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Blushing Apple Braid Recipe

Every Christmas for the past 20 years, I've been making and giving these braids as gifts to shut-ins, special friends and teachers.
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 30 min. + rising Bake: 25 min. + cooling YIELD:36 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 1-1/4 cups warm buttermilk (110° to 115°)
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 5-3/4 to 6-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cans (21 ounces each) apple pie filling
  • 3/4 cup red-hot candies
  • GLAZE:
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 5 to 6 teaspoons water
  • Red candied cherries, optional

Directions

  • 1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the buttermilk, butter, sugar, baking powder, salt, eggs and 2-1/2 cups flour. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
  • 2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • 3. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into thirds. Roll each into a 13-in. x 9-in. rectangle. Place on greased baking sheets. Remove apples from pie filling. Discard remaining filling or save for another use.
  • 4. Place a third of the apples down the center third of each rectangle. Sprinkle with a third of the red-hots. On each long side, but 1 in.-wide strips to the center to within 1/2 in. of the filling. Starting at one end, fold alternating strips at an angle across filling. Pinch ends to seal and tuck under. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • 5. Bake at 375° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 2-3 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool.
  • 6. For glaze, combine sugar and enough water to achieve desired consistency. Drizzle over breads. Decorate with candied cherries if desired. Yield: 3 loaves.
Editor's Note: Warmed buttermilk will appear curdled.