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Web's Best Recipe for Christmas Tree Bread

This sweet yeast bread is ideal for Christmas morning.

Trivia: Almost every culture has a traditional Christmas bread. This one isn't a tradition, except perhaps in some homes -- but it is good, colorful and fun to serve.

Recipe for Christmas Tree Bread

This large recipe makes one Christmas tree and two loaves of fruit and nut bread.

Ingredients for the Bread

1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup sugar
2 ts Salt
2 cups milk, scalded
2 envelopes active yeast
1/2 cups warm water
2 eggs, lightly beaten
8 cups Unsifted flour

Ingredients for Fruit Nut Filling #1

Red and green candied cherries, drained
1 Tube (3/4 oz) white decorator frosting
Apricot glaze

Ingredients for Fruit Nut Filling #2

1 1/2 cups light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups chopped mixed candied fruit
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds

Ingredients for Apricot Glaze

1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup apricot preserves

In large bowl with mixer at medium speed, beat margarine, sugar and salt.

Add milk, beating until margarine is melted. Sprinkle yeast over water, stir until dissolved. Add to margarine mixture with eggs. With mixer at low speed add 4 cups of the flour, 1 cup at a time, beating until well mixed. Stir in remaining flour with wooden spoon. On lightly floured surface knead 8 to 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place dough in greased bowl; turn to grease top. Cover with towel; let rise in warm place 2 hours or until doubled in bulk. Punch down dough; form into ball; cut into quarters. Set 2 quarters aside; cover with towel. Use reserved quarters to make two Fruit Nut Loaves.

On lightly floured surface roll out one quarter into rectangle 15x12 inches. Cut into 2 triangles each with a base of 10 inches, a height of 12 inches and 15 inch sides. Place one triangle on large greased cookie sheet. Reshape into triangle if necessary. Spread 1 cup of Fruit Nut Filling over dough on cookie sheet to within 1/2 inch of edge; moisten edges with water.

Place second dough triangle over fruit filled one pressing to seal edges. Roll out second quarter of dough to 1/2 inch thickness. With 2 1/2 inch Donut Cutter cut 17 circles; remove centers. Overlap cut circles on tree triangle. Roll out scraps of dough to 1/2 inch thickness; cut one 2 inch square. Place on center of base of triangle to form “trunk” of tree. Cut one three inch star; place on top of tree. Cover; allow to rise in warm place 1 hour or until almost doubled in bulk.

Bake in 350°F oven 35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven. Place cherries in center of circles. While warm, brush lightly with glaze. Decorate this Christmas tree bread with decorator frosting. Makes one Christmas tree bread and 2 loaves.

Fruit-Nut Filling: In small saucepan stir together all ingredients. Stirring constantly, bring to boil over medium heat and boil 1 minute. Cool.

Apricot Glaze: In small saucepan stir together the corn syrup and preserves. Stirring constantly, bring to boil over medium heat and boil 1 minute.

Fruit Nut Loaves: Grease two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 3-inch loaf pans. Roll out each quarter of reserved dough into 15 by 9-inch rectangle. Spread 1 cup of Fruit Nut Filling over each rectangle of dough to within 1/2 inch of edge, roll each rectangle up from short side. Press ends to seal; fold ends under; place seam side down into prepared pan. Cover; let rise about 1 hour or until doubled. Bake in 350-F oven 40 to 45 minutes or until bread sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from oven. While still warm, brush with Apricot Glaze.

This Christmas tree bread is sure to draw cheers from kids of all ages. And the two extra loaves are a great bonus!

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