Christmas Morning Star Bread

A once-a-year decadent treat that is beaming with holiday magic: christmas morning star bread. It’s the festive version of a pan of cinnamon rolls…rich and buttery dough, layered with an orange & vanilla scented brown sugar filling, baked until golden and bubbling, then topped with a sweet pecan caramel sauce and powdered sugar. The BEST thing to wake up to on Christmas morning.

Christmas Morning Star Bread

KitchenAid Mixer

Closing out the Week of Christmas Giveaways with one last (and VERY exciting) giveaway with Williams Sonoma! I couldn’t get by during the holidays without a trusty KitchenAid mixer, and they’ve got a gorgeously-designed, exclusive white mixer that we’ll be giving away to one of you!

Because this time of year is when we need our mixers the most…to make lots of cookies, breads, sweet treats, pizzas, and truly anything else decadent and festive you can think of! I use mine so very often. And I used it to make this very beautiful Christmas morning star bread.

Christmas Morning Star Bread

The dough for this star bread comes together really easily in the mixer. It’s full of brown butter, cinnamon-infused milk, vanilla + almond extracts, and a little bit of orange zest. Lots of subtle flavors that create the most perfect “Christmas morning” feeling.

The dough is divided into four, rolled out thin, filled with a buttery brown sugar filling, cut and formed, and then baked until golden. It’s a really fun process that results in the most gorgeous bread.

I’m topping this one with even more sweet flavor – a sticky pecan caramel sauce. Which is very over-the-top decadent, and very perfect for the holidays.

There’s nothing I’d rather wake up to on Christmas morning!

Christmas Morning Star Bread

Christmas Morning Star Bread

Christmas Morning Star Bread

Giveaway Details

*giveaway now closed*

For all the details on how to enter the last giveaway, head over to Instagram. We’ll be giving away a KitchenAid Artisan White Mixer with Hobnail Bowl from Williams Sonoma!! For a bonus entry, make sure to leave a comment on this blog post below.

Thank you so much for tuning in to the Week of Christmas Giveaways, and I hope you enjoyed all of the recipes and wonderful holiday products. I’m hoping it’s inspired you to have a festive, delicious, and absolutely magical Christmas season by getting in the kitchen and creating beautiful food for those you love!

I’ll see you next week for even more holiday recipes leading up to Christmas Eve!

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Christmas Morning Star Bread

Christmas Morning Star Bread

a festive, decadent christmas morning star bread scented with orange and vanilla, topped with a rich pecan caramel sauce

servings: 8-10

  • Author: Kayla Howey
Scale

Ingredients

Christmas Star Bread

  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 1 tbsp + ¾ tsp dry active yeast
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ½ sticks (6 oz) butter, browned and cooled
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 3 ¾4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 egg yolk + 1 tbsp milk, beaten
  • powdered sugar, for dusting

Filling

  • 2 sticks (8 oz) butter, softened
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp orange zest
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • raw sugar, for baking

Pecan Caramel Sauce

  • 1 stick (4 oz) butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • ½ tsp kosher salt

Instructions

Dough

  1. Whisk the water and dry active yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let sit for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the milk and cinnamon sticks in a small saucepan. Heat over low heat for 10 minutes (the milk should just barely come to a simmer). Strain the milk.
  2. Add the milk, sugar, cooled brown butter, and eggs to the yeast mixture and whisk until smooth. Stir in the vanilla extract, almond extract, and orange zest.
  3. Add 3 ¾ cups of flour and salt to the wet ingredients. Using the dough attachment, mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. If the dough is too sticky to handle, add in a little bit more flour. Once the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl and form a ball, you’ve added enough flour. Continue to mix for 3 minutes.
  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Knead for 2 minutes longer. Flour the inside of the bowl and place the dough in there to rise. Cover with a damp towel and rise in a warm space for 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.

Filling

  1. Mix the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, cloves, orange zest, and salt together until well-combined.
  2. Cut the risen dough into 4 pieces. Roll each piece out into a circle, about 1/8” thick. Place one circle onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Spread 1/3 of the filling onto the dough, leaving a slight border. Repeat with the remaining layers and filling. Place the last piece of dough on top to complete the layers. Gently press the edges of dough together.
  3. Use a drinking glass to mark a circle in the center of the dough. Cut the surrounding dough into 16 even slices (see photos). Take two slices and twist them outwards then press the ends together to seal. Repeat until a star shape has formed.
  4. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm place for another 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  5. Brush the star bread with the egg wash mixture and sprinkle heavily with raw sugar. Bake the bread for 20 minutes. Cover with foil and bake for 10 minutes longer.
  6. Let rest for about 10 minutes before serving. Dust with powdered sugar and serve the pecan caramel sauce (recipe below) on the side.

Pecan Caramel Sauce

  1. Combine the butter, brown sugar, heavy cream, cinnamon stick, and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium heat. Let the butter melt and mix well. Lower the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in the pecans and salt. Simmer for another 5 minutes.
  3. Serve warm. If the caramel cools, it will harden. You can always put it back over low heat with a splash of cream to loosen up.

Christmas Morning Star Bread

[This post was made in partnership with Williams Sonoma. Thank you for supporting the brands I love!]

128 thoughts on “Christmas Morning Star Bread

  1. I believe cooking is one of the most beautiful ways to create experiences and beautiful memories. Thank you for sharing your recipes with the rest of us.

  2. It’s beautiful! Your amazing bread and the Kitchen-aid stand mixer too! Love the fun look of the bowl, which is fresh and classic rolled into one. All that butter in this recipe was probably extra happy being mixed in it! Merry Christmas and have a delectable morning!

  3. Oh my goodness…. I can almost smell it coming out of the oven as I was reading the ingredients list! I can’t wait to try it! – Lore (@eyeBionic)

  4. My family always makes some type of baked good together Christmas morning. I think I found this years recipe ☺️ looks delicious!

  5. Spending my Christmas in the middle of the ocean on a sailing wooden ship direction Caribbean. Was wondering what to make for that day but now I know! Thanks for the recipe xx

  6. When I think of art, I think of food.. and this is the perfect example! Gorgeous! Thank you for the inspiration now I need to up my baking game ASAP!

  7. Thanks for this recipe without chocolate (not easy to survive during December for someone who dislikes chocolate 😅), can’t wait to try this, looks delicious 😍

  8. Love a good briochey bread! Thinking of making this, and making a dark chocolate dip, accompanied by some crushed salty roasty pistachios. Both Caramel and chocolate lovers can rejoice together! And those of us that fall between can get the best of both worlds! 😋

  9. Can’t wait to try this with 12 year-old son who’s baked with me in the kitchen and has been learning to make bread since he was little.

  10. Perfect 👌🏻
    Looks beautiful and I bet it tastes even better, I’ll definitely make this beauty this week.
    Thank you 😘

  11. Thanks for including the step by step pictures on how to twist the bread. It’s so beautiful and I can’t wait to make this for my family!

  12. This is so pretty and it looks delicious! I’m spending Christmas at home for the first time ever and this would be a lovely Christmas morning treat!

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