Makes: 4 trees
This dish will have your guests fighting over the last bite. Recipe excerpted from Marjorie Johnson's cookbook, The Road to Blue Ribbon Baking with Marjorie. Makes 2-4 Christmas trees, depending on size.
active dry yeast
nonfat dry milk
3 1/2 to 4 cups
1 1/2 Tbsp.
grated orange zest
Dissolve yeast in water in a large electric mixer bowl. Add dry milk, butter, honey, sugar, eggs, salt and 2 cups flour. Beat on slow speed to blend, then beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Add rest of flour to make a soft dough. Knead by hand until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Put in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk. Punch down.
Put on a floured cloth. Cover. Let rest for 15 minutes. Roll out dough to a rectangle about 3/4-inch thickness. Cut into 1/2-inch strips. Roll each strip into a smooth rope.
Place melted butter in a shallow dish (like a pie plate). In another shallow dish, combine sugar and orange zest. Dip each dough rope strip first in the melted butter and then in the orange sugar, coating each strip well.
Twist dough rope into a free form Christmas tree shape on a greased cookie sheet. Join the next strip where the last one left off. Christmas-tree-shaped cake pans can also be used. Cover; let rise until double in size. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 20 to 25 minutes until light golden brown. Remove from pan and cool on cooling rack. If desired, decorate tree with candied green and red cherries.