Cinnamon Christmas Trees
Basic Sweet Dough
- 3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 package RapidRise Yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup half-and-half or light cream
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened and divided
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch ground nutmeg (optional)
- 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Red and green candied cherries, halved
- Basic Sweet Dough: Sift 2 cups of the flour, yeast and salt into a large mixing
bowl; stir until well blended. Place half-and-half, butter and sugar in a saucepan;
heat until butter is nearly melted. Let cool to 120 to 130 degrees F.
- Add half-and-half mixture to flour mixture; beat well. Add egg and vanilla extract;
stir until blended. Add 1 cup flour; stir until thoroughly incorporated. Gradually
add enough of the remaining 1/2 to 1 cup flour to make a soft dough that is rather
- Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead 3 minutes, or until the
dough is a consistent texture. Cover with a slightly damp towel and let rest 10
- Divide dough in half. Roll one half on lightly floured surface into a 14 x 12-inch
rectangle. Spread 1 tablespoon of softened butter on dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border
around the edge.
- Filling: Combine sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg; sprinkle half this mixture over
butter. Roll up dough from long side, jellyroll style; pinch seam to seal (brush
edge with a little water if necessary to make it stick). Repeat with remaining dough
- Construct a tree shape from each log: Cut a 2-inch piece from one end of the
log and reserve. Slice the rest of the log into 15 slices. Line a baking sheet with
foil and grease well. On the short side of the baking sheet, center one slice cut
side down. This is the top of the tree. Add 2 slices, sides touching, below the
first slice, then add 3 more rows of slices to form a tree shape. Complete the tree
by centering the 2-inch slice, seam side down, below the last row to form the trunk.
- Repeat with second cinnamon roll log. Cover and let rise in a warm, draft-free
place 45 minutes, or until nearly doubled.
- About 15 minutes before end of rising time, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake
trees 15 minutes, or until lightly browned. If trunk is browning too fast, cover
with foil for the last few minutes. Use foil to move trees from baking sheets to
wire racks. Cool thoroughly.
- Topping: Combine confectioners' sugar and milk in a pastry or plastic
zip-type bag; cut one corner from bag. Pipe mixture on trees to create garland.
Garnish with cherry halves.
Yield: 2 trees (16 rolls each)