Friday, February 14, 2014

Brilliant Brunch: Blackberry Cream Cheese Breakfast Braid

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Happy Valentine's Day!  I love Valentine's Day...even when I have no "special someone" to share it with.  Everyone in their life has people that they love and this day is about them, not just the love I feel for John but the larger love - the love that my family has taught and given me and that same love that I've been able to share with John.

Also, who doesn't love love?  I don't know anyone and if you do, don't rain on my parade, okay?  I'm kinda bummed that Valentine's Day is on a Friday.  It almost makes me want to skip work and just hang out with John all day!!  If you are postponing your big celebrations until this weekend, I wanted to post something that would really get it off to a nice start.

This breakfast braid is great and I let it sit overnight, covered, in the fridge, to continue rising and deepen the flavors.  Then, the next morning, we baked it and devoured it!  It makes a HUGE braid so of course, we shared some with my family as well.  I'm a nice daughter / sister / granddaughter / sister-in-law after all!
Blackberry Cream Cheese Breakfast Braid (adapted from Amanda's Cookin')
Serves:  8-12 (1 braid)
1/3 cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 tablespoon yeast
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup vanilla yogurt

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups flour

1/3 cup cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons sour cream
3 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup blackberry preserves
2 cups blackberries 

Dough:  In a small bowl, combine water, sugar, and yeast.  Let sit 5 minutes until foamy and then stir in flour.  Stir well to combine and then loosely cover with plastic wrap and let proof 10-15 minutes.

Mix the yeast mixture with vanilla yogurt, butter, egg, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and flour.  Mix until the dough stays together and then knead 8-10 minutes until a soft, smooth dough forms.  Clean the bowl and lightly grease it.  Place the dough into the oiled bowl, turning once so all sides have been oiled.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place 60-90 minutes, until puffy and nearly doubled.

Filling:  Beat cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, and flour, in a small bowl until well-combined and smooth.  Set aside.

Braid:  On a very well floured surface, roll the dough into a 10" x 15" rectangle.  Lightly press 2 lines down the down lengthwise, to divide it into 3 equal sections.  Spread the cream cheese filling down the center section, top with preserves, and then with fruit. 

To form the braid, cut 1" crosswise strips down the length of the outside sections (count to make sure you have the same number of strips on each side!).  Take the first strip and lift it over the filling, diagonally, gently pressing the end of the strip into the dough where it rests.  Repeat on the other side so that the strips crisscross each other.  Continue down the entire braid, alternating strips to form the loaf.  Cover and let rise for 45-60 minutes, until puffy.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Place the braid on a large cookie sheet and bake 25-30 minutes, until the loaves are golden brown.  Let cool slightly and serve warm.  Or, let cool completely and serve at room temperature.

Until the next time my oven is on...


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Welcome! I'm Dani (aka the Growing Foodie), just a girl balancing her career and passion for all things edible in NYC. I hope you'll join me in my adventures in life, through food. (Click for More)
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