Well you guys, it’s finally here: my mom has agreed to let me share the recipe for her famous Almond Kringle she makes every year for Christmas morning breakfast.
A slice of this, served warm out of the oven with a cup of coffee, is truly one of my favorite things I eat all year, and the almond-filled scents wafting from the oven are forever synonymous in my mind with the coziest holiday feels.
My mom is the person who really taught me to cook, though it was an informal education of simply spending time together in the kitchen and watching as she intuitively prepared simple, delicious food for our family growing up.
But she’s always loved a standout baking project, and doesn’t shy away from towering layer cakes or from-scratch butter croissants worthy of a french bakery. I’d put this almond bread in the latter category; even though it’s not complicated, it does have that “wow” factor that makes it feel so special and worthy of being the centerpiece of a holiday brunch.
A few tips from my mama:
I like to mix the dry ingredients in the food processor, then pulse in the butter till it is the size of small beans. It’s especially important to chill everything before getting started, including a marble rolling pin or board, to keep the dough from sticking.
She reminded me that the rolling pin and marble board that she uses to make the bread (pictured up top) belonged to my paternal grandmother Mo, who actually purchased them years ago so she could make my mom’s almond kringle, too! Proof of a true family tradition. My mom took them for her own when Mo passed away, and it’s such a sweet way to remember her every time she rolls out the dough for my grandmother’s favorite bread.
The recipe calls for this loaf to be made into a pretzel shape, but for family gatherings, my mom started doing the heart shape a few years ago — I love the way it looks in the center of our table. Scroll on for the recipe, and I’d love to hear if you guys have a Christmas morning breakfast tradition in the comments!
- 1/2 cup warm milk
- 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon white sugar (divided)
- 1 (.25 ounce) envelope active dry yeast
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 (8 ounce) can almond paste
- 1/2 cup crushed sliced almonds
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 egg white, beaten
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- In a small bowl, stir together the milk and 1 tablespoon sugar. Sprinkle the yeast over the top and let stand for 10 minutes to dissolve. Stir in cream.
- In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and salt. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender or pinching with your fingers until it is a course mealy texture. Stir in the yeast mixture until well blended. Pat into a ball, flatten slightly, then wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours.
- To make the filling, mix the almond paste, almonds, 1/2 cup sugar, cinnamon and almond extract using an electric mixer until evenly blended. It may be crumbly.
- Roll the chilled dough out into a 24 inch wide and 18 inch long rectangle. Spread the filling to within 2 inches of the sides and roll up into a tube. Cover your work surface with sugar, and roll the tube of dough in the sugar to coat thoroughly. Roll and stretch the dough out to form a long rope about 36 inches long.
- Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and shape into a pretzel or heart shape.
- Brush the top of the dough with egg white and sprinkle with almonds. Cover loosely with a towel and let rise for 45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Bake the kringle in the preheated oven until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. You may need to cover with foil for the last few minutes of baking to prevent overbrowning. Cut into slices and eat!
*This bread can be made in advance and frozen for up to a month, wrapped carefully in foil. Thaw Christmas morning and bake till warm on a cookie sheet. Cover lightly with foil to prevent over-browning.
**adapted from this recipe