Cinnamon Roll Christmas Tree Recipe
1 cup whole or low-fat milk
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 packages active dry yeast
4-5 cups all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 large eggs, at room temperature
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, melted
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water, for wash
32 glazed or candied cherry halves
1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons whole milk
Combine 1 cup milk, 1 tablespoon sugar and salt in small saucepan. Heat to lukewarm, 110 to 115° F.; remove from heat. Sprinkle yeast over mixture and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes.
In large food processor fitted with metal blade, mix 4 cups flour with cold butter until butter is incorporated. Add yeast mixture and 2 eggs and mix until blended. Continue processing 40 seconds; dough will form a ball. Place dough in large oiled bowl, turning to coat all sides with oil. Cover with sheet of buttered wax paper and damp towel.
Place in warm spot until dough doubles in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
Punch dough down, turn out onto well-floured surface and knead lightly. Divide dough in half and cover one half with towel while you shape the other. Roll it into an 18-by-8-inch rectangle. Brush with 2 tablespoons melted butter. Mix cinnamon and remaining 1/2 cup sugar together; sprinkle half over dough. Starting at wide side, roll dough up tightly, like a jelly roll. Turn seam-side down and cut roll into 16 (1-inch) slices, leaving a 2-inch end piece for the trunk of the tree.
Arrange rolls on greased baking sheet, flat sides down, in
Christmas tree shape; 1 on top, 2 underneath, 3 in third row, 4 in fourth row, 5
in fifth row, and the 2-inch piece on its side for the trunk. Place rolls close
together and tuck in ends. Repeat with remaining dough, melted butter and
cinnamon sugar; place on second baking sheet. Cover trees loosely with plastic
wrap and let rise in warm place 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 325° F. Brush rolls with as much egg wash as needed. Place cherry half in center of each roll. Bake in center of oven (reversing their position after 10 minutes if baking both in one oven) for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
To make glaze, stir enough confectioners' sugar into milk to make a thick glaze. Drizzle over warm trees. Cool completely, then move to serving platters.
Yield: 2 trees or 32 rolls.
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