These bear claws are flaky, tender, buttery pastry stuffed with a sweet almond paste filling, with toasted almond slices and a sweet honey glaze on top. They smell so good while baking, and you will want to eat these warm.This is my favorite baked good from Panera, and these homemade ones are way better.
The pastry is flaky through a process called lamination, in which the butter becomes layered between the dough.
Roll into a 24 inch x 20 inch rectangle. You'll need flour, the dough is pretty sticky.
Spread on the almond filling.
I made my own almond paste for these. It's easy to do and so much cheaper than the stuff that comes in a tube.
You're supposed to remove the almond skins before making the paste, but all I had on hand were almond slivers, so I just threw them in the processor, skin and all. It made the texture of the paste slightly coarser, but it worked just fine.
Now, fold the long rectangles of dough in half, and pinch the seams to seal.
Cut each of these into 4 sections, and cut 5-6 notches into each for the toes of the bear claws.
Spread the toes slightly and place on a baking sheet.
Let rise for about 30 minutes, brush with egg wash, sprinkle with almonds, and bake. Make the glaze and drizzle it over the pastry. Then, EAT!
Bear Claw Pastries
Flaky, tender, buttery pastry stuffed with almond paste filling, toasted almond slices, and a sweet honey glaze.
For the pastry dough:
3 ½ cup all-purpose flour
16 tablespoons butter (2 sticks), cold
½ cup warm water
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
½ cup whole milk
2 eggs, room temperature
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup sugar
For the filling:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup honey
3 1/2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups almonds
2 tablespoons butter, cubed
1 egg white
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup powdered sugar, approx. (you can add more or less depending on how sweet your almond paste is)
1 egg, beaten
For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoon honey
1 - 2 tablespoons milk
For the dough:
Cut the butter into ¼ -inch cubes. Place the butter and flour in a bowl, and use your hands or a pastry cutter to work in the butter. It doesn’t have to be perfectly incorporated; there should still be some chunks of butter in the mixture.
Mix together the yeast and warm water, and let stand 5 minutes. Mix in the milk, egg, sugar, and salt. Add the flour and butter mixture to the liquid ingredients, and mix until it is just combined.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight. (This is a good time to make your almond paste, if you’re making your own.)
Place the dough on a floured surface, and dust lightly with flour.Roll the dough into a 16 in. x 20 in. rectangle. Fold the dough into thirds, like you would a letter.
Roll into a 16 in. x 20 in. rectangle. Fold into thirds again, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
For the almond paste filling:
If you are using store-bought almond paste, skip to assembly directions in the section below. Place the water, granulated sugar, and honey in a saucepan and heat until is boiling. (It should bubble vigorously). Take off the heat.
Coarsely grind the almonds in a food processor. Pour the syrup mixture over the almonds, and blend until smooth, about 10 minutes.
Blend in the butter. Let the paste cool to room temperature before using.
Assembly of the pastries:
Beat together the almond paste, cinnamon, egg white, and powdered sugar.
Roll out the dough into a 24 inch x 20 inch rectangle. Cut the dough into 4 long rectangles that are each 20 inch x 6 inch.
Spread about 3 tablespoons of filling on each rectangle.
Fold each rectangle in half. Pinch the seams to prevent the filling from leaking out. Cut each rectangle into 4 pieces. For each piece, cut 4-6 slits for the toes.
Gently spread out the toes, and place the pastries on a greased baking sheet. Let rise for about 20 minutes in warm place.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Beat the egg. Brush the pastries with the egg wash, and sprinkle with sliced almonds.
Bake about 10 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool.
Make the glaze. Mix together the milk, honey, and powdered sugar. Drizzle over the cooled pastries.