The Kitchen Prep: Willowbird Baking Challenge #2: Brie & Jam Braid with Candied Walnuts

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Willowbird Baking Challenge #2: Brie & Jam Braid with Candied Walnuts

Did you get a chance to check out all the fabulous, innovative recipes from Willow Bird Baking's "Cinnamon Roll" Challenge last week? Seriously creative bakers, I tell you. {Uh, Guava & White Chocolate Cream Cheese Rolls?? I die.}

I participated in the first challenge because I like to give myself extra projects when I barely have time to breathe liked the idea of challenging myself with something I don't usually make. And the end result was great. But upon completion, I thought to myself, "Ok... that was fun. But no more challenges for a bit."

Well... I lied. To myself, that is. Because after I watched Julie's Challenge #2 video, I had a flood of ideas that I wanted to try out. I just couldn't resist.

The challenge this week? A braid. No, not like the fancy ones for hair that you see all over Pinterest... the ones that look like they might require a few extra limbs to accomplish. But a Cream Cheese Braid, like you might see served at a brunch or tea party.

I've actually made something similar before {back when I didn't know you were actually supposed to post recipes on a cooking blog. Duh.} , and it was pretty delicious.

This time, I decided to go with a stroke of savory/sweet inspiration and came up with the Brie & Jam Braid with Candied Walnuts.

I LOVE brie. It's quite possibly one of my favorite foods. Ever. And around the holidays, I start wanting to serve it at every party, get together, and gathering I have so that the leftovers will remain in my fridge for me to snack on. {They don't last very long.}

If you've ever had Brie en Croute, you know of the buttery simplicity of a wheel of brie enveloped in puff pastry and baked to melty perfection. Many times, you'll also find it topped with nuts or fruit jam. The combination of sweet and savory, crunchy and flaky, gooey and jammy, is divine.

{Pardon me while I mop up the drool puddle on my keyboard.}

So, for my braid, I decided to wrap up some of those flavors and textures in a neat little cream cheese dough package.

Brie. Apricot jam. Candied walnuts and a brown sugar syrup.

For some things, "Yum" is the only appropriate response. This is one of those things.

I'm not sure if I'll go for the next WBB Challenge, but I'm glad I decided to try this one because I have a feeling this recipe will be making an appearance again in the near future!

Brie & Jam Braid with Candied Walnuts

Willow Bird Baking Cream Cheese Dough Recipe:

2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, diced
3 ounces best quality cream cheese, cubed
1/2 cup milk, minus 1/2 teaspoon


4 oz. {approximately} brie
1/4 cup apricot jam {or your favorite jam... raspberry or apple butter would be amazing!}
1/3 cup brown sugar
1-2 tablespoons water
1/3 cup chopped walnuts


1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, diced butter, and cubed cream cheese in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Pulse a few times until large chunks are no longer visible and the flour resembles coarse meal.

Slowly add milk through feed, pulsing a few times until a ball of dough forms. {Do not overprocess.}

Turn sticky dough out onto a floured piece of parchment or wax paper. With floured hands, lightly knead a few times {not too many or you'll get a tough dough!}. Place another sheet of parchment or wax paper on top and, using a rolling pin, flatten and roll out into approximately an 8x12 inch rectangle. {Or amoeba shaped, as the case may be. I just can't seem to roll out dough into a rectangle!}

Slide onto a sheet tray coated with non-stick cooking spray. {If you are using wax paper, you will want to slide it out from under the dough. For parchment, you may keep the paper underneath the dough. DO NOT bake wax paper!}

Follow Julie's directions for marking & cutting the dough.  {She has great pictures over there that serve as a guide for you visual ones out there!}

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Spread jam in the center third of the dough. Top with slices of brie. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat 1/3 cup brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of water. Until sugar is melted and begins to bubble slightly. Add in chopped walnuts and stir to coat. {If the sugar hardens, you may want to add another tablespoon of water to loosen it up again.}

Pour coated walnuts and brown sugar syrup over brie.

Beginning at the top of your dough, take the first flap and fold it over diagonally toward the opposite side. Do the same with the flap on the other side. {It will look like flaps of dough hugging the center.} Continue doing this all the way down the dough until you have what resembles a braid. {It's ok if it isn't perfect... it will still taste good!}

Bake braid for 12-15 minutes, until dough is cooked through and slightly golden.

Meanwhile, place butter & brown sugar in a microwave safe measuring cup. Heat on high for about 1 minute, for 30 second intervals until butter and sugar melt together into a thickened syrup.

Pour over top of braid.

Serve warm or at room temperature.


PsychoTwin (Kelster) said...

This looks amazing! I'm baking my braid tonight but nothing as innovative as this1

The Kitchen Prep said...

@PsychoTwin (Kelster)- Thank you! Can't wait to see what you come up with... I'm sure it will be fabulous! ;)

Chelsea said...

Where did you get those gorgeous plates?! The brie and jam recipe looks amazing, of course, but those plates might actually make me drool.

The Kitchen Prep said...

Haha! Thanks, Chelsea, I love them too! I got them a few years ago at World Market. Not sure if they have them anymore but you should check it out! :)

Gingered Whisk said...

Um. Whoa. Brie cheese is probably my all time favorite anything. I could totally eat this entire thing myself and not feel bad about it at all! :) I normally pair my brie with raspberry or lingonberry jam, but I am definitely going to have to try apricot, it looks great!

The Kitchen Prep said...

It was definitely a challenge in itself to not eat the whole thing! ;) I love cheese of all kinds pretty much, but brie is my fave, too. Let me know how you like it if you give it a try!

LeAndra said...

This sounds amazing! One of my favorite fruit and cheese combinations pairs brie with Granny Smith apples and cherry jam. I first tried it on a French Bread sandwich roll, and it was wonderful

The Kitchen Prep said...

LeAndra - Mmm! Apples, brie, & cherry jam are a great combo! I bet you could use those as the filling for this recipe as well and it would be delicious. Thanks for stopping by! :)

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