was equal parts shocked and thrilled.
    I’m imagining  a candy cane-shaped coffee cake, and how could that be anything other than super lovely? And cherry/almond is one of the best combos out there. I always want to inhale almond extract because it makes me happy. This looks great!

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