Sweet rolls make a perfect brunch dessert, and when they are arranged into festive shapes, they also make a great dessert on a Christmas or other holiday buffet. Itís easy to shape rolls into a Christmas tree, and when the filling includes glacť cherries which look like ornaments, all thatís needed after baking is a drizzle of green glaze. The following Christmas Tree Sweet Roll Cake has fresh orange peel, butter, and sugar in the filling, as well as whole cherries. The glaze, while tinted green, is thinned with juice from a fresh orange. The taste is divine, and the tree is attractive enough that it can double as a centerpiece for the buffet table.
Donít let the fact that the rolls are made of yeast dough intimidate you. The dough ingredients are simply measured into an automatic bread machine and the machine will call you when the dough is finished. If you donít own one of these modern-day marvels, a used one can be purchased really cheap at thrift stores, or, if youíd rather purchase a new one, they are fairly inexpensive online and at discount stores. Although the machines are designed to bake, Iíve had best luck using them strictly for dough; I prefer to shape my dough and bake it in standard pans. Alternately, you could purchase frozen or refrigerated dough.
While the sweet roll cakes can be made ahead, frozen (without the glaze), and reheated just before dinner, itís preferable to bake yours just as guests are arriving, since the smell permeates the house and adds to a festive atmosphere. And, itís a given that the rolls will taste best when freshly baked.
2 Christmas Trees (about 32 servings)
1 cup water
1/3 cup dry milk
5 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup sugar
3 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon yeast
1/4 cup melted butter
2/3 to 1 cup sugar
Zest of 1 orange
8 ounces glace cherries
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
Green food coloring
- Place the dough ingredients in the order given into the pan of the automatic bread machine.
- Set the machine to the dough setting.
- Check the dough after about 10 minutes to make sure there is enough liquid or flour to make a soft dough (it will form a soft ball) Ė add additional liquid if it is too stiff or additional flour if it is to soft; you may have to scrape the sides down.
- When the dough cycle is finished, transfer the dough to a lightly floured pastry cloth; divide in half.
- Roll half into a rectangle about 12 x 8".
- Spread half of the butter over the surface and sprinkle with half of the sugar.
- Scatter half of the orange zest over the dough, then dot evenly with the whole cherries.
- Roll up tightly starting at the long end, jelly-roll style.
- Pinch the seam and roll back and forth a little to even out the roll.
- Cut the roll into 16 pieces.
- Place 5 rolls on a parchment-lined baking sheet; add four rolls for the second row, and three for the third row, two for the fourth row, and one on top, making a tree shape. The last roll should be put on the bottom for the stem.
- Repeat with the second piece of dough.
- Cover loosely with a towel and let rise until doubled in bulk.
- Bake in a preheated 350į oven 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Remove from the oven and cool.
- Whisk together the glaze ingredients until smooth and of a consistency that will drizzle, but not run down the sides.
- Drizzle decoratively over the surface of the trees.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 174 Calories from Fat 46
Percent Total Calories From: Fat 27% Protein 5% Carb. 68%
Nutrient Amount per Serving
Total Fat 5 g
Saturated Fat 3 g
Cholesterol 26 mg
Sodium 132 mg
Total Carbohydrate 30 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugars 6 g
Protein 2 g
Vitamin A 5% Vitamin C 4% Calcium 0% Iron 2%
Automatic Bread Machines are also available at Amazon:
West Bend 41300 Hi-Rise Electronic Dual-Blade Breadmaker
Sunbeam 5891 2-Pound Programmable Breadmaker, White
Zojirushi BB-CEC20 Home Bakery Supreme 2-Pound-Loaf Breadmaker, Black