"Every year, I bake about 20 of these yeasty wreaths to give as gifts to seniors in our area," notes Sylvia Petker from her Port Rowan, Ontario home. "I also make more for our family Christmas brunch. It's a cinch to serve since the bread pulls apart easily."
- 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup sugar, divided
- 1 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
- 2 cups warm milk (110° to 115°)
- 1-2/3 cups butter, softened, divided
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 8 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chopped red and green candied cherries, divided
- 1-1/3 cups chopped pecans, divided
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 6 tablespoons butter, cubed
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in water. Let stand for 10 minutes. Add milk, 2/3 cup butter, eggs, salt and remaining sugar. Stir in enough flour to form a soft dough. 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. Punch dough down; shape into 1-1/2-in. balls. Divide half of the balls between two greased 10-in. fluted tube pans. In each pan, arrange 1/4 cup cherries in spaces between balls; sprinkle with about 1/3 cup pecans. Melt the remaining butter; drizzle 1/4 cup over each pan. Repeat the layers once. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.
- Meanwhile, in a saucepan, heat syrup ingredients. Slowly drizzle over warm loaves. Cool 10 minutes before inverting onto wire racks. Yield: 2 loaves.
Originally published as Bubble Bread Wreath in Country Woman November/December 1999, p41
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