Cranberry Almond Star Bread – a simple, easy step by step guide to making the most delicious cozy winter treat, perfect for the holidays!
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing. ~T. S. Eliot~
Here’s a festive holiday recipe for Cranberry Almond Star Bread! What I love about this is not only how beautiful and festive it looks, but how do-able this is. How lovely would this be on Christmas morning? The basic yeasted dough recipe is simple and what you add to it, is totally up to you.
Here I’ve added dried cranberries, almonds and cardamom. It’s actually a fun recipe to make and I would imagine that if you have kids who enjoy being in the kitchen with you- this would be a good one to make together. It’s surprisingly easy! Allow 2 hours for rising, 30 minutes hands-on time and 15 minutes for baking.
To make the Cranberry Almond Star Bread – make the dough in a stand mixer, let it rise, then divide into four balls.
In this recipe I used Jovial’s organic Einkorn all-purpose flour, but really any all-purpose flour will work here. Feel free to substitute part whole wheat as well. For the record, this is not a sponsored post, I just really liked this flour and wanted to share it.
Einkorn (rhymes with “fine corn”), if unfamiliar, is a very ancient wheat – the only wheat to have never been hybridized (unlike modern soft and durum wheat), and to have only 2 sets of chromosomes. Einkorn means “one grain” in German. That’s because Einkorn only has one grain attached to the stem, while other wheats have groups of four grains.
The biggest benefits of Einkorn are flavor and digestibility. Einkorn actually tastes like what wheat should taste like. Modern farming methods used to raise yields have stripped flavor and vital nutrients from today’s wheat. With Einkorn, you can actually taste wheat the way nature intended it.
Einkorn has 30% more protein and 30% less starch (carbohydrates) than regular wheat, plus many B Vitamins. The gluten in Einkorn lacks the high molecular weight proteins that many people can’t digest. If you are sensitive to modern wheat, Einkorn can provide a delicious alternative. Keep in mind, Einkorn does contain gluten, but it seems to be easier to digest.
Roll each ball into a 10 inch circle. Place the first layer a parchment lined sheet pan. Brush it with egg wash, sprinkle with spiced sugar, cranberries, almonds.
Almond paste or jam would be a good filling here too. Once all four disks are seasoned and stacked, place a 2 ½- 3 inch round cookie cutter or bowl in the center to use as a guide. Don’t press down!
Cut 16 strips, leaving the center in tact. Cut in quarters first, then eights, then sixteenths. Like a sunburst!
Take two strips (next to each other), one in each hand, and twist them 2 times away from each other, then pinch together the edges. Look at this photo below.
Gently pinch together the strips to form 8 points in this star. It really need not be perfect.
Cover and let this rise again while oven preheats.
Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown! Brush with butter if you like and sprinkle with powdered sugar!
When it comes out, it will dazzle.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar or brush with butter.
Serve as a morning bread or with afternoon tea, decorating with fresh cranberries if you like.
It’s winter solstice, the darkest day of the year. It wasn’t until I moved to the Pacific Northwest that this began to have meaning. Here, and as I get older, it becomes more significant, not only in the physical world but in the spiritual world. For most of my life, I’ve resisted darkness, desperately seeking light, in all its forms. Physical and non-physical.
This year in particular, has been a lesson in sitting with the darkness that inevitably comes to all of us, in time. Like night and day, winter and summer, it is half of the whole, the half I’ve tended to reject. For so many years, I’ve simply not allowed it. Distracting and busying myself. But it keeps surfacing, perhaps waiting for me to have enough courage to face it.
Some days I’m acutely aware of it, as I carefully tiptoe along the steep edge of it, fearing the misstep that will plunge me down into the sinking blackness. I’ve fallen off that cliff before (haven’t we all?), flailing, fighting against it, and in doing so, have suffered greatly.
But there is a different way I’m told from the wise ones who have gone before us – the path of acceptance – where pain will still meet us along our journey, but suffering need not become our constant companion. My prayer to the universe today . . . give me courage to sit with the darkness, simply allow it and see what comes.
Sending you love and courage to embrace all.
Cranberry Almond Star Bread
Cranberry Almond Star Bread – a simple, easy step by step guide to making the most delicious cozy winter treat, perfect for the holidays! Recipe Updated 12/16/2018
- Prep Time: 160 mins
- Cook Time: 15 mins
- Total Time: 2 hours 55 mins
- Yield: 8-10
- Category: dessert, bread, morning bread
- Method: baked
- Cuisine: nordic
- ¾ cup warm milk (100-110 degrees F)
- 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup soft unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons rapid rise or instant yeast ( if using active dry yeast, see notes)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cardamon (or nutmeg)
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries (optional)
- 3/4 cup sliced almond ( optional)
- Other fillings: almond paste, jams, other chopped nuts…walnuts, hazelnuts, or dried fruit.
- Garnish: powdered sugar, melted butter
- To make the dough with the instant yeast: Place all of the dough ingredients together in a stand mixer and using paddle attachment, beat on low for 3 minutes. You can also mix by hand, in a bowl to make a soft, smooth dough.
- Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let it rise in a warm spot, for 60 minutes, until it’s nearly doubled in bulk. If using active dry yeast, rising time will likely double.
- In the mean time, beat the egg and set aside. Mix the sugar, cinnamon and cardamon and place in a small bowl.
- Divide the dough into four equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, cover the balls, and allow them to rest for 15 minutes. On a floured work surface, roll one piece of dough into a 10″ circle. Place the circle on a parchment -lined sheet pan, brush a thin coat of beaten egg on the surface, then evenly sprinkle with a third of the spiced-sugar, ¼ cup dried cranberries, ¼ cup almonds, leaving 1/4″ of bare dough around the perimeter.
- Roll out a second circle the same size as the first, and place it on top of the filling-covered circle. Repeat the layering process — egg, spiced sugar, cranberries, almonds, then again, roll out the 3rd dough circle, add the remaining filling —and roll out the final ( 4th ) dough circle, placing it on top, leaving the top bare.
- Place a 2 1/2″ to 3″ round cutter in the center of the dough circle as a guide. With a bench knife or sharp knife, cut the circle into 16 equal strips, from the cutter to the edge, through all the layers. See photos.
- Using two hands, pick up two adjacent strips and twist them away from each other twice so that the top side is facing up again. Repeat with the remaining strips of dough so that you end up with eight pairs of strips. ( see photos)
- Pinch the pairs of strips together to create a star-like shape with eight points. Remove the cutter.
- Cover the star with a thin towel and let it rise until it becomes noticeably puffy, about 45 minutes.
- While the star is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Brush the star with a thin coat of the beaten egg. Bake it for 12 to 15 minutes, until it’s nicely golden with dark brown cinnamon streaks; the center should register 200°F on a digital thermometer.
- Remove the loaf from the oven and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes before serving.
- Dust with powdered sugar or brush with melted butter.
If making dough with active dry yeast – place the warm ( 110F) milk, sugar and yeast into a stand mixer ( or bowl) and mix until combined. Cover with a kitchen towel, let stand until yeast is active and frothy, about 5-10 minutes. Add remaining dough ingredients and beat on low speed until combined and it forms a soft dough. Continue with recipe above.
- Calories: 265
Keywords: star bread, morning bread, holiday bread, cranberry bread, almond bread, cardamon bread, christmas bread