These Bear Claws are fancy-dancy cinnamon rolls with icing and almonds on top. The recipe is designed to mix up in a bread machine, then bake in a conventional oven. Eat them for breakfast or brunch or anytime they call your name.
This recipe was designed to be mixed and kneaded in a bread machine. No worries if you don’t have one. See the recipe notes for how to use a stand mixer or make them by hand.
Why should you make Bear Claws instead of cinnamon rolls?
The dough for these rolls is richer than the average cinnamon roll. Sour cream is the secret ingredient.
They are fun to put together and a little something different to put on a brunch or breakfast table without being weird.
Bonus: It’s easy for kids to pick off the almonds if they don’t want them. Or you could leave them off if you prefer.
I adapted the recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, Grant Corner Inn Breakfast and Brunch Cookbook by Louise Stewart. I have yet to find a bad recipe in this little book.
At one time, one of my goals in life was to try every one of Ms. Stewart’s yeast-bread recipes. Surely this would qualify me for a Nobel Peace Prize or something similarly lofty. In reality, it would probably land me a spot on The Biggest Loser.
Although they look complicated, these sweet bear claws aren’t hard at all. Like most of my bread recipes, I make it in a bread machine.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Unbleached flour is best to make tender rolls. Bread flour and bleached all-purpose flour is a viable substitute.
You may need to slightly adjust the amount of flour. Check your dough about 10-15 minutes after you start the DOUGH cycle on the bread machine. Add more flour (or water) to correct the consistency of the dough.
Sour cream adds richness. Might as well go for it. Substitute full-fat unflavored Greek yogurt if you prefer.
The recipe is written to use instant or bread machine yeast.
If you want to substitute regular yeast for instant or bread-machine yeast, you must dissolve it first before adding to the dry ingredients. Stir it into about 1/4 cup of the lukewarm liquid called for in the recipe. Let sit for about 10 minutes. Add to other wet ingredients and then add dry ingredients. Proceed as directed to knead and shape the dough.
Use either blanched, slivered almonds or sliced almonds (the ones with the skin left on that you can barely see around the edge.)
A quick way to toast the almonds is to microwave them for a couple of minutes.
Can I make these rolls ahead of time?
Make the dough and form the rolls a day ahead of time. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge overnight.
At least two hours before you want to eat them, take them out of the fridge. Cover with a tea towel. When rolls are warm and puffy, preheat the oven and bake.
How to roll out Bear Claws
If you like to make sweet rolls, check out these recipes:
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- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 2-1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (280 g) all-purpose, unbleached flour
- 2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons softened butter
- 2 teaspoons butter
- 2 teaspoons cream cheese
- 1 1/2 tablespoon coffee or milk
- 1 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
TO MAKE DOUGH IN A BREAD MACHINE
- Add dough ingredients to a bread-machine pan in the order listed. Set on the DOUGH cycle. When finished, remove dough from the bread-machine pan. Proceed to Roll-out instructions below.
HOW TO ROLL-OUT DOUGH:
- On a lightly-floured board. roll dough into a 6 x 24-inch rectangle.
- Spread the softened butter on the rectangle. Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mixture evenly over the buttered area.
- Begin rolling from the long side and roll up as tightly as possible. Flatten log slightly with palms, and slice the log into 10 pieces.
- Using kitchen shears or pizza cutter, make 2 cuts into each slice, cutting to within 1/2 inch of the other side.
- Twist each slice slightly to make it lay somewhat flatter. Place onto a greased baking sheet or one covered with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Cover and let rise until almost doubled. (45 minutes-1 hour)
- Bake rolls at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
- Soften or allow butter and cream cheese to come to room temperature. Combine butter, cream cheese, and coffee or milk together and beat until perfectly smooth.
- Use a spoon to drizzle frosting over the rolls. Or pour frosting into a small plastic zippered bag. Cut off a small corner of the bag and use the closed bag to drizzle frosting back and forth over rolls.
- Sprinkle toasted almonds over frosted rolls immediately before frosting dries.
- Or pick up the frosted roll and turn upside down, pressing icing into a plate of almonds. This ensures the almonds will stick to the icing.
Directions for making bread with a stand mixer:
- To make this recipe in a heavy-duty stand mixer, add ingredients to the bowl in the same order. Turn on low to mix until all ingredients are moistened. Using a dough hook, turn speed to 2 or 3 and continue kneading until dough becomes smooth and elastic--about 5-10 minutes. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place. Deflate dough gently and shape as indicated in the recipe.
- Please note: If you substitute regular yeast for instant or bread-machine yeast, you must dissolve it first before adding to the dry ingredients. Stir it into about 1/4 cup of the lukewarm liquid called for in the recipe. Let sit for about 10 minutes. Add to other wet ingredients and then add dry ingredients. Proceed as directed to knead and shape the dough.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 582Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 35mgSodium: 157mgCarbohydrates: 108gFiber: 4gSugar: 17gProtein: 14g