3Tablespoonsbuttermelted (to spread on dough circles)
For Cream Cheese Filling
1 ½cupscream cheese½ cup per braid
6Tablespoonssugar2 Tablespoons per braid
1TablespoonVanilla1 teaspoon per braid
For Cherry Filling
1can cherry pie filling-approx. 29 ounces1 cup per braid
3cupspowdered sugar1 cup per braid
6Tablespoonsmilk2 Tablespoons per braid
1 ½teaspoonsvanilla½ teaspoon per braid
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Add yeast to ¼ cup warm water (110 degrees – hotter water will kill yeast.) Let bubble up to activate and soften yeast.
Melt butter in milk (place ½ cup butter cut up in 1 cup milk in glass measuring cup or microwave safe bowl) and microwave for 1 minute or until melted, then let cool.
In a large mixing bowl: Add yeast, sugar, beaten eggs, and salt. Stir gently. Add cooled milk/butter. Add 2½ cups flour and beat well for 5 minutes. Add the remaining flour, mix until a soft dough forms.
Place dough in greased bowl. Cover and allow to rise in warm place until double in bulk. After it has risen, punch dough down.
To form braid, divide dough into three parts.For each part, roll dough into a long rectangle about 18-inches by 8-inches.
Carefully mark dough lengthwise in thirds.Using a sharp knife, cut slash marks about 2-inches long and 1-inch wide down each side of dough (see picture).
Beat together ingredients for cream cheese filling until softened and blended. Then spread cream cheese filling down middle third of dough. Make sure to leave an inch clear at top and bottom of dough.
Spread cherry pie filling down middle third of dough over cream cheese mixture. Leave an inch clear at top and bottom of dough.
Tuck top and bottom of dough up over filling, Bring top right and left tabs of dough to middle and overlap them about an inch, then twist together. Repeat this motion until all tabs are joined. (This braiding method allows filling to show through and makes a beautiful presentation.
Place braid on a greased baking sheet or parchment paper. Let braid rise about 45 minutes or until nearly double in size.
Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit 10-12 minutes until dough is lightly browned. Remove from oven and let cool.
When braid has cooled, mix glaze ingredients (for one braid) together and place in a pastry bag or sandwich bag with corner cut. Pipe on glaze in a zig-zag pattern across braid.