Have you ever had a butter braid? I'm pretty sure you only can get them through school fundraisers, and they are good! They have a lot of different filling options, but my favorite is the cinnamon one. The problem is that I can only order them once a year (or less if I don't know anyone who has kids selling them), and then you have to store them in the freezer, which is prime real estate in my house. I don't think I've had one for a couple of years, and since I love making things homemade, I decided to try making them myself.
I searched and searched for a recipe for the thick, gooey cinnamon filling. I learned it's sometimes called bakers cinnamon filling, but I could not find a recipe. You can buy a mix from King Arthur's Flour, but that kind of goes against the making it homemade thing. Plus, I didn't want to wait for it in the mail. Therefore, I started experimenting. The first time I made these, I melted the butter, added the other ingredients, and patted it into the pastry. And then when I baked it, the filling ran out, it was really grainy, thin, and just not very good. I mean, it still was edible, but not something I wanted to share. So, back to the drawing board. Did I mention that I made two pastries with that filling, which I didn't want to throw away? Off for a run. The next time, I cooked the filling and this one was on the money. It's thick and gooey, and it stayed in the braid. Definite success.
I like to make my own puff pastry, but I figured most of you would be buying the sheets, so I went that route. Plus, let's be real--I was lazy. I bought the Pillsbury sheets in the freezer section. They come two to a box, and they're folded in thirds, which makes it very easy when you're spreading the filling and cutting the strips. I made this all in the morning, and it took about 30 minutes plus baking. I think you could assemble it at night, cover it with plastic wrap, and leave in the fridge overnight. Then in the morning, take it out while you preheat your oven, brush it with the egg wash, and then bake. If you do that, let me know how it turns out.
Here's some pictures to explain the cutting/folding process. It's already folded in thirds, so unfold it, and cut 1/2 inch strips diagonally on the sides. Also cut little slits in the fold creases at the top.
Pour your filling onto the middle section and fold the top and bottom over the filling.
With your first full strip, start folding over the middle, alternating between left and right. Fold tightly and be sure there are gaps. Gaps=places where the awesome filling can escape. Bad news.
When you're finished folding, it should look like this:
Next you'll want to trim the wings off and seal (pinch) the edges. Try to press together any pastry pieces, especially at the top and bottom. Then it's ready for the egg wash and the oven.
Cinnamon Butter Braid
Makes 2 braidsPrint this recipe
1 package puff pastry sheets, thawed
3 tablespoons milkFor the filling:
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2-3 tablespoons cream
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 egg + 1 tablespoon water (egg wash)For the icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a saucepan over medium high heat, melt the butter. Add in the brown sugar and whisk, bringing it up to a boil. Let it boil for about one minute, remove from heat, and whisk in the cream. Add the baking soda and cinnamon and whisk until combined.
Spread out your puff pastry sheets on parchment-paper-lined sheet trays. Brush with a few tablespoons of milk (this is supposed to help act as a glue to keep the filling in). On the outside sections, cut diagonal strips that are about 1/2 inch wide. Cut small slits on the creases at the top and bottom of the pastry. Spread half of the filling in the center of each pastry sheet, leaving room on the ends. Fold the top and bottom of the pastry over the filling, and start folding the strips over the filling, alternating between the left and right side. Make sure there are no gaps. Cut the wings off the corners and pinch to seal. Press any seams together to minimize filling leakage.
Mix together egg and water and brush onto the top of the puff pastry. You could use the rest of the wash for scrambled eggs. Place the sheet tray in the oven, and bake for about 20 minutes until the top is browned.
To make the icing, stir together the powdered sugar, milk, and cinnamon until smooth. Drizzle over baked pastry and serve.
A She Makes and Bakes original