Raise your hand if you love Christmas!
My hand is totally up and waving, because Christmas is definitely my favorite time of the year. I love how the chill outside makes the warmth indoors seem so cozy and bright, and how the glow of Christmas lights inside our home makes every morning and night feel special. I love how so many shops offer steaming samples of hot chocolate or apple cider and sweet treats to go with them as your peruse the aisles looking for Christmas gifts. I love how everywhere you go, there’s a bustle of people doing last-minute shopping that tells you Christmas is right around the corner. And I love the Christmas music playing everywhere – familiar songs that don’t stick to one age group in particular. How can you not soak it all up?
This year, with family being spread out and less traditional Christmas plans in the works, I feel like I’ve missed out on some of the Christmas mood , and a lot of the Christmas baking. So when I came across the recipe for these Cinnamon Sugar Candy Cane Twists, I knew I had to try them out and add a little more festivity to the air. The twists are made from a yeasted dough that’s filled with a tempting mixture of brown sugar and cinnamon, and once baked, they’re drizzled with a sweet almond glaze. Sounds pretty delicious, right?
The awesome thing about these cinnamon sugar twists is that even though they’re made with yeast (which I know some people find a little complex), they’re really not that time-consuming or complicated. The recipe uses rapid rise yeast, which essentially means that you get to skip the whole first rising process of the dough. Rapid rise yeast is also really simple to use because you just add it to your other ingredients like you would with baking soda or baking powder – no extra steps necessary.
If you’re not that comfortable with using yeast, or with making your own bread in general, there’s a great site called Become a Better Baker where you can learn a lot more about baking with yeast. They have technique videos to watch, helpful informative downloads, and tons of recipes for bakers of all skill levels. If you haven’t worked with rapid rise yeast before, their technique video for Using Rapid Rise Yeast will tell you exactly what it’s all about and show you how easy it is to use. Since this was my first time using rapid rise yeast, I watched it before making these twists. I couldn’t believe it when I learned how much faster it would make the whole bread-making process!
So, my point in all of this? Using yeast is easy. It opens up a whole new world of recipe possibilities. And it lets you make these super-scrumptious Cinnamon Sugar Candy Cane Twists that are just begging to be gobbled up on Christmas morning. In fact, if I were you, I’d make a double batch and give them to family and friends as part of your Christmas gifts. You’ll be the bread-making Christmas hero! :)
A few notes: If you want to make these when it’s not Christmastime, just make straight twists and skip the candy cane-shaping. ← Seasonal restrictions resolved! Also, there’s this pretty neat site called Common Kindness that lets you download coupons for various items while combining it with a good cause. Every time you “clip” a coupon, they donate money to a non-profit of your choice. Since there’s a coupon available for Fleischmann’s® RapidRise Yeast right now, I though you might want to know so you can make this recipe!
Cinnamon sugar is twisted through a soft, tender dough to create these Candy Cane Twists. A drizzle of almond glaze on top of each one adds a sweet and delicious finish!
- 15 7/8 ounces all-purpose flour, divided (3 3/4 cups, spoon and sweep)
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 envelope Fleischmann’s® RapidRise Yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 1/8 ounces milk (1/4 cup)
- 8 1/2 ounces sour cream (1 cup)
- 1 ounces softened butter (2 tablespoons)
- 1 egg
- 2 1/2 ounces brown sugar (1/3 cup, packed)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 ounce softened butter (2 tablespoons)
- 4 ounces confectioner's sugar (1 cup)
- 2 to 3 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract**
- In a stand mixer, whisk together 4 1/4 ounces (1 cup) flour, sugar, undissolved yeast, salt, and baking soda.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the milk, sour cream and 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) butter and microwave for about 1 minute 10 seconds, or until the butter melts and the mixture is very warm (120-130°F). Add to the dry ingredients and beat in with the paddle attachment, starting at a low speed and increasing to medium, for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.
- Add the egg and another 2 1/8 ounces flour (1/2 cup) and beat in for another 2 minutes, increasing the speed to high as soon as the flour is incorporated enough to not poof out everywhere. Again, scrape down the bowl as needed during this process. With the mixer on the lowest speed, add enough of the remaining flour until the mixture starts to come together in a dough that isn't too sticky.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes, until smooth and elastic, incorporating the flour on the surface into the dough as needed. The dough should be soft, but it shouldn't get stuck to the surface or your hands. Cover the dough with greased plastic wrap and let it rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the filling by whisking together the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
- Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle that measures 24" x 8". If the dough is really hard to roll, cover it and let it rest for another 5 minutes or so, and then try again. It also helps to lift the dough off the counter a bit and let it stretch. Make sure you're keeping the dough at 8" wide, too. You'd be surprised how easily it wants to roll out wider than that!
- Once the dough is totally rolled out, rub the remaining 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) softened butter over the entire top surface. You can pop the butter in the microwave for a few seconds if it's still to cold to spread. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar filling evenly over half of the dough, so that it covers the 8" of width and 12" of the length. Fold the half that isn't covered with cinnamon sugar over the half that is, so that you're left with an 8" x 12" rectangle. Pinch all of the open edges together to seal the filling inside.
- Line or grease two baking sheets. Working from the longer (12") side, cut the dough into 1" wide strips. While you're doing this, make sure that you stretch the dough out a bit if needed so that each strip is equal in width. Twist each strip several times and shape it into a candy cane.* I found that it was easiest to twist from one end at a time, or from the middle working outwards. Keep the strip of dough close to the counter while you twist so that it doesn't stretch from its own weight and break. After shaping, place each candy cane twist on a prepared baking sheet, spaced apart from the others. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for another 45 - 60 minutes, or until very puffy and about doubled in sized.
- While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375 F. Bake the twists for 12-15 minutes, or until the tops are golden and they no longer look doughy. Cool slightly, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, top with almond glaze.
- To make the almond glaze, stir together the confectioner's sugar, 2 tablespoons milk, and almond extract until smooth. Add up to 1 more tablespoon milk if needed to reach desired consistency. You want the glaze to be fairly thin. Use a spoon to drizzle glaze over each twist. Tip: Put some parchment under the twists before you glaze them to save yourself some cleanup!
*These cinnamon sugar twists don't have to be reserved for the holidays! During the rest of the year, you can leave them as straight twists.
**If you're not into almond extract, use vanilla extract instead (or any other kind you'd like.)
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post written on behalf of Fleischmann’s® Yeast and Become A Better Baker™. The views and opinions expressed are purely my own. I do not have an affiliation with Common Kindness, but chose to mention it only because I thought it may benefit readers.
Recipe Adapted From: Bread World