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Christmas Tree Bread

I make this bread for every Christmas. It looks so beautiful and often receive compliments on it. You can also make this into a wreath or two smaller trees.—Shirley Pewtress, Kayesville, Utah
  • Total Time
    Prep: 45 min. + rising Bake: 20 min.
  • Makes
    about 24 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • BASIC SWEET DOUGH:
  • 1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 5 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 cups warm whole milk (110° to 115°)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon mace
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 8 to 8-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • PECAN CREAM FILLING:
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
  • GLAZE:
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 4 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Red and green candied cherries

Directions

  • Dissolve yeast in warm water; set aside. In large bowl, combine sugar, butter, milk, salt and mace; mix well. Add eggs and yeast; mix well. Add 4 cups flour; beat well. Stir in vanilla and lemon juice and enough remaining flour to form soft dough. Turn out onto floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic. Add more flour if necessary. Shape into ball; place in a greased bowl. Cover; let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours.
  • For filling, cream butter, sugar and flour. Beat in egg yolk. Add pecans. Cover; set aside.
  • When dough has risen, punch down. Roll one-third of dough into 15x13-in. rectangle. (Using sharp knife and ruler, trim to make triangle 15 in. tall and 13 in. wide at base.) From trimmings, cut tow 3-in. high tree trunks. Place large triangle on lightly greased 17x14-in. baking sheet with no sides. Dough will shrink, so form on pan with fingers back to original shape. Center one tree trunk at base of triangle; pinch together where trunk joins tree. Fold top 2 in. of triangle under. Gently spread filling on triangle and trunk to within 1 in. of edges.
  • Place second trunk over filling on trunk already attached to tree; inch outside edges to seal. Roll remaining dough into 15-in. square. With doughnut cutter, cut 25 rounds. With star-shaped cutter, cut one star. Arrange 6 dough rounds, overlapping slightly, across tree base. Use 5 rounds to make second row. Make third row of 5 rounds, fourth of 4 fifth of 3 and top row of 2. Place star on top. Cover; let rise until doubled, about 45-60 ;minutes. Bake at 375° for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Combine glaze ingredients; spread over tree. Top dough rounds with candied cherries.
  • Note: This recipe also can be used to make wreaths or two smaller trees.
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