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Christmas Tree Sweet Rolls

Every Christmas Eve, I make a special bread to enjoy the next morning while opening gifts. I often share one of the "trees" with a neighbor.
  • Total Time
    Prep: 20 min. + rising Bake: 20 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    2 trees (11 rolls each)


  • 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
  • 2-1/2 cups warm water (110° to 115°), divided
  • 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 7 to 8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 can (8 ounces) crushed pineapple, well drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped red and green candied cherries
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • GLAZE:
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Red candied cherries and green colored sugar


  • In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Add the milk powder; oil, sugar, salt, remaining water and 2 cups flour. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon until blended. Stir in the pineapple, cherries and pecans; set aside.
  • Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Roll each portion into an 11x9-in. rectangle. Spread filling to within 1/2 on. of edges. Roll up each rectangle jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seam to seal.
  • To form a tree, cut each log into 11 slices, 1 in. each. Cover two baking sheets with foil and grease well. Center one slice near the top of each prepared baking sheet for treetop. Arrange slices with sides touching in three more rows, adding one slice for each row, forming a tree. Center the remaining slice below the tree trunk. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
  • Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer foil with trees to wire racks; cool for 20 minutes.
  • For glaze, in a bowl, beat the confectioners' sugar, milk, butter and vanilla until smooth. Transfer to a small pastry or plastic bag; cut a small hole in a corner of the bag. Pipe garlands on trees. Decorate with cherries and colored sugar.
Nutrition Facts
1 each: 329 calories, 11g fat (3g saturated fat), 13mg cholesterol, 270mg sodium, 53g carbohydrate (21g sugars, 1g fiber), 6g protein.
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  • arcadialady
    Feb 26, 2013

    This is our favorite sweet roll recipe. They are better than ones from the bakery. Since we don't like pineapple, I use a can of cherry pie filling instead of the pineapple. Also, when slicing the logs I find that an electric knife cuts the slices neatly and quickly.

  • Monarchsmomma
    Dec 14, 2008

    I had fun making these 'trees'. I had better luck frosting each roll while they were still a little warm, then sprinkling with green colored sugar and decorating with red cherry. I think that tree looked better too. I like the unusual filling.