2022 Edible Holiday Gifts – Part 4
For as long as I can remember, at Christmastime my mom made Swedish Tea Logs. Not only was it a centerpiece to our Christmas breakfast, they were also gifts for neighbors, family, and friends. Making this holiday bread was one of the many traditions my mom kept during the holidays.
How it became a family tradition
I’m not sure if this is a recipe my mother discovered on her own or if it was shared with her. I don’t even think it was a “holiday” recipe – it just became one in our home.
The recipe we follow is on a well-used, stained recipe card. It has since made it into our family cookbook. A little internet sleuthing leads me to believe that the recipe was a Pillsbury Bake-Off Junior winner from 1962, created by a 16-year-old named Ardythe Dey. Regardless of where it came from, this tea log is firmly part of our family’s tradition.
A few minor changes
The original recipe called for currants or chopped raisins in the dough. I don’t remember my mother ever doing this but I’m keeping it in as an optional component.
The original recipe called for turning each of the slices on their side to expose the filling. Again, this isn’t something my mother did but I kept it in the recipe as an option.
Because my nephew does not like nuts (and we also have a nut allergy in the family), we often make the filling without the nuts. If you go this route, you could include the currants from the dough in the filling instead. We just keep it a simple butter/sugar filling.
Finally, for the holidays, my mother would top each tea log with several slices of candied cherry for a pop of color and a festive touch.
My mom would place each tea log on a simple paper plate and wrap it in red or green cellophane, tied with chunky yarn.Print
This festive bread was the winner of the 1962 Pillsbury Junior Bake-Off. It makes 3 loaves, perfect for a large family brunch or for holiday gifting.
For the dough
1 packet active-dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup salted butter (1 stick), cold, cut into 1/2″ cubes
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup currents, optional
For the filling
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped
For the glaze
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1–2 tablespoons milk
Candied cherries, optional
For the dough
In a small bowl, combine the yeast and warm water. Set aside.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar and salt. Using a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until small pea-sized crumbs form.
Add in the evaporated milk, egg, and currants (if using). Then add in the softened yeast. Mix well. Cover and chill for 2 hours or overnight.
For the filling
Cream together the butter and brown sugar. Stir in the chopped nuts. Set aside.
Divide the dough into thirds. On a floured surface, roll each third into a 12″ x 6″ rectangle. Spread each rectangle with one-third of the filling.
Starting on the long end, roll each rectangle, and pinch to seal. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a crescent shape. Make cuts along the outside edge, 1 inch apart, to about ½ inch from the inner edge. If desired, turn each cut piece on its side to expose the filling (optional).
Lightly cover with a clean dish towel. Let rise for 45 minutes.
About 30 minutes into the rise, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
For the glaze
In a bowl, mix together the melted butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Add milk, 1 tablespoon at a time until the glaze is spreading consistency.
Allow the tea logs to cool for 15 minutes (if the tea logs are too warm the glaze will slide off). Glaze each log and decorate with slices of candied cherries, if desired.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Inactive Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Category: Breads, Breakfast
- Cuisine: American
- Serving Size: 1/6 of a loaf
- Calories: 227.84
- Sugar: 15.72 g.
- Sodium: 210.48 mg.
- Fat: 11.78 g.
- Saturated Fat: 6.14 g.
- Carbohydrates: 28.47 g.
- Fiber: 0.87 g.
- Protein: 3.03 g.
- Cholesterol: 33.95 g.
Keywords: cinnamon, sugar, currants