A festive shape and Christmasy colors make this bread a hit at holiday time. Use cranberries for a zesty flavor, or substitute raisins or currants in you prefer.
- 5-1/2 to 6 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons grated orange peel
- 1-1/2 cups dried cranberries, currants or raisins
- 6 tablespoons butter, softened, divided
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
- In a large bowl, combine 2-1/2 cups flour, yeast and salt. In a small saucepan, heat the milk, sugar, water and butter until a thermometer reads 120°-130° (butter does not need to be melted). Pour into yeast mixture; add eggs and orange peel. Beat for 30 seconds, scraping bowl often. Beat on high for 3 minutes. Stir in cranberries and enough remaining flour to form a firm dough.
- Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 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. Divide into thirds. Roll one portion into a 12-in. x 9-in. rectangle. Spread with 2 tablespoons butter. Combine brown sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle a third over the butter. Roll up from a long end. Cut into 11 rolls; arrange in a candy can shape on a large greased baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes.
- Bake at 350° for 18-23 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack. Combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over canes. Yield: 3 breads.
Originally published as Candy Cane Bread in Country Woman Christmas 1996, p16
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