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Cinnamon Rolls Christmas Tree

Introduction & method

Cinnamon rolls are a delicious treat all year round, but for the festive season why not make it extra special by doing it in the shape of a Christmas tree?

Cinnamon Rolls Christmas Tree Recipe

Make the Dough

Mix together the flour, sugar and yeast. Add the butter, cut into small chunks and rub it in with your fingertips or use a stand mixer to get it combined. You should end up with a mixture like breadcrumbs. Add the warm milk, vanilla and egg and when it comes together as a ball knead for 7-10 minutes or use your stand mixers dough hook. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to it. Cover with plastic film and leave to prove in a warm place for an hour or two until it has doubled in volume.

Make a Tree Template

Diagram of Christmas treeCut a sheet of greaseproof (parchment) paper the same size as a baking sheet. Find something to draw round for the position of each roll - a glass, cup, cutter or whatever. It should be about 7cm (2¾ inches) diameter. Near the bottom of the paper, draw a circle around the glass. It wants to be located in the middle of the paper and this will be the trunk of the tree - you can make it more square if you like. Draw a big triangle above the trunk extending the full length of the paper. Draw a row of four circles along the triangle's bottom edge, then 3, 2 and (possibly) 1. At the apex of the triangle you might want a roll in the shape of a star, but you'll probably need a star-shaped cutter for that. Leave a bit of space between the position of each roll because they will expand.

The Filling and the Rolls

When the dough has almost finished proving, mix together the sugar and cinnamon, and melt the butter - either in a microwave or a small pan on the stove. Sprinkle some flour on your worktop, tip out the dough and roll it flat. The aim is to create a rectangle about 500mm (20 inches) by 300mm (12 inches). Try to get the edges straight and the corners square. Paint the butter all over the pastry then sprinkle with the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll the pastry up from the long end closest to you and try to get it as tight and even as you can. You will need 11 or 12 rolls to make the tree, so cut those using a steel ruler or scraper. You'll probably have some of the dough roll left over so cut that into individual rolls. Cover the tray with a clean tea towel and leave to prove in a warm place for an hour.

Bake and Decorate the Tree

Heat your oven to 160°C (320°F) for a fan/convection oven, 180°C (356°F) conventional, gas 4.  Bake the tree and spare rolls for 20-25 minutes, until they are golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool down before decorating it. Make up the icing by mixing half of the water into the icing sugar - you'll begin to develop a really stiff paste. Add another third of the water and work that in, then add the remaining water almost drop by drop until the icing is a thick, smooth consistency. You might not need all of the water and you want to be careful not to add too much. Stir in the food colouring and the glycerine (glycerine makes the icing less brittle). Use a piping bag with a fine nozzle to create a spiral of icing on the top of each roll. If you've made a star at the top, don't ice it but spray it with edible gold glitter. Cut the glacé cherries in half and place one in the centre of each roll. Sprinkle candied peel randomly across the whole tree.

The video above is from the Keef Cooks YouTube channel. Click here to see the video recipe of Cinnamon Rolls Christmas Tree on YouTube.

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Ingredients & Info

 600 grams strong white bread flour
 275 ml lukewarm milk
 90 grams butter
 1 egg
 1 tsp ground cinnamon
 75 grams caster (powdered) sugar
 1½ tsp active dried yeast
 175 grams demerara sugar
 1 tsp ground cinnamon
 60 grams butter
 90 grams icing (confectioner's) sugar
 about 20 ml cold water
 quarter tsp glycerine
  green food colouring
 12 halved glacé cherries
 2 tsp candied peel
  edible gold glitter spray

US Customary/Imperial

Makes 1 tree, 15 rolls
Prep time: 30 minutes.
Proving time: 3 hours.
Cooking time: 25 minutes.
Total time: 3 hours 55 minutes.