George’s Cherry Bread
2 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
1/4 C. sugar
1 envelope quick-rising yeast, such as Fleischmann’s Rapid Rise yeast
1/2 t. salt
1/4 C. water
1/4 C. milk
2 T. butter
1 large egg
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/2 C. cherry preserves
1/4 C. sliced almonds
Red and/or green glacé cherries, quartered
In a large bowl, combine 3/4 cup flour, sugar, undissolved yeast and salt. Heat water, milk and butter until very warm, about 120 to 130°F.
Gradually add to dry ingredients. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally.
Add egg, vanilla and 1 cup flour. Beat 2 minutes at high speed.
Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
Cut 1/4 portion from dough; shape into a trunk of a tree. Place on bottom center of a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Roll remaining dough to 12 x 12-inch square. Spread cherry preserves evenly over dough to within 1/2-inch of edges.
Fold dough in half; do not seal ends.
Cut into 12 (1-inch) strips; twist each strip 3 to 4 times. Attach folded ends of strips to the top of trunk, forming a semi-circle. Split unsealed ends of each twist with a knife. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Brush with Egg Glaze.
Bake at 350°F. for 20 minutes or until done. Remove from sheet; cool on wire rack. Drizzle with Almond Glaze; decorate with red and/or green glacé cherries and sliced almonds.
In a small bowl, combine 1 egg white and 1 tablespoon water. Stir to blend.
Combine 1/2 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar, 2 to 3 teaspoons milk and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract. Stir until smooth.