Friday, December 2, 2011

A Charlie Brown Lemon Tree

I have a lemon tree and every spring when it comes to life and is covered in sweet smelling flowers I dream of the lemons that will one day be on its branches.   Unfortunately, my little Charlie Brown lemon tree produces only 1 lemon per year.  I nurture my lemon tree in anticipation that one day it will produce more delicious fruit but my poor little tree struggles to keep its leaves and seems to attract undesirable insects.  Even though I would prefer that my tree would be a more plentiful fruit producer, I wait eagerly for the single lemon to ripen each year.  I usually plan a special treat around my solitary lemon so that it can be celebrated and appreciated.  This year's lemon treat - Lemon Twist Loaves.

Lemon Twist Loaves
2 cups water                                Glaze
3 cups sugar                                3 cups powdered sugar
1 cup butter                                 3 Tablespoons lemon zest
5 teaspoons yeast                       3-4 Tablespoons milk
¾ teaspoon salt                         1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 egg yolk                                     1 cup sliced almonds
1 egg
7 cups flour
1 cup chopped almonds
3 Tablespoons lemon zest

Bring water and 1 cup sugar to a boil.

Remove from heat.  Add ½ cup butter.

Cool to 110.
I used a candy thermometer to measure the temperature of the water.   Water that is too hot can kill your yeast. 

Beat in yeast, salt, egg, egg yolk and 4 cups flour.  Stir in remaining flour.  Knead.

Place in a greased bowl.   Refrigerate 8 hours.

Remove dough from refrigerator.

Divide dough into thirds.

Roll each into a 16x10” rectangle.

Melt ½ cup butter and spread over dough.

Combine chopped almonds, lemon zest and 2 cups sugar.

Sprinkle over butter.

Roll up starting with long side.  Place on silpat lined baking sheets.  (or greased if you don't have silpats.)

Cut loaves in half lengthwise to within 1” of one end.  Holding uncut end, twist strips together.


Cover and let rise 2 hours.  Bake 25 minutes at 350.

Combine first 4 glaze ingredients and drizzle over warm bread.  Sprinkle with toasted almonds.


These lemon twist are the perfect way to spotlight the lemon that grew on my little tree this year.   Last year I made mini versions of this recipe by dividing the dough into 8 pieces instead of 3 and I gave these delicious little loaves away as Christmas gifts. 

I don't know about you but - I am officially starving now.   Time for me to grab a snack.

Bon Appetit!

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