Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Buttery Almond Braid




Good morning! How was your weekend? Mine was fabulous, the weather was perfect, slight breeze, sunny, 78 degrees and 0 humidity. I wish it could be like that all summer. I took walks on the beach, took my dogs for long walks, had a picnic in the park and planted my containers for the season. I felt like a new person, perhaps the long winter was getting to me. 




Whatever the case I am looking forward to more beautiful days to get outside. In the meantime I am still trying to satiate my cravings for almond sweets; I have been making pastries, breads, cakes and more. This week I tried this recipe from Willow Bird Bakery for Buttery Braided Almond Bread and while my finished product did not come out as beautifully braided as Julies' it was melt in your mouth delicious!




Recipe From Willow Bird Bakery

Dough Ingredients:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 egg whisked with 1 teaspoon water for egg wash

Filling Ingredients:
  • 8 tablespoons butter, softened
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • dash of salt
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 egg
  • 7 ounces almond paste, frozen until firm and then grated with hand grater
  • 1 cup sliced almonds, divided

Icing Ingredients:
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • ⅛ teaspoon almond extract
  • sliced almonds for topping
Instructions
  1. FILLING: Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy and pale yellow. Mix in the salt and almond extract. Beat in the egg until just combined. Stir in the almond paste flakes and about 1 cup of the slivered almonds.
  2. DOUGH: 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 pulses.  Add the milk and almond extract and blend until it’s just starting to come together into a loose dough.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a big sheet of lightly-floured parchment paper and knead each very lightly for just 4-5 strokes (be careful not to overwork the dough or it’ll be tough! Don’t worry about getting it smooth — just knead for these few strokes and let it stay a little rough.)
  4. Turn the dough out onto a big sheet of lightly-floured parchment paper and knead each very lightly for just a few strokes (be careful not to overwork the dough or it’ll be tough. Don’t worry about getting it smooth — just knead for these few strokes and let it stay a little rough.) Very lightly flour the top of the dough and roll it out to a 10- by 12-inch rectangle. Measure and mark the dough lengthwise into thirds. Spread the butter mixture over the middle third of the dough.
  5. ASSEMBLE THE BRAID:  Make diagonal cuts at 1-inch intervals on each the long sides. Do not cut into the center filling area. Fold strips, first one from one side and then one from the other side in an alternating fashion, over the filling. It will now resemble a braid. Use the sheet of parchment to carefully transfer your braid to a baking sheet. At this point you can cover and refrigerate the braid overnight, or you can continue to the next step.
  6. Bake and glaze the braid: Brush the pastry braid with the egg wash mixture. Bake in the 425 degree oven for 20-22 minutes, until the dough is really golden on top and the filling is set. Allow the the braid to cool for around 30 minutes, and then whisk together the powdered sugar, almond extract, and milk in a small measuring cup with a pour spout. If you do not wait the glaze will just run off the braid. Drizzle over the top of the braid. Top with sliced almonds and serve.

NOTES: My dough was very sticky but I was afraid to keep adding flour for fear it would get tough. Because it was my first time making it I had a hard time with the braiding, so mine did not look as beautiful as Julies.' Lastly, I made lots and lots of glaze/frosting to cover up my wonky braid. I think it look and tastes excellent. 


                                                   


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. 





What about you, did you bake anything or make anything that you thought was out of this world fabulous? If so, please share because it is always nice to have recommendations from friends. 

Have a great week!







5 comments:

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