Need a cute appetizer that’s different from the usual dips? Try my Tuscan Christmas Tree Bread. This simple starter uses shortcuts to create a gourmet-looking treat. Fluffy rolls stuffed with cheese and sundried tomatoes; what could be better?
This dish is proof that deliciousness doesn’t have to be complicated. The holidays are the perfect time to experiment with easy recipes. Friends and family will never believe how quickly this appetizer came together! Bonus: It’s pretty enough to add to any decorated table.
Tuscan Christmas Tree Bread Hacks
Don’t let its pretty face fool you; this Christmas Tree Bread comes together in a cinch. Here are some hacks and customization options.
- Not a fan of tomatoes? Eliminate them for a simpler variation.
- If you want to jazz this appetizer up, add chopped Kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, or sauteed onions.
- I like putting out green pesto and marinara sauce to stay with a Christmas theme. Other great dips include ranch or Italian dressing, extra garlic butter, or extra-virgin olive oil.
- Switch the herbs on the bread to fit the rest of your meal. Rosemary and sage are always good options!
- If you have time, you can always use homemade rolls instead of pizza dough. The instructions stay the same.
- You can also use biscuit or crescent dough and achieve a similar result.
- This Christmas Tree Bread makes a great pizza base. Simply brush marinara sauce over the top and add your favorite toppings.
Tuscan Christmas Tree Bread Ingredients
This appetizer requires less than ten ingredients, which comes in handy during those long grocery store lines. You may already have some of these things in your pantry, but if not, here’s what to add to your shopping cart.
Pizza Dough. This shortcut ingredient creates the best Christmas Tree Bread. No one will guess it’s pre-packaged! I love using pizza dough because it’s easy to cut and roll, but you can use whatever dough you like best.
Shortcut ingredients give you more time to focus on the main course. Might I suggest my Bone In Prime Rib Roast?
Mozzarella Sticks. Also known as “string cheese,” mozzarella sticks have the perfect melting point. They give our appetizer that gooey texture we all know and love without the mess. Plus, mozzarella complements sundried tomatoes perfectly. I’ve experimented with many kinds of cheese and found that only string cheese stays in the bread.
If you’re a fan of mozzarella, be sure to try my Simple Tomato and Mozzarella Bruschetta.
Garlic Butter. Some Christmas Tree Bread recipes use an egg wash, but I prefer to baste mine with butter. The butter gives the bread a homestyle flavor and helps it brown in the oven. You can use coconut oil and a pinch of sea salt if you don’t have butter.
Herbs. This is the secret ingredient that takes this recipe from good to great. You can use whatever herbs you want, but I love a combination of fresh oregano, parsley, and basil. Chop the herbs finely for a pretty appetizer everyone will flock to.
If you don’t have fresh herbs on hand, you can always use dried ones to get a similar look.
Sundried Tomatoes. For this recipe, I used sundried tomatoes packed in oil. The oil gets drained, of course, but these tomatoes taste as if they’ve marinated for years. They come in a handy jar, so you can easily save any extras. Chop your tomatoes small enough to fit inside your dough balls.
A good rule of thumb is to keep your tomato pieces fingernail sized.
Parmesan Cheese. Parmesan is an excellent topping because it doesn’t get messy but adds a burst of flavor. You should note that this recipe calls for shredded parmesan, not the powdered kind.
I usually recommend using freshly shredded cheese, but we went with pre-packaged because this is a short-cut recipe.
How to Make Tuscan Christmas Tree Bread
My Tuscan Christmas Tree Bread is simple enough, but the presentation makes it look gourmet. Here’s a quick tutorial of how this appetizer came together.
Step One: Slice the Pizza Dough
Preheat the oven to 375℉ and prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper. Lightly flour your workspace and roll the pizza dough into a large square. Using a pizza cutter, slice the dough into 30 smaller squares.
Don’t worry if your squares are crooked; they will even out in the next few steps.
Step Two: Fill Your Dough Balls
Dice your sundried tomatoes into fingernail-sized pieces, finely chop the herbs and slice each cheese stick until you have 30 small pieces. Place a few slices of tomato in each dough square, followed by a piece of cheese.
Roll each filled square into a smooth ball, ensuring the edges are sealed.
Step Three: Form the Christmas Tree
Put your dough balls on a prepared baking sheet in the shape of a Christmas tree. The easiest way to do this is to create a pyramid with a pattern of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 dough balls. I add 2 balls to the bottom of my tree for a trunk.
I also like to pinch all four corners of the top ball to make it look like a star. All of your dough balls should be touching. You may have to squish them together a little. If your tree looks awkward right now, don’t worry. The balls rise so much in baking that it’s hard to tell any oddities.
Step Four: Add Butter
Melt the butter, add the garlic, and brush over the Christmas Tree Bread. Add chopped herbs and a sprinkle of parmesan. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.
When the Christmas Tree Bread comes out of the oven, add more herbs if desired. I like to add more sundried tomatoes to look like ornaments. Serve with green pesto and marinara sauce. Enjoy!
If you have any leftovers, you can reheat them for more dipping delight. Simply let the bread sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes, then bake at 350℉ for 10-15 minutes.
You can also prep Christmas Tree Bread ahead of time and make it the day of the event. Just follow steps 1-3 and refrigerate. When it’s time to party, remove it from the fridge and follow step 4.
What are your favorite Christmas appetizers? Let us know in the comments below!Print
1 (13-ounce) can pizza dough
Flour, for dusting the table
⅛ – ¼ cup sundried tomatoes in olive oil, drained
3–4 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped
2–3 tablespoons fresh oregano, finely chopped
3–4 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
7–8 full-fat mozzarella cheese sticks
¼ cup salted butter, melted
1 clove garlic, freshly pressed OR ½ teaspoon garlic powder
Pesto, marinara, or additional garlic butter for dipping
- Preheat the oven to 375℉ and prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
- Lightly flour your workspace and roll the pizza dough into a large square. Using a pizza cutter, slice the dough into 30 small squares.
- Chop the sundried tomatoes and herbs, then slice each cheese stick until you have 30 small pieces.
- Place a few slices of tomato in each dough square, followed by a piece of cheese.
- Roll each filled square into a smooth ball, ensuring the edges are sealed.
- Place your dough balls on a prepared baking sheet in the shape of a Christmas tree. The easiest way to do this is to create a pyramid, leaving 2 dough balls for the “trunk.”
- Melt the butter, add the garlic, and brush over the Christmas Tree Bread.
- Add chopped herbs and a sprinkle of parmesan. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.
- When the Christmas Tree Bread comes out of the oven, add more herbs or sundried tomatoes, if desired.
- Serve with green pesto and marinara sauce. Enjoy!
Keywords: christmas tree bread, christmas bread, pizza bread, pull apart bread