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Christmas Tree Savory Rolls

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
  • Total Time
    Prep: 1 hour + rising Bake: 25 min. + cooling
  • Makes
    1 tree (22 rolls)

Ingredients

  • 4 to 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup 2% milk
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • FILLING:
  • 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

Directions

  • In a large bowl, combine 3 cups flour, sugar, yeast, lemon zest 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, 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 22x14-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 1 slice near the top center of prepared baking sheet. Place 2 slices in the second row with sides touching. Repeat, adding 1 slice per row, until tree has 5 rows. Repeat last row. Center remaining 2 slices below last row for the trunk. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
  • Bake at 325° until golden brown, 25-30 minutes. 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 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.
Nutrition Facts
1 each: 191 calories, 9g fat (3g saturated fat), 13mg cholesterol, 170mg sodium, 25g carbohydrate (7g sugars, 1g fiber), 4g protein.
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