Orange Walnut Braids
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!
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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Orange Walnut Braids
For the Dough
- 1/3 cup (78.86 ml) warm water
- 1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 ounce (7.09 g) active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 egg,, large
- 2 1/2 cups (312.5 g) all-purpose flour, (you may not need all the flour)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- zest of one navel orange,, or 2-3 clementines
For the Filling
- 2/3 cup (146.67 g) light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (29.25 g) chopped walnuts
- 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 tablespoons (29.57 g) unsalted butter, softened
For the Orange Glaze
- 1 cup (120 g) powdered sugar
- zest of half a navel orange,, or 1-2 clementines
- 1 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.
Does it matter if the dough is made with a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment or should it be made by hand with a wooden spoon?
Hi Nell! I made mine with a mixer/dough hook but I’m sure it would work with a wooden spoon too. So long as you have strong biceps, lol! Good luck and thanks for reading!
These look bakery worthy, Allie! Pinning! xo
How much yeast did you use? This looks super yummy and pretty… ill give it a try this weekend 🙂 thanks
Thanks Sana! I used one packet of instant yeast. About 1/4 ounce. Good luck and enjoy!
Oh Panera is the death of me! I lived there for two years while taking classes when I started grad school and just love their pastries. So glad you tried the braid and now we get a recipe! This is why I love you …so creative always! Oh and don’t worry about the trends, some of us know about them but barely try them as most are out there lol! I do however love bang bang shrimp! we have a local restaurant that makes the best bang bang chicken and shrimp noodles that I just cannot seem to have enough of this past month. So good!
You should talk to Jocelyn about that! She was like wth is a bang bang shrimp, lol! Thank you my dear!
It’s a beautiful day here today. These wonderful braids are beautiful too. I love love love sweet rolls. My down fall. You did a lovely job, Girl!
Thank you so much Carol!
I agree these would be perfect for breakfast and great with hot chocolate.
Ooh, I like the way you think Chineka!
I’m really glad you included the link to the video because I am much better seeing it than reading and then trying to picture it my head! These seriously look SO good! I’m going to try making some myself 🙂
Lol honestly I don’t think I could have expressed it in words at all! Thanks Jill; hope you enjoy! 🙂
I don’t know how I missed these pretty things! Man…I bet they’re amazing. When are we getting together for breakfast again….;-)
Hope you had a great weekend!
I have a few left over, Melanie, you should swing by! 😉
I swooned when I saw these on pinterest! They are beyond perfection, Allie! Pinning!
Thank you so much Tori! 😀 😀 😀
I love walnut braids bread and it’s interesting to add an orange twist to it. It’s my mom’s favorite flavor, so I’ll definitely try out this recipe with her next time! Love these amazing photos too, pinned!
It’s my mom’s too! She loves anything orange creamsicle and anything orange chocolate. I should have given her some of these to see how she likes orange cinnamon 😉 Thanks so much Maggie!
Orange walnut – this sounds like a brilliant flavor combination. Perfect!
Thanks Cake Spy! Everyone seemed to really like them 😉
Beautiful work, Allie! There’s nothing like a bit of pasty in the morning and these are not only mouthwatering, but they’re beautiful too! I’m certain they taste amazing with that hint of orange and cinnamon filling! These are way better than what you can buy in any chain store. Thank you, Allie, you inspire every time I open a post! <3
Right back atcha, Traci! Thank you so much for the kind words my dear <3
Bahaha I love your description of driving home and eating the whole braid that you were going to eat for breakfast. That is EXACTLY what I would do. I mean, you had good intentions of self control. But the braid just screamed your name, and you had to eat it. Hehe. The flavors in this braid look lovely. I’ve been thinking lately I want to try making bread. Yeast still intimidates me. I know, I know…silly really. I just need to DO IT 😉 I’ve missed your blog Allie. I’ll be around more!
That is exactly what happened! I could not stop. It was so good! And you know, I have been so weird about yeast for so long. It was a new year’s goal for me to conquer my fears and I’ve actually already done 3 yeast bread posts so far. The more I do it the easier and more enjoyable it’s becoming. Good luck to you and thank you!!!
This recipe grabbed my attention this morning because I’m about to make a cake with oranges later in the day. I love that these have so many warm, winter flavours in them! Oh, and what beautiful photos (but that goes without saying, really)
You’re right that we should make the most of the day this Sunday. Here in the UK it’s one of those beautiful freezing but sparkingly beautiful days. Enjoy your day too, Allie!
Aw that sounds lovely Helen! It’s frozen here today too; we were supposed to have a family brunch this morning but it got cancelled because of all the ice, and we’re having an afternoon get together at my house instead. I’m so glad! We’re going to have a fire and football games on tv and I’m thinking it will be so cozy! Thank you so much for the sweet comment my dear, I’m looking forward to seeing your orange cake!
These are absolutely stunning! Totally rockin’ my world with these!
Thanks Amanda, lol! Hope you’re enjoying your Sunday sweetie. Are you back home yet or still in Phoenix? Can’t wait to hear all about that conference!
I’ve never had that pecan braid at Panera despite the fact we’ve taken the kids there a bazillion times! I don’t even think I noticed them, so who lives under a rock? haha I love the flavors you used here, and these are just stunners! Pinned. 🙂
These braids look so delicious! Love the walnut and orange flavour- amazing Allie! x
This looks so good! The link to the video on how to do the braids didn’t work 🙁
Thanks for letting me know, Irene! It’s all fixed now 😉
An orange and walnut braid just sounds SO delicious.. and they look pretty awesome too. I could definitely devour one right now!
Ahhh! I love Panera… the first step inside and you are literally engulfed by all the amazing smells. I love this take on the twists – well, because I love any orange-infused breakfast treat! Can’t wait to try these soon. 🙂
Oh my gosh, yes! It felt so warm and cozy when we stepped in there. Loved every second of it! Thank you so much Jen!