Most Christmases, I'll take one of my rings to my husband's family and one to my family. Of course, I make sure to keep enough at home, too. They look so festive with the colorful cherries. Bill and I have two girls, 8 and 2. -Jo Learman, Caro, Michigan
- 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
- 2-1/2 cups warm milk (110° to 115°)
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 cup sugar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8-3/4 to 9-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- LEMON ICING:
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon lemon extract
- 3 to 4 tablespoons milk
- Red and green candied cherries, halved, optional
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add the milk, butter, egg, sugar, cardamom and salt and 6 cups of flour; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
- Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Punch dough down and divide in half. Divide each half into three portions. Shape each portion into a 24-in. long rope. Place three ropes on a greased baking sheet; braid. Form into a ring; pinch edges tightly together. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
- Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire racks.
- For icing, combine the confectioners' sugar, extract and enough milk to achieve desired consistency; spoon over rings, allowing icing to drizzle down the sides. Decorate with cherries if desired. Yield: 2 coffee cakes.
Originally published as Braided Cardamom Rings in Country Woman November/December 1998, p29
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