Chocolate Pistachio Christmas Star Bread is an impressive yet easy treat to bake up Christmas morning or any time you want a special treat! It’s dusted with powdered sugar and dipped in a sweet vanilla icing.
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Christmas is here!
Christmas/New Years on a Tuesday feels like the most indulgent thing ever. I suppose people who work traditional jobs will have to go to work on those Mondays, but I’ll definitely be taking at least three days off each week for the next two weeks, which is just insane!
What to do with all that free time? Bake of course. I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a master baker. I’m much more comfortable with olive oil and onions.
My journey to the best Christmas star bread
If you caught any of my Instagram stories you’ll already be familiar with this bread. The first time I tested it I made my milk too hot and killed my yeast. There was zero rise, but it was still beautiful and delicious, totally worth another try!
The next effort was much better. The only problem was I got so much rise that I didn’t pinch the ends of the star together enough and they really blew open.
Altogether it’s not a real problem, you’re just going to devour this chocolate bread in a matter of minutes without too much thought on how it looks (which is still so beautiful). I love to sprinkle star bread with powdered sugar for a snowflake look, but I also felt like the chocolate/nut combo needed an extra boost of sweetness. That’s where our vanilla icing dip comes in!
Vanilla icing dip
This icing is my go-to on everything from banana bundt cake to muffins. In this case I left it on the side to use as a dip as needed, because for some people powdered sugar on top will be enough. For those of you like me who live for icing, you can dip individual pieces into the icing or smother it all over the top cinnamon roll style!
How do you make star bread?
Star bread is surprisingly easy to make, but be sure to watch the video to see exactly how to do it. If it moves too fast for you, head over to YouTube to watch a slower version.
The dough consists of basics like yeast, sugar, butter, egg, and flour. After a quick rise you’ll divide your dough into four equal portions. Roll them out into about a 10 inch circle.
Cover three layers with a mixture of chocolate, butter, honey, orange, and pistachio. I try to keep the filling in a thin layer and about half an inch from the edges so things don’t ooze out.
After you lay on your top layer, mark out an inner circle and then cut radially out from there (think spokes on a wheel) into 16 long strips. You’ll grab two strips by the ends, twist in opposite directions, and then pinch the top to seal the point.
Products that are super helpful to have when making this but aren’t 100% necessary to get it done include a bench scraper (use it to scrape the dough out of the mixing bowl and divide the dough into equal portions), a silicone baking mat, and a large baking sheet (these are affiliate links).
Tips for customizing Chocolate Pistachio Christmas Star Bread
- Swap crushed walnuts or pecans for the pistachios
- Omit the orange if you prefer a simple chocolate flavor
- Swap the orange zest for 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
- Spread the vanilla frosting dip over the entire star before serving
- Use nutella in place of the chocolate, butter, and honey
If you make this recipe be sure to rate it, leave a comment, or tag #theliveinkitchen on Instagram!
Chocolate Pistachio Christmas Star Bread with Vanilla Icing Dip
- 1 package quick rise dry yeast
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup warm whole milk, 110ºF
- ¼ cup warm water, 110ºF
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 ¼ – 3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
Chocolate Pistachio Filling
- 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, broken into pieces
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons honey
- Zest of one orange
- ½ cup pistachios, ground into small crumbs or finely chopped
- Powdered sugar for dusting
Vanilla Icing Dip
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 4 teaspoons milk, or as needed
Chocolate Pistachio Star Bread
- Place the yeast and ¼ cup granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fit with the dough hook. Pour the warm milk and water over the top. Let rest 5-10 minutes until foamy.
- Add the egg, ¼ cup butter, salt, and 3 ¼ cups flour. Beat 3 minutes until a soft dough forms. If it is still sticky add a little more flour. The dough should be very smooth, soft, and manageable. Transfer the dough to a great bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for 60-90 minutes until doubled in size.
- Place a heatproof bowl over a pot of boiling water and add the chocolate, 3 tablespoons butter, and honey. Stir until melted and smooth. Stir in the orange zest. Set aside.
- Punch down the dough and divide it into four equal pieces. On a lightly floured surface, roll one piece into a 10 inch circle. Transfer the circle to a large baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone baking mat.
- Spread one third of the chocolate mixture onto the dough circle, keeping it in a thin layer and stay about half an inch from the edges. Sprinkle with one third of the pistachios.
- Repeat two more times with dough, chocolate, and pistachio layers. Lay the final dough layer on top (you will not cover this one in chocolate). Use a pizza cutter to trim any wild edges and keep it in a perfect circle.
- Use a small cup or biscuit cutter about 2 inches wide to create an indent in the center of the circle (do not cut through the dough). From this inner circle, use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to make 16 even cuts out to the edge of the circle.
- Grab the ends of two of the pieces next to each other and twist twice away from each other (you can watch the video if this seems confusing). Place the ends together and pinch gently to seal. Repeat with the remaining pieces.
- Cover the bread with plastic wrap and let rest 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
- Remove the plastic and bake the bread for 18-22 minutes until beginning to brown slightly. Allow to cool completely before dusting lightly in powdered sugar.
Vanilla Icing Dip
- In a small bowl whisk together powdered sugar, vanilla, and 3 teaspoons milk. Add more milk a few drops at a time until the desired consistency is reached. I like it a little thick but still thin enough to dip the bread in. Alternatively you could drizzle thinned icing over the cooled bread, or spread it on thick like frosting.
Hi. I made this and it’s delicious. Curious, can this be made ahead and frozen.
Lindsay Moe says
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I have not personally frozen it, but I imagine it would work just fine. I recommend following the instructions here, freezing as you would cinnamon rolls. https://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-freeze-cinnamon-rolls-and-bake-them-later-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-198123
Melissa B Howell says
This was DIVINE! I doubled the recipe and made two–one just as you specified, and the other with a thin layer of cream cheese topped with a thin layer of cranberry sauce. I took both to a Christmas party and they were big hits! The bread is SO soft and fluffy, and I can’t wait to experiment with more flavors! Thank you so much for this recipe!
Lindsay Moe says
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for sharing your adaptation.