A customized print-friendly version of this recipe is available by clicking the "Print Recipe" button on this page.

Nordic darkness is brightened when this golden Swedish Almond Braid is waiting on the table. A rope of almond filling nestled in the center of this soft sweet dough lends a distinctly Scandinavian flair, but don't limit the dough to just this filling. You can certainly use jams, nuts, or poppyseeds to feature your own favorite flavors.

This dough is also delicious when left unfilled and made into a classic braid.

At a glance

Prep
Bake
Total
Yield
one filled braid

Ingredients

Choose your measure:

Dough

Almond Filling

Confectioners' Sugar Glaze

  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk, water, rum, or brandy
  • a few drops of flavoring, orange or lemon oil, vanilla or almond
  • toasted almond slices, optional

Instructions

  1. To make the dough: In a small bowl or 2-cup measure combine the yeast, warm water, 1/2 teaspoon sugar and 1/4 cup flour.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and a clean towel and set aside until bubbly and very active, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, scald the milk.
  4. Pour immediately into a large bowl and add the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla and beaten eggs. Stir to melt the butter. When the mixture is lukewarm, add the yeast mixture and stir to combine.
  5. Add the flour, one cup at a time, until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and scrape out the bowl. Lightly oil the bowl and set it aside.
  6. Knead the dough, using only enough flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands and the board. The dough should be soft and pliable, but not sticky.
  7. Place the dough into the oiled bowl, turn to oil all surfaces and cover with plastic wrap and a clean towel. Let sit in a warm place for about 45 minutes, or until puffy.
  8. To make the filling: Beat the egg whites until thick. Slowly add the rest of the filling ingredients except the milk. Add only enough milk to adjust the consistency. Chill in the refrigerator while the dough finishes rising.
  9. Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased or floured surface. Gently deflate the dough and round into a ball.
  10. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest 10 to 15 minutes.
  11. To make the braid: Roll dough into a rough 10" x 15" rectangle about 1/4" thick.
  12. Draw two light lines on the rectangle, lengthwise, to divide dough into three equal sections.
  13. Spread almond filling down the center section, leaving 1" of clear space at either end.
  14. Cut 1" wide strips from edge of filling to outer edge of dough. Fold ends over, and bring dough strips across the filling on a diagonal, alternating from side to side, like a two-stranded braid. (See "tips", below.)
  15. Cover the braid with lightly greased plastic wrap and a clean towel, and let rise in a warm place until the dough is light and not quite doubled in size.
  16. While the braid is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.
  17. Brush the top of the loaf with an egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water. Bake the loaf for 25 to 35 minutes, or until it's a rich, golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
  18. To make confectioners' sugar glaze: Mix 1 cup confectioners' sugar with 2 tablespoons liquid (water, milk, a few drops of flavor extract, rum, brandy, grated lemon or orange peel, etc.)
  19. Drizzle the glaze on the braid. If you drizzle it on right after the braid comes out of the oven, it will spread and create a clear, shiny glaze over the whole surface. For more crunch, sprinkle nuts over this before it hardens.
  20. Store, well-wrapped, for 3 days at room temperature, or freeze for up to 3 months.