These bear claws are absolutely melt-in-your-mouth delicious! It's impossible to resist the delicate pastry, rich almond filling and pretty fanned tops sprinkled with sugar and almonds. I made yummy treats like this when I worked in a bakery years ago. -Aneta Kish, La Crosse, Wisconsin
- 1-1/2 cups cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 5 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
- 1-1/4 cups half-and-half cream
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg white
- 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 cup almond paste, cubed
- 1 tablespoon water
- Coarse or granulated sugar
- Sliced almonds
- In a bowl, toss butter with 3 cups flour until well coated; refrigerate. In a large bowl, combine yeast and remaining flour.
- In a saucepan, heat cream, sugar and salt to 120°-130°. Add to yeast mixture with 1 egg. Beat until smooth. Stir in butter mixture just until moistened.
- Place dough onto a well floured surface; roll into a 21-in. x 12-in. rectangle. Starting at a short side, fold dough in thirds, forming a 12-in. x 7-in. rectangle. Give dough a quarter turn; roll into a 21-in. x 12-in. rectangle. Fold into thirds, starting with a short side. Repeat, flouring surface as needed. (Do not chill dough between each rolling and folding.) Cover and chill for 4 to 24 hours or until firm.
- For filling, in a small bowl, beat egg white until foamy. Gradually add confectioners' sugar and almond paste; beat until smooth. Cut dough in half widthwise. Roll each portion into a 12-in. square; cut each square into three 12-in. x 4-in. strips. Spread about 2 tablespoons filling down center of each strip. Fold long edges together; seal edges and ends. Cut into three pieces.
- Place on greased baking sheets with folded edge facing away from you. With scissors, cut strips four times to within 1/2 in. of folded edge; separate slightly. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Lightly beat water and remaining egg; brush over dough. Sprinkle with sugar and almonds. Bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Yield: 1-1/2 dozen.
Originally published as Almond Bear Claws in Taste of Home December/January 2002, p25
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