What’s your favorite part of the holiday season? Do you love the presents – giving and receiving? Do you enjoy the time spent with family and friends? Do you look forward to those delicious treats that only come around at the holidays? Most likely it’s all the above, that’s my answer too.
My family has a few traditional treats we serve for the holidays but I’ve perfected only one of them: Braided Christmas Wreath with Cream Cheese Glaze. I recently headed to Food Lion (my favorite grocery store ever!) and picked up everything I needed to make this treat.
Growing up I couldn’t wait for this time of year, I knew what it meant. That beautiful wreath of braided bread filled with cinnamon and nuts then covered with succulent icing and finished with maraschino cherries. My mouth is watering just typing that, is yours? If so, you’ll love me for this; I’m going to share my recipe for Braided Christmas Wreath with Cream Cheese Glaze with you! This was my Nana’s recipe – and I follow it to the letter. Feel free to add to it and change it up to fit your preferences.
This is a rich dessert and may be served without the glaze.
- 2 packets dry active yeast
- 1 c warm water
- 1 c milk
- 2/3 c sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 1/2 c (8 tbsp) softened butter
- 2 eggs
- 5 1/2 - 6 c flour
- 1 1/2 c brown sugar
- 1/4 c cinnamon
- 1/2 C (8 tbsp) softened butter
- 1 c walnuts (optional)
- 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 to 4 tablespoons milk
- Dissolve both packets of yeast in warm water. Stir in milk, sugar, butter, egg, salt and 2 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in flour 1/2 cup at a time to make dough easy to manage. Turn dough into a greased bowl cover and set in a warm area to rise for 90 minutes.
- Punch down the dough and kneed again. Put the dough back in the bowl for another half hour.
- Flour a counter or other surface and turn dough onto it. Divide the dough in half and either freeze the other or prepare them.
- * Separate* Each half will be separated again into thirds. Roll each section, one at a time, into a rope. Flatten out the rope (maintaining length) and spread with the filling/topping. Make sure the mixture is spread out well and not clumped.
- Re-roll the dough into ropes.
- Roll up, place the 3 ropes on a cookie or baking sheet and braid them together. Pinch the ends closed (and form a circle if you prefer a wreath.)
- Bake at 375 degrees for 30 - 45 minutes (until the top of the bread turns golden brown.) Brush butter on the top of the bread once it comes out of the oven. Spread the remaining filling/topping mixture over the butter.
- Drizzle glaze over the hot bread and decorate with candied fruits, nuts and/or whatever you prefer. I use walnuts & maraschino cherries.
- Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse until well mixed.
- Blend cream cheese until very creamy.
- Beat in the powdered sugar, vanilla and milk. Blend well.
- Continue adding milk (a tsp or so at a time) to get desired consistency for drizzling.
This is my absolute favorite thing to make during the holidays. The entire family can get involved and it’s actually pretty easy (despite how intimidating it may look.) What’s your favorite holiday baked goody? Hold that thought!
Right now, Food Lion is hosting a Holiday Bake-Off recipe contest on their Facebook page. Share your holiday recipe with them and you’ll be entered into the contest. They’re looking for recipes in any of these categories: appetizer, entrée side dish or dessert.
There will be 12 grand prize winners who will receive a $500 Food Lion gift card. The Food Lion Bake-Off contest starts on November 7 and will end on November 28. What are you waiting for? Enter Now! Think I should enter my Braided Christmas Wreath with Cream Cheese Glaze?
Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour for Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Food Lion. I received a promotional item to facilitate my shopping experience and review.