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!

These Orange Walnut Braids are just like the Panera Pecan Braids- with a twist!

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!

These Orange Walnut Braids are just like the Panera Pecan Braids- with a twist!

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!

These Orange Walnut Braids are just like the Panera Pecan Braids- with a twist!

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!

These Orange Walnut Braids are just like the Panera Pecan Braids- with a twist!

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Orange Walnut Braids
Prep Time
50 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Proofing Time
3 hrs
Total Time
4 hrs 5 mins

These soft and tender cinnamon roll braids are accented with sweet, citrus-y orange and tender walnuts. A terrific treat- any time of day!

Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: orange walnut braids
Servings: 6 pastries
Calories: 529 kcal
For the Dough
For the Filling
For the Orange Glaze
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • zest of half a navel orange, or 1-2 clementines
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons orange juice
To Make the Dough:
  1. Preheat the oven to its lowest setting (on my oven it's 170 degrees F).
  2. Stir the warm water and sugar together, in a large mixing bowl.  
  3. Sprinkle the yeast over the surface and set aside for 5-10 minutes, or until slightly foamy.
  4. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, oil, and egg.  
  5. Add to the yeast mixture, stirring to combine.
  6. 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.)
  7. Add in the salt and orange zest, and transfer the dough to a clean, lightly floured surface.  
  8. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, or until it takes on a silky texture.
  9. Lightly mist the mixing bowl with non-stick spray, and place the dough back in.  
  10. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel.
  11. 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:
  1. Place the brown sugar, walnuts, cinnamon, cornstarch, and cloves in a small bowl and mix to combine.
  2. Preheat the oven to its lowest setting.  
  3. Punch down the dough and roll out to a large rectangle, about 1/8-inch thick.  
  4. Cut the rectangle into six equal squares, and butter each one liberally, maintaining a clean 1/2-inch border around all four edges.  
  5. Spread an even layer of the cinnamon sugar mixture over the soft butter.
  6. Roll each square up into a log, pinching the sides to seal.  
  7. Cut each log down the center long-ways, leaving the tippy end still attached.  
  8. Twist into braids and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.  
  9. Turn off the oven and place the braids in to proof a second time, again, 1-2 hours or until doubled.
  10. Remove the braids from the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  
  11. Bake the braids for 15-17 minutes, or until puffed and slightly golden.  
  12. Cool completely, then drizzle with Orange Glaze.
To Make the Orange Glaze:
  1. Place the powdered sugar and zest in a small bowl and stir in just enough orange juice to reach a drizzling consistency.
Nutrition Facts
Orange Walnut Braids
Amount Per Serving
Calories 529 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Fat 13g20%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Cholesterol 38mg13%
Sodium 123mg5%
Potassium 158mg5%
Carbohydrates 97g32%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 53g59%
Protein 8g16%
Vitamin A 165IU3%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 69mg7%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.