Topped with festive pepper stars, this appetizer tree consists of tender yeast rolls with a savory cream cheese filling. It's good with or without the crabmeat. —Maryalice Wood, Langley, British Columbia
Featured In: 16 Christmas Tree-Shaped Recipes
VERIFIED BY Taste of Home Test Kitchen
- 4 to 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup milk
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/3 cup canola oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened, divided
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice, divided
- 1 teaspoon lemon-pepper seasoning
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
- 1 can (6 ounces) crabmeat, drained, flaked and cartilage removed, optional
- 1 each small green and sweet red pepper
- 1 medium lemon
- In a large bowl, combine 3 cups flour, sugar, yeast, lemon peel and salt. In a small saucepan, heat milk and water to 120°-130°. Stir in oil and lemon juice. Add to dry ingredients; beat until smooth. Stir in 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 the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat 4 ounces cream cheese until smooth. Add the mayonnaise, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, lemon-pepper and parsley; mix well. Stir in crabmeat if desired; set aside.
- Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; roll out into a 22-in. x 14-in. rectangle. Spread prepared filling to within 1/2-in. of edges. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seams to seal. Cut into 22 slices.
- Cover a baking sheet with foil and grease well. Place one slice near the top center of prepared baking sheet. Place two slices in the second row with sides touching. Repeat, adding one slice per row, until tree has five rows. Repeat last row. Center remaining two slices below last row for the trunk. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake at 325° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Carefully transfer rolls with foil onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat remaining cream cheese and lemon juice until smooth. Cut a small hole in the corner of pastry or plastic bag; fill with cream cheese mixture. Pipe onto rolls for garland.
- Cut peppers in half vertically; remove stems and seeds. Using a 1-1/2-in star-shaped cookie cutter, cut out stars from peppers; place on tree. Carefully remove a 2-in piece of peel from lemon (save lemon for another use). With a 2-in. star-shaped cookie cutter, cut out a star from peel; place on top of tree. Remove foil before serving. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 1 tree (22 rolls).
Originally published as Christmas Tree Savory Rolls in Country Woman Christmas Annual 2009, p110
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Reviewed Dec. 24, 2012
"This was yummy and the kids had fun helping with it. We added sliced olives and bits of pepperoni."