- 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
- 3/4 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
- 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 7-1/2 to 8 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 3 to 4 tablespoons 2% milk
- Candied cherries
- Sliced almonds
- Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add milk, eggs, sugar, butter, cardamom, salt and 2 cups flour; beat until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
- Turn dough onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover with plastic and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours.
- Punch down dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into nine portions. Roll each into a 12-in. rope. Place ropes on greased baking sheets. Working with three at a time, braid ropes. Pinch ends to seal; tuck under.
- Cover with kitchen towels; let rise in a warm place until almost doubled, about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°. Bake until golden, 20-25 minutes. Cool. Meanwhile, make a glaze by mixing confectioners' sugar and enough milk to reach desired consistency. Drizzle glaze over loaves; decorate as desired with cherries and almonds. Yield: 3 loaves.
Originally published as Cardamom Holiday Bread in Taste of Home December/January 1995, p41
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