Almond Bear Claws


A couple of months ago I got a request from one of you for a recipe for bear claws. What fun, my boys absolutely love them, as much for the appearance as for the taste. There are many styles of bear claws, but this one is easy and most of all the kids will get a kick out of it.

Thank you for the requests, we want to hear what you’d like to make with all the dough. If you have an idea for a bread post, just drop us a note in the comments. It may take us a while, but we will try our hardest to make it.makes 6 Bear Claws:

1 pound Brioche dough

1 cup frangipane (almond cream- page 193 in ABin5)

egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water)

sugar for sprinkling

almonds for decorating

prepare a baking sheet with a sheet of parchment or a Nonstick Silicone Baking Mat


Roll out the brioche dough to 1/4-inch thick rectangle. Cut the rectangle into 6 squares.


along one end put about 3 tablespoons of the almond filling. Then use a pastry brush to paint a line of the egg wash just below the filling.


Roll the dough over and press it over the filling onto the line of egg wash you painted on. This will act as a glue so that the pastry won’t pop opened in the oven. Allow to rest for 45 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.


Use a Pastry Wheel to cut the dough into claws. I’m not exactly sure how many toes a bear has, but I thought five looked right.


Fan out the claws and make and press the seam one more time to make sure they won’t pop opened.


paint the entire pastry in egg wash, press the almonds into the ends of the toes and sprinkle with the sugar. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden.

60 thoughts to “Almond Bear Claws”

    1. Hi Amanda,

      I love monkey bread. My brothers used to make it all the time when they were little! Let me know how it goes.

      Enjoy, Zoë

  1. These look delicious! I was wondering how would I make the almond filling a chocolate almond filling?

    1. Hi Chrissy,

      What a fantastic idea. I’d just shave some chocolate and fold it into the almond cream. Love it and will try it with the filling I have left.

      Thanks, Zoë

  2. Those are hilarious!!! Sort of freaky looking, but oddly yummy looking as well. I think there might be a little “twisted” side to you 🙂

  3. They certainly brought a smile to my face 🙂 I had to Google to see if you were right on the toe count and you were! Fun and delicious too – great combo.

  4. Utterly delightful – will try these – AND Yes I love monkey bread, and i have used frozen bread roll dough to allow to rise in oven overnight then bake off first thing – I hope you will try that one out!

  5. These look so good! The school mascot is a bear! What a cute thing to make for homecoming celebrations!

    I’m very interested in finding out how the monkey bread does. I love making that!

  6. Guys, these are really too cute! Thanks so much for this recipe and all the others and assorted words of wisdom. An important thing I’ve learned here and from your book is that it’s ok and even a really cool idea to experiment with your dough.

    In that spirit, and having been unable to find advice from you about making hot dog buns, I took matters in my own hands and made…..dogs in a blanket.

    I took a precooked hot dog and wrapped it in 1/16th inch dough rolled a little longer than a dog and enough to wrap it 2 and a half to 3 times. I rolled each one up like a spring roll/burrito and slashed the tops down to the meat a la boule and baked them at 375 for 17 minutes. They were brown, crisp and delish! My husband loved them but was worried about how to put the mustard on. Next time, I’ll spread some condiments on the dough before I roll up the hot dogs!

    Thanks again! Margot

    1. Hi Margot,

      That is very cool. My kinds are going to love that and if I put them on a stick, even better!

      Thanks, Zoë

  7. Zoe,
    I’ve got to tell you again how fabulous you guys are. For breakfast today we had homemade “Cinnabons”. Last night I used the brioche dough, rolled it out like the pecan carmel rolls, spread a mixture of cinnamon, chopped walnuts, butter and brown sugar over the middle and proceeded just like the carmel rolls. I refrigerated them overnight and this morning, I took them out of the fridge, let them rise while I heated the oven. 40 min. later I drizzled them with a glaze out of milk and powdered sugar…Everyone LOVED them! And so much cheaper and easier than going out to the store/bakery to get them fresh! I made a second batch which I froze. I will take them frozen with us up to Yosemite next week. They will defrost on the ride up and the following morning, my family will have delicious, homemade cinnamon rolls! Can’t wait for the new book! My Christmas present to all my favorite friends this year!

    1. Hi Cynthia,

      Thanks for the kind note, we are so glad you are enjoying all the bread and “Cinnabons” you are making.
      Have a blast baking in Yosemite!

      Enjoy, Zoë

  8. Hey there,

    I love the cookbook. Can’t thank you enough for making baking fabulous bread a reality for me the non-baker. I heard you two are working on a new book. When will it be available? I’m ready to buy it now. Thanks again. We’re eating well over here in Delaware.


    Marianne Sarcich

  9. I’m looking at these lovely pictures and wondering if you somehow made whole wheat brioche dough? My dough was so yellow and light colored! Would this work with some kind of healthier dough?

    1. Hi Christina,

      You guessed it! Jeff and I are baking from the new book already and these were made from the 100% Whole Wheat Brioche Dough from HBin5. You could certainly make them from any of our enriched doughs from ABin5 with lovely results.

      Happy Baking, Zoë

  10. After reading this brioche blog entry, using the Challah dough, I rolled it out, placed some yummy sliced Colorado peaches & sugar on the dough, rolled it up and baked it (after rising) as a loaf. It’s delicious! Thanks for all of your great ideas, Zoe and Jeff.

  11. I know this might be a crazy question but can anyone suggest an egg substitute in the Challah or brioche bread? I have done well with the boule recipe, but I have an egg allergic 6 year old who would really enjoy some sweeter items. Or could I use another egg free recipe from the book instead?

    1. Amy: People have told us the supermarket subsititutes for eggs actaually work (like Egg Beaters). Haven’t tried it though. Jeff

    1. Bonnie: One thing would be to make a less-enriched bread, like the challah, see our post on this at; same idea but a lower level of enrichment. We don’t make that recipe’s details available on the web but it’s in the book on page 180. Another approach would be to swap some of the butter for a healthier fat like canola oil; we get into that in our second book, out on 10/27:

  12. Thanks Jeff, but Egg Beaters are actually made from eggs – somehow…I have used egg replacer powder from the health food store with mixed results in baking. But maybe I will give it a try with the bread.

  13. I love the brioche dough but I have a question on the basic recipe for all the doughs. You say to cover but not airtight and refrigerate. My fridge dries out things that aren’t properly covered, so I lost half of my brioche dough when it lost its moisture. Is there any reason why you can’t cover it with an airtight cover to keep it from drying out in between bakings?

    1. Maureen: Some readers have complained that an airtight container concentrates an alcohol smell in the dough. I’m not bothered by that because it boils off in the baking and leaves no residue. The biggest risk in using something “air-tight” might be that someone would use a glass container with a screw-top, which, in theory, could burst from gas pressure. But you can snap on a plastic lid and see if that works better for you. Jeff

  14. What great timing, Jeff! I just began a batch of your “Soft American-Style White Bread” (I’m trying everything!) and I was just at the point of refrigerating. I’ll pop on that top and see how I do. I always use plastic so pressure is no problem. I made the garlic-chard-parmesan brioche and it was incredible. Next project will involve blueberries. After 30 years of baking bread the “old way”, I’m having a ball!!!! Look forward to the new book and some more great ideas. You guys are amazing!

  15. I got the new microwave plastic “boxes” that seal on each side (or not) and use them. I just leave one side unsealed in case it needs to “burp” and it works great. I use it both for mixing and for refrigerator storage. And if I am mixing up 2 different kinds of bread, they stack!

  16. As an egg substitute in other things, I’ve used a heaping Tablespoon of soy flour and a tablespoon of water. I’ve never made the challah or brioche, and have no idea if it would work in them. It works in muffins, etc.

    1. Tammy: Nutritionally, it answers the question, because you’ll get the protein boost (with healthier fats as well). But you won’t get the color or flavor we associate with Brioche or Challah dough. I’m sure it would work, though, and the breads would turn out well. Jeff

  17. I love the whimsical look! They really DO look like bear claws:)

    The book just arrived today and I can’t wait to get started!!!

  18. I use the master recipe all the time because it is so versatile. But, I just made my first loaf of Brioche. It smelled so good I couldn’t wait for it to cool. It tastes delicious! I think I’ll try these bear claws with the dough I have left.

    1. Tami: Bear claws work beautifully with the Brioche, but you can swap the challah. Result is similarly sweet, but there’s less enrichment (fewer eggs and less fat). Depends on what you’re looking for. Jeff

  19. Regarding the egg allergy posted above, could you try duck eggs? We have a friend who cannot eat chicken eggs but can eat duck eggs. Check with your son’s doctor first.

    Duck eggs tend to be larger in size- extra large to jumbo compared to chicken eggs and the yolk is bigger, too. Since the whites are firmer, you’ll need to scramble a bit more that “lightly”. Looking at the recipe, you could probably use 6 duck eggs instead of 8 large chicken eggs. We have a small flock of 7 Khaki Campbell hens and I have fabulous results using their eggs for baking. Check with local farmers or at farmer’s markets for duck eggs online are outrageous ($50 for 18 eggs shipping included!!!- no I’m not kidding). Best of Luck!

    To Jeff & Zoe- thanks a million for your amazing book. I came across your article in Mother Earth News magazine (Dec. ’08/Jan ’09) and have been spreading the word about your incredible methods ever since. I LOVE to bake but haven’t had the time to commit to regular bread baking. This is no longer the case! I’ve been so excited about it, I practically did a jig when I purchased a copy of ABin5 this week. I have hardly put it down. And now that I’ve found your website- there’s not stopping me!

    Best wishes for huge success on your upcoming book. I know I’ll be getting one!

    1. Thanks so much Linda, so nice of you to write. Don’t know much about duck eggs but I’m guessing they are delicious (can’t comment on their allergic potential, just don’t know).

      Glad you saw us in Mother Earth– we’re about to be in there again; they’re excerpting our next book (Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day). Amazon pre-order for that book is available at The book is officially available on October 27. Jeff

  20. …spreading the love! just gave away a 1/2 loaf of improvised kalamata/fontina/garlic bread and some of the next batch of basic (flavored with thyme and rosemary) dough. Making a batch of brioche so I can do some sticky buns tomorrow.

    I’m only days in and addicted! Going to give away extra bread to the fire station. They can burn off all those carbs!

    Thanks for the new hobby!

  21. Help! I planned to make cinnamon rolls with the brioche dough, but the dough was so soft! I refrigerated it as you suggested after spreading the butter, sugar, cinnamon; that made it even harder to roll because the butter hardened into little pieces, tearing the dough. I use a silicone mat so didn’t flour it. What am I doing wrong?

    1. Hi Linda,

      It sounds like your dough was a bit too soft to begin with? Was it easy to work with before you added the fillings? When you measured the flour did you use a scoop and sweep method with unbleached all-purpose? If you spoon the flour into the measuring cup you will end up with too little flour and this can often be the cause of a too soft dough.

      We have you chill the dough after it is rolled into a log. Are you then having a hard time cutting the log? It is really okay if the dough squishes a bit when you cut it. Or perhaps you chilled the dough before rolling it into a log, which is why your butter is cutting into the dough? If so you will want to use a plastic scraper to help you gently pry the dough from the silpat as you carefully roll the dough. Don’t worry if it breaks through the dough a little bit. When using the silicone mats as a work surface you will still need to use flour to roll out the dough. You generally need to use less, but some is still required.

      Hope that helps! It will still taste great!


  22. if using a silicone mat, you could lift the edge of it and use it to nudge the dough into a roll, as when you make struedel, using the cloth underneath to lift-and-roll the dough.

    For this kind of a shaped doft and rich douhg, though, you’d be better off using a floured board to roll your dough on, then bake the cut rounds in a round or rectangular pan. Scoot some extra flour underneath the dough after laying on the filling. I use my bench scraper to release any sticky spots. ( I don’t chill my rolled rectangle before filling–no space!)

  23. Jeff,

    Is there a particular brand of bread box for storing and oven thermometer you would strongly recommend?

    Just tried your Whole Grain Master Loaf printed in Mother Earth News magazine. For my first loaf I’m very pleased with the results. Have also just received your two most recent books and am looking forward to much more experimenting.

    Thank you very much,

    Tom Dunnock
    Seven Valleys, PA

  24. I made a batch of brioche dough and used part of it for cinnamon rolls. They were delicious. I froze the rest of it in one pound portions and last weekend, I thawed a package to try and make the sunny side up apricot pastry. Well, the dough would not rise. When I baked it, it was as flat as a pie crust. I had the dough in the freezer for about two weeks. Was that too long?

    1. Hi Ellen,

      Hmmmm? It will lose a little of its rising power, but yours sounds very dramatic. Sometimes it will require a longer resting time to get its lift back. Two weeks should not be too long. If you have more dough left try letting it rest longer before baking and see if that helps. Please report back if you do try it.

      Thanks! Zoë

  25. After adding the water to the flour, I have found that after just a few strokes with the
    spatula, I let it sit for a few minutes – up to
    10 and most of the water is absorbed and
    takes very little mixing.

  26. Patricia: I’d be a bit concerned about forming hard lumps that are difficult to break up, but if this is working for you, more power to you!


  27. Hi Zoe and Jeff,
    Every recipe we’ve tried from you books so far has been wonderful. My 13-year-old son is making bread a couple of times a week and his favorite is still the basic recipe.
    In our area, “bear claws” refers to the same shape sweet roll, but made with laminated dough, very flaky like a croissant or traditional Danish dough.
    Love the brioche recipe in you book, but wonder if either of you has tried to achieve a true croissant-type dough with ABi5 methods. You have no doubt seen the many “easy croissant” recipes that make awful, croissants-in-a-can rolls. I’m trying to speed up 3-turn traditional dough (right, good luck with that!). Have you found anything that works for you to achieve true laminated yeast dough? Thanks.

    1. Hi Margaret,

      Yes, I have made laminated dough starting with our master recipe. In fact, it was going to be a chapter in our first book, but it was taken out when I couldn’t speed up the process enough. Laminated dough just takes time, there is just nothing you can do to speed it up without compromising the outcome.

      So thrilled to hear that your son is baking so much bread. Bravo!

      Thanks! Zoë

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