Candy Cane Holiday Bread

I make a double batch of this braided bread every Christmas for the guys at work. Baked early in the morning and drizzled with the icing, served still warm when I get to work... they absolutely demolish it!

Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
25 mins
Additional Time:
4 hrs 5 mins
Total Time:
5 hrs
2 loaves



  • 2 cups dried cranberries

  • ½ cup drained maraschino cherries

  • ½ cup seedless raisins

  • ½ cup white sugar

  • cup honey


  • ¼ cup lukewarm water

  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast

  • 1 teaspoon white sugar

  • 1 cup butter

  • 1 cup milk

  • 2 eggs, beaten

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour

  • 3 tablespoons white sugar

  • 1 teaspoon butter, or as needed


  • 1 cup icing sugar

  • ¼ cup butter, melted

  • 2 teaspoons milk, or as needed


  1. Combine cranberries, maraschino cherries, and raisins in a food processor, meat grinder, or baby food mill fitted with the blade. Process until finely chopped.

  2. Transfer the fruit mixture to a saucepan; add sugar and honey. Bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat until quite thick, 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool, about 15 minutes. Refrigerate filling; it should thicken to the consistency of thick jam.

  3. Combine water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon sugar in a 1-cup glass measuring cup. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, microwave 1 cup butter in a 4-cup glass measuring cup until melted, about 1 minute on high. Add milk and microwave on medium until steaming, about 3 minutes. Let cool slightly.

  5. Stir proofed yeast and eggs into the milk mixture. Mix flour and 3 tablespoons sugar in a large bowl; make a well in the center. Pour yeast mixture into the well. Stir until well combined. Cover bowl with greased plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate, 3 hours to overnight.

  6. Line 2 baking sheet with foil and grease lightly with 1 teaspoon butter.

  7. Divide dough into 2 pieces. Roll a piece out into 18x14-inch rectangle on the foil. Cut eighteen 1-inch flaps down each long side like the legs of a centipede. Spread 1/2 of the filling down the center strip. Overlap the flaps of dough alternately over the filling, tucking the ends under. Repeat with the second piece of dough and remaining filling.

  8. Gently curve the tops of the loaves to form a candy cane shape. Leave at least a couple inches all around for dough to expand. Cover with dry towels and let rise until puffed and doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

  9. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

  10. Uncover loaves and bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

  11. Mix icing sugar, melted butter, and milk in a small bowl or glass measuring cup to make icing. Spoon into a resealable plastic bag and snip off a bottom corner. Drizzle icing over candy cane loaves while still warm.

Cook's Notes:

You are not actually 'braiding' the bread, only folding the flaps from one side over the filling and repeating alternately with the flaps from the other side. It just looks braided when it is done.

Substitute chopped apples for the cranberries if desired.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

418 Calories
16g Fat
66g Carbs
5g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 16
Calories 418
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 16g 20%
Saturated Fat 10g 49%
Cholesterol 63mg 21%
Sodium 121mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 66g 24%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 36g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 35mg 3%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 137mg 3%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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