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Christmas Tree Danish Pastries

 Christmas Tree Danish Pastries
I've been making these tender mini trees for nearly 40 years-and folks still keep asking for them! With almond filling, maraschino cherry "ornaments" and iced garlands, the flaky pastries taste as festive as they look.
14 ServingsPrep: 1 hour Bake: 20 min. + cooling

Ingredients

  • 4-3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 cup cold butter
  • 3-1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1-1/4 cups warm milk (110° to 115°)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ALMOND FILLING:
  • 4 ounces almond paste
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 14 green candied cherries, quartered
  • 14 red candied cherries, quartered
  • ICING:
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Almond Extract

Directions

  • Sprinkle 1 tablespoon flour on a work surface; place butter on
  • surface and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon flour. Press and roll out with
  • a rolling pin. Scrape butter from rolling pin and continue to work
  • the butter until it forms a smooth mass without any hard lumps.
  • Knead in 1/4 cup flour, working quickly to keep butter cold. Place

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Christmas Tree Danish Pastries (continued)

Directions (continued)

  • butter mixture on a sheet of plastic wrap and shape into a small
  • rectangle. Cover with another sheet of plastic wrap; roll into a
  • 9-in. x 6-in. rectangle. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  • In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Add the egg, sugar and
  • salt; beat until smooth. Stir in the remaining flour to form a soft
  • dough. Turn onto a floured surface; cover and let rest 5 minutes.
  • Roll into a 14-in. x 10-in. rectangle, with the short side toward
  • the bottom. Unwrap butter mixture; position on dough 1 in. above
  • bottom edge and 1/2 in. from each side edge. Fold top half of dough
  • over butter and pinch edges to seal.
  • Turn dough a quarter turn to the right; sprinkle lightly with
  • additional flour. Lightly roll into a 16-in. x 8-in. rectangle. Fold
  • bottom third of rectangle up and top third down, as when folding a
  • business letter, making a 5-1/2-in. x 8-in. rectangle (this is
  • called one turn). Rotate dough a quarter turn to the right. Lightly
  • roll into a 16-in. x 8-in. rectangle and again fold into thirds,
  • finishing the second turn. Repeat rotating, rolling and folding two
  • more times for a total of four turns. (If at any time the butter
  • gets soft, refrigerate it for 10-15 minutes.) Wrap in plastic wrap;
  • refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • For almond filling, in a bowl, beat the almond paste, sugar and egg
  • until smooth; set aside. Roll dough into a 22-in. x 7-in. rectangle.
  • Cut lengthwise into fourteen 1/2-in. strips. Twist each dough strip,
  • zigzagging dough on ungreased baking pans to form tree shape. Brush
  • with egg yolk. Dot with almond filling. Decorate with candied
  • cherries. Let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 20 minutes.
  • Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on
  • wire racks. In a bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, water and
  • almond extract. Drizzle over pastries. Yield: 14 servings.
Nutritional Facts: 1 serving (1 each) equals 207 calories, 14 g fat (8 g saturated fat), 65 mg cholesterol, 314 mg sodium, 21 g carbohydrate, 0 fiber, 1 g protein.