A friend of mine requested this recipe, and because it took so long to make the sketches I decided to put it here! (No wasted efforts!)
Mom's Braided Cinnamon Roll Christmas Tree
(Don't worry! It's way easier than it looks!)
Take your basic homemade bread recipe (probably doubled). Make the cinnamon sugar mixture (she says use real sugar not Splenda or substitues because it holds the color better, enhances the cinnamon flavor, and makes it bubble through the spaces between the braids).
Cinnamon Roll Filling
- 4 tsp cinnamon
- 6 cups of sugar (I still use Splenda, even though it's not as awesome)
- 2 cup (4 sticks) butter (I still use light butter)
- Red food coloring
- Green food coloring
Add red food coloring to 2/3 of the sugar mix and green food coloring to the remaining 1/3. Set the green sugar mix aside for later.
The Fun Part
- Line a cookie sheet with foil (preferably one with sides so the juicy cinnamon filling doesn’t drip all over the bottom of the oven)
- Roll out the dough until it is about ½ - ¾” thick. This should be in a rectangular shape. I usually roll it so it fills my whole cookie sheet.
- Spread the red sugar mix in an isosceles triangle (Mom’s a math teacher). The top point of the triangle will be in the middle of the top edge. The bottom points of the triangle are the bottom corners of the rectangle (see picture!!).
- Outside of the triangle, slice the sides of the rectangle into matching strips (about ¾ to 1” in width) from the edge of the triangle to the right sides of the rectangle (see picture!).
TIP: Make sure the strips on the left side line up with the ones on the right!
- Basket Weaving!
Fold down the top left strip (I call it "a") so that it covers the right side of the triangle. It should just meet the bottom edge of the triangle. Try not to stretch the dough too much. Now do the same with the top right strip (b) so that it overlaps a and covers the left side of the triangle.
TIP: Weave it loosely so the red sugar mixture can bubble up through the gaps.
Now fold the next left strip (c ) over b and lay it adjacent to a down the right side of the triangle. Remember to keep the end of the strip even with the bottom edge of the triangle.
Now lift up and gently fold back strip a so that it’s out of the way (again, be careful not to stretch them too much). Fold down strip d (over c) and lay it adjacent to b down the left side of the triangle. Gently replace strip a so that it covers the right side of the triangle.
Do the same thing on the other side with pieces b and e.
Now lift up and gently fold back strip c so that it’s out of the way. Fold down strip f (over a and e) so that it lays adjacent to d down the left side of the triangle. Gently replace strip c back down the right side of the triangle.
Do the same thing with pieces d and g on the other side.
Now lift up and gently fold back strips a and e. Fold down strip h so that it lays adjacent to d. Gently replace a and e.
Continue to basket weave the strips until the entire “tree” is done and all the strips are used. Press the bottom edge of the strips to the base of the triangle to “seal” the edge. Carefully spread the green sugar mix over the top of your woven triangle tree. Don’t worry about getting it in the cracks of the weave, it will melt in.
Use a little extra dough at the base of your tree for a trunk (if you have room). You can cover it with any remaining sugar mix (mixed together the red and green should make brown! Or you could just use uncolored cinnamon sugar mix). You can make this a "lump" and coat it with sugar mix, or you can roll it like a regular cinnamon roll (Roll a flat strip 1/4" to 1/2" thick. Coat it with sugar mix. Roll up the strip.
6. Allow the dough to rise.
7. Preheat the oven to 375°F. I can't believe I never wrote down how long to bake this for! I guess you'll just have to start checking on it after about 20 minutes. The red cinnamon sugar mix inside will bubble up through the cracks of the strips creating red “ornaments.”
Christmas morning tradition along with Daddy's famous rolls. OK, my mouth is now watering!!