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Holiday Tree Bread

This recipe's been a hit at parties— guests just gobble it up. I learned to make bread as a child and do it all the time now.
  • Total Time
    Prep: 50 min. + rising Bake: 20 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    15 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
  • 2/3 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 to 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • FILLING:
  • 5 teaspoons cold butter
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup chopped nuts
  • 2 teaspoons beaten egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • GLAZE:
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
  • Candied red and/or green cherries

Directions

  • In a bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Beat in eggs, butter, brown sugar, salt and 1-1/2 cups flour until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, in a bowl, cut butter into brown sugar until crumbly. Add nuts, egg, cinnamon and vanilla; stir well. Set aside. Punch dough down. Roll to 3/8-in. thickness; let stand for 5 minutes. Cut out 15 circles with a 3-in. round cutter. Place a heaping teaspoon of filling in the center of each circle. Shape dough around filling to form a ball; pinch to seal. Line a baking sheet with foil; grease the foil. To form a tree, place one ball seam side down in the center near the top of the baking sheet. Place two balls 1/4 in. apart in the second row. Repeat with remaining balls, adding one to each row until the tree has five rows. For trunk, shape dough scraps into a rectangle and center under the last row. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Carefully remove from pan to a wire rack to cool. Combine confectioners' sugar, vanilla, salt and enough milk to achieve desired consistency; drizzle over tree, forming garland. Decorate with cherries.
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