This pretty plaited bread comes all the way from North Pole - Alaska, that is! Resident Jean Erickson makes it each December for family and friends. "It's become a tasty tradition we all look forward to," she smiles. "The nutty cheese filling is so good!"
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- 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 2 to 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 packages (3 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
- Confectioners' sugar
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add butter, sugar, salt, egg and 1-1/2 cups flour; beat on low for 3 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Add enough remaining 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. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar; set aside.
- Punch dough down; divide in half. On a floured surface, roll each portion into a 12-in. x 8-in. rectangle and place on greased baking sheets. Spread half of the filling down the center third of each rectangle. Sprinkle with walnuts.
- On each long side, cut 1-in.-wide strips about 2-1/2 in. into center. Starting at one end, fold alternating strips at an angle across filling. Seal ends. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes.
- Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes or until browned. Cool on wire racks. Dust with confectioners' sugar if desired. Store for refrigerator. Yield: 2 loaves.
Originally published as Walnut Cream Braid in Country Woman November/December 1999, p41
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