Best Apple Braid
3 medium-size Granny Smith apples
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons lemon juiceBread:
(note: before you panic about making bread, I have done this recipe using Pillsbury Crescent Roll Dough that I simply roll out & pinch the seams closed and then proceed with the slicing – so if you don’t want to make bread dough – try this shortcut!)
2 1/2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon instant yeast (I prefer SAF Instant Yeast)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar, sifted
5 teaspoons whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of kosher salt
Pinch of nutmeg
Spray a smooth clean surface with cooking spray and turn the dough out onto the surface. Knead the dough briefly to give it a smooth surface (this will only take several turns of the dough to accomplish). Spray a rolling pin with cooking spray and roll the dough out into a large rectangle, about 12-inches by 16-inches in size. Lift onto a greased baking sheet.
Using a pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut each side into strips about 1-inch wide down each side, leaving the center third of the dough uncut. Spread the apple filling down the middle third of the dough. Fold strips of dough into the center, crisscrossing the filling by alternating strips from each side. Lightly press ends to seal, and straighten out the braid with your hands, if necessary, to straighten.
Bake the braid in the oven for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let the braid cool for several minutes.
Make the Glaze: Whisk together the glaze ingredients in a small bowl until blended and smooth.
Brush the glaze in a thick coat over the entire surface of the apple braid while it is still cooling. Carefully transfer the braid to a cooling rack set on a baking sheet (to catch drips) to finish cooling and prevent the bottom of the braid from becoming soggy from sitting in any pooling glaze. Slice and serve.