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Christmas Tree Pull-Apart Bread

This easy, cheesy tree-shaped pizza bread is perfect for sharing.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 15 min
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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Ingredients

1 1/2 pounds store-bought pizza dough

All-purpose flour, for dusting 

One 8-ounce block part-skim mozzarella 

3 tablespoons unsalted butter 

1 garlic clove, minced

Kosher salt 

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 

2 teaspoons chopped mixed fresh herbs such as sage, rosemary and thyme 

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan 

6 to 8 large basil leaves, sliced into ribbons 

2 cups store-bought marinara, warmed 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Sprinkle a work surface with flour to prevent sticking. Cut the pizza dough into 32 pieces by dividing it in half, then cutting each half in half and so on until you have 32 fairly evenly-sized pieces. Cut the mozzarella into 32 cubes.
  2. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray lightly with cooking spray. Insert 1 piece of the mozzarella into each of the dough pieces, pinching the dough around the cheese and rolling into a ball. Make sure the cheese is completely sealed inside the dough. Repeat with all of the cheese and dough.
  3. Arrange the dough balls into the shape of a Christmas tree on the prepared baking sheet. Start with 1 at the center of the top of the sheet pan as the treetop. Then make rows of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 in a pyramid shape below the first ball, to make a triangular "tree" shape. Place the last 2 balls at the top of the pyramid to act as a tree topper.
  4. Melt the butter in a small pan. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then remove from heat. Brush half of the garlic butter over the dough and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the dough is lightly browned and cooked through. (It¿s okay if some of the cheese bursts through ¿ it will crisp up and taste delicious.)
  5. Remove from the oven and brush with the remaining garlic butter, then sprinkle with the parsley and mixed herbs. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and spread the basil ribbons over the top. If desired, spoon some of the sauce in lines across the tree to look like a garland. Serve immediately with the remaining sauce on the side.