These soft and tender Cinnamon Roll Braids are accented with sweet, citrus-y Orange and tender Walnuts. I love them with my morning coffee, but they make a terrific treat any time of day!
Whew! Another week is just about behind us now. Can you believe it? I feel like time just keeps whizzing past; every time I turn around here we are closing out the week again.
Was it a good one for you? Have you kept warm? Have you gotten a lot accomplished? Have you eaten well?
I have eaten very very very well this week 😉 Thanks in part to these babies, which I have been nibbling on with my morning coffee, as a little afternoon pick-me-up, and even a few times for dessert!
So, basically, I live under a rock. As a busy mom, and as someone who works from home, and as just a general hermit-ish person, there are a lot of trends that I don’t stumble across pretty until pretty late in the game, if at all. You may remember that it was just barely over a year ago that I jumped on the Peppermint Mocha bandwagon. Most of the time, if I’m hungry, I just make myself something to eat! So I end up going through life blissfully unaware of things like Bang-Bang Shrimp and Petite Vanilla Bean Scones and Zuppa Toscana and Pecan Braids.
But just before Christmas, I was out shopping with the fam when hunger struck. There was a Panera across the street so we decided to pop in and grab ourselves some lunch. I ordered myself some soup and they offered me a sweet treat for 99 cents more. Because I
have an insatiable sweet tooth am willing to tirelessly research food trends for the benefit of my readers, I went for it. I chose a Pecan Braid and figured I’d save it for next morning’s breakfast. Ha!
It smelled so good I had to sneak a little nibble on the car ride home. A little nibble was followed by another, bigger nibble, and then a big open wide mouthful, and then I decided I’d just eat half, and then before I knew it that Pecan Braid was just a distant memory. A distant, delicious memory.
I had no choice but to recreate that Pecan Braid! So that is just what I did, with a little bit of a Walnut and Orange spin!
Orange Walnut Braids
These soft and tender Cinnamon Roll Braids are accented with sweet, citrus-y Orange and tender Walnuts. A terrific treat- any time of day!
Yield: 6 pastries
For the Dough:
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 packet dry active yeast
- 2 tablespoons buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
- 1 large egg
- anywhere from 2 to 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- zest of one navel orange (or 2-3 clementines)
For the Filling:
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
For the Orange Glaze:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- zest of half a navel orange (or 1-2 clementines)
- 1-2 tablespoons orange juice
To Make the Dough:
- Preheat the oven to its lowest setting (on my oven it's 170 degrees F).
- Stir the warm water and sugar together, in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the surface and set aside for 5-10 minutes, or until slightly foamy.
- In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, oil, and egg. Add to the yeast mixture, stirring to combine.
- Add the flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and forms a ball. (You may not need all of the flour.)
- Add in the salt and orange zest, and transfer the dough to a clean, lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, or until it takes on a silky texture.
- Lightly mist the mixing bowl with non-stick spray, and place the dough back in. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Turn the oven off and place the covered bowl in to proof, about 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.
To Make the Filling and Form the Braids:
- Place the brown sugar, walnuts, cinnamon, cornstarch, and cloves in a small bowl and mix to combine.
- Preheat the oven to its lowest setting. Punch down the dough and roll out to a large rectangle, about 1/8-inch thick. Cut the rectangle into six equal squares, and butter each one liberally, maintaining a clean 1/2-inch border around all four edges. Spread an even layer of the cinnamon sugar mixture over the soft butter.
- Roll each square up into a log, pinching the sides to seal. Cut each log down the center long-ways, leaving the tippy end still attached. Twist into braids and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Turn off the oven and place the braids in to proof a second time, again, 1-2 hours or until doubled.
- Remove the braids from the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the braids for 15-17 minutes, or until puffed and slightly golden. Cool completely, then drizzle with Orange Glaze.
To Make the Orange Glaze:
- Place the powdered sugar and zest in a small bowl and stir in just enough orange juice to reach a drizzling consistency.
I watched this video to learn how to form the braids. This guy is a freaking machine! My efforts were a bit more clumsy, but I managed to get the job done. 😉
The bread component is soft and pillowy, and a little bit gooey. And the filling is cinnamon like whoa! The tender walnuts are such a nice compliment and that hint of orange just makes them so special. I hope you’ll give them a try!
Have a wonderful weekend, my dears! Enjoy it while it lasts- do something wintry like go ice skating or sip hot cocoa or curl up in front of the fire with a good book. Before we know it we’ll be saying goodbye to Old Man Winter!