This Cranberry Pecan Braided Bread is festive and a beautiful spotlight of seasonal flavors. Enjoy it with the vanilla glaze and maybe even a little extra vanilla bean butter!


For the Dough

  • 3 – 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 package (2 1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup milk, warmed to 120-130 degrees Fahrenheit
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. Rodelle Pure Vanilla Extract

For the Filling

  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1 Rodelle Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean

For the Glaze

  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 tsp. Rodelle Pure Vanilla Extract
  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk together 2 cups of flour, the sugar, salt, cinnamon and yeast.
  2. Add the warmed milk, butter, beaten egg and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients. Then using your dough hook attachment, beat the mixture on medium speed for 1-2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  3. Once well combined, slowly add in more flour (you’ll need somewhere between 1 and 1 1/4 cups) until the dough is soft, easy to handle and easily leaves the side of the bowl.
  4. Continue mixing the dough on low-medium speed for about 5 minutes, stopping to pull the dough down off the dough hook as needed. The dough should be smooth and elastic.
  5. Alternatively, you can knead the dough by hand on a lightly floured counter top for about 5 minutes.
  6. Using your hands, shape the dough into a ball. Transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat the dough on all sides with a thin layer of the oil.
  7. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the dough has roughly doubled in size.
  8. Once the dough has risen, gently punch it down to deflate it. Remove the dough from the bowl and transfer it to a floured countertop.
  9. Shape it with your hands into a rectangle. Then using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a 24 X 12-inch rectangle. This will take a little bit of time and effort because the dough is fairly elastic. If the dough is too “springy” let it rest for a few minutes and then try rolling it out again.
  10. Spread the remaining 4 tablespoons of softened butter out into an even layer over the surface of the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch boarder around the edges.
  11. Add the cranberries, pecans, sugar and cornstarch to the bowl of your food processor with the blade attachment.
  12. Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Add the scraped seeds to the other ingredients in your food processor. Then pulse everything together until a course meal has formed.
  13. Spread the cranberry-pecan mixture out in a thin layer over the buttered dough. Then beginning at one of the long edges, tightly roll up the dough into a log. Pinch the edges of the dough together to seal it as best you can.
  14. Spray a baking sheet and the ring of a 9- to 10-inch spring form pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  15. Using a sharp knife, slice the roll lengthwise, creating two equal sized long halves, but leaving one end still attached by about 3/4-inch at the very end. Slightly rotate the halves outwards so the layers are facing upwards.
  16. Then, starting from the end that is still attached, cross the two halves over each other. Continue doing this until you end up with a single twisted/braided rope. Pinch together the end of the rope.
  17. Gently slide your rope onto to your greased baking sheet. Then starting with one end, spiral the rope into a closed circle. Place the ring of your greased spring form pan over/around the circle. Cover with a kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
  18. Meanwhile, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Position an oven rack in the middle position.
  19. Remove the towel from the dough, but leave the spring form pan in place. Transfer the baking sheet to your pre-heated oven. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and puffed. Remove the baking sheet from your oven and set it on wire rack to cool for about 10-15 minutes. Then gently slide the bread off the baking sheet and directly onto the wire rack to continue cooling.
  20. In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners sugar, water and vanilla extract until smooth. Then drizzle the glaze over the bread.
  21. You can slice and serve this bread while it’s still slightly warm, or let it cool completely to room temperature before serving.
  22. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for about 2 days.
  23. Note: This recipe was prepared by Liz at Floating Kitchen for Rodelle. Click here to view the original recipe and for more photos and helpful hints!