Thursday, March 03, 2011

Cranberry and Almond Brunch Bread

It's only since I've begun blogging that I've realized just how often I bake breads. Honestly, when it comes down to it, I far prefer working with bread dough than finicky pastries or cookies.

Over the weekend, I was feeling like I needed a kick of fruit. Of course, we didn't have much in the house except a bag of frozen, neglected cranberries.

I figured cranberries, even encased in sweet dough and glazed with icing sugar, could still count as a fruit serving, right? Right?

Truthfully, I'm not entirely sure what to call this recipe. The recipe I adapted it from calls this style of bread a "yeasted coffee cake"... but I definitely think this feels more like bread and less like cake. It would be perfect as part of a brunch, or, if you're like me (and I hope you are) as a post dinner nosh.

Cranberries and Almond Brunch Bread

(adapted from Martha Stewart's Yeasted Chocolate Coffee Cake)



2½ tsp active dry yeast
¼ cup plus 2 tbsp granulated sugar
3/4 cup warm milk (100º-110º)
1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk
½ tsp almond extract
3 cups all purpose flour, plus more for surface
½ tsp Kosher salt
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature (plus more for greasing bowl)
1 large egg lightly beaten with 1 tbsp milk (or cream) for egg wash


¼ cup whole almonds, roasted and then finely chopped
1½ cups frozen cranberries, thawed
¼ cup almond or cherry liqueur (I used homemade cherry liqueur)
12 oz light cream cheese
1 large egg yolk
¼ plus 2 tbsp icing sugar


1 cup icing sugar
2 tbsp milk 


1. Sprinkle yeast and a pinch of sugar over warm milk. Let sit for 5 minutes or so until yeast proofs. Whisk in remaining sugar and the egg and yolk and almond extract.

2. Using the paddle attachment, mix flour and ½ tsp salt in the bowl of a mixer. Add yeast-egg mixture and mix gently until just combined, about 30 seconds.

Switch to the dough hook, add butter and beat until smooth (it will be slightly sticky), about 10 minutes.

3. Grease a large bowl. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead a couple of times to ensure smoothness. Place in bowl, turning to coat with grease.

Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draft free location. Allow to rise to the point of doubling in volume, about 1½ hours.

4. While dough is rising, soak the thawed cranberries in liqueur. Allow to steep for at least an hour.

5. For the filling, mix together cream cheese, egg yolk and icing sugar until smooth.

6. Punch down dough. Transfer back to floured work surface. Let rest for a few minutes and then roll into an 18" square. Brush edges with egg wash.

7. Spread cream cheese mixture over surface.

Then sprinkle with chopped almonds and soaked cranberries.

8. Roll mixture up, jelly roll style.

9. Preheat oven to 350º. Coil dough and place on greased parchment or Silpat lined baking sheet. Brush with egg wash. Let rise, covered with plastic wrap for 20-30 minutes or until risen by half.

Remove wrap, cut dough with 6 slashes.

10. Bake dough, rotating pan halfway through for about 55 minutes or until golden. Reduce oven temperature to 325º and continue to bake until deeply golden, about 15 - 20 minutes more. Transfer to rack to let cool.

11. Combine glaze ingredients and pour over bread.

Take a look at what's going on inside the bread:

Oh, so deliciously tart! The sour cranberries mix with the sweet cream cheese filling - I just love a cake that balances those sweet-tart flavours!


dmcL said...

*deleted the original comment because I cannot abide my own spelling errors*

Dear lord, woman, I'm trying not to gain over 40lb this pregnancy, and you are so not helping! That looks absolutely amazing and totally adaptable for different fruits and flavours.

I completely agree on preferring to work with bread rather than pastry. As nice as pastry can be, bread is, quite literally, alive, and I think that lends an extra element to the experience.

Locavore Family said...

Holy smokes. This looks amazing. A-MAZING.

How do you do it? Everything you makes looks irresistible.

Ringy said...

That looks fantastic. Like a tea ring almost!

Alyson said...


@dmcl - I'm sorry I'm not being more helpful!

@locavore - I swear, it's the bread, it's not me

@ ringy - Yes! Tea loaf! That's what I was thinking too, except I couldn't remember the word.

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