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!

7 reviews

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!

Prep Time 40 minutes Cook Time 15 minutes Total Time 55 minutes
Serves 6 pastries     adjust servings


    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:

    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
    Serving Size 1 pastry
    Amount Per ServingAs Served
    Calories 498kcal Calories from fat 119
    % Daily Value
    Total Fat 13g20%
    Saturated Fat 3g15%
    Transfat 0g
    Cholesterol 41mg14%
    Sodium 110mg5%
    Carbohydrate 90g30%
    Dietary Fiber 4g16%
    Sugars 47g
    Protein 8g

    Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs:

    Total FatLess than65g
    Sat FatLess than25g
    CholesterolLess than300mg
    SodiumLess than2,400mg
    Total Carbohydrate300g
    Dietary Fiber25g

    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!

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