Cranberry Eggnog Braid

Whether at Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year's, this is a good party bread. You can't beat it as a gift either...everyone really enjoys it.

Yield

10 to 12 servings

Bread Ingredients

3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/4 cup granulated (white) sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/4 cups eggnog
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Glaze Ingredients

1 cup confectioners' (powdered) sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons eggnog
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
dash nutmeg

Directions

In a bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups of flour, sugar, salt, yeast and nutmeg; set aside. In a saucepan, heat eggnog and butter to 120°F to 130°F (49°C to 54°C) (the butter does not need to melt); add to flour mixture. Beat on low until moistened; beat on medium for 3 minutes.

Stir in cranberries and enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down; divide into thirds. Shape each third into a 16-inch rope. Braid ropes on a greased baking sheet; seal ends. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden. Immediately remove from pan to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Combine the first three glaze ingredients; drizzle over braid. Dust with nutmeg.

Nutritional Information

1 serving (1 slice) equals 257 calories, 6 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 27 mg cholesterol, 153 mg sodium, 46 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 5 g protein.

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