"Since bear claws are my favorite sweet roll, I decided to lighten them up for a holiday brunch," explains the Spokane, Washington's Hollyce Swan. "Using a package of frozen cranberries that was leftover from Thanksgiving, I created these whimsical treats that are as tasty as they are cute."
- 1 cup finely chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
- Sugar substitute equivalent to 3/4 cup sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons grated orange peel
- 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
- 1/2 cup warm fat-free milk (110° to 115°)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3-1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 to 2 tablespoons fat-free milk
- In a large saucepan, bring the cranberries, sugar substitute and orange peel to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook and stir for 5 minutes or until thickened. Cool.
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add milk, sugar, eggs, butter, salt and 2 cups flour; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a bowl coated with cooking spray, turning once to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll into a 16-in. x 12-in. rectangle. Cut in half, forming two 16-in. x 6-in. strips. Spread cranberry filling down the center of each strip to within 1 in. of long edge. Fold lengthwise over filling and pinch seam to seal. Cut each strip into eight pieces. With a kitchen scissors, cut each piece two times from pinched seam to about 1 in. from folded side. Push an almond into the end of each section for bear claws.
- Place 2 in. apart on baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Curve folded side slightly to separate strips and allow filling to show. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.
- Bake at 375° for 10-14 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Combine icing ingredients; spread over rolls. Yield: 16 rolls.
Originally published as Teddy Bear Paws in Light & Tasty December/January 2006, p46
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