With or without the frosting, slices of this fruit-filled bread add a holiday flair to ordinary breakfasts. I like to wrap gift loaves in cellophane topped with curly ribbons.
- 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
- 2-1/2 cups warm water (110° to 115°)
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 5-3/4 to 6-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup chopped candied fruit
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the butter, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and 3 cups flour. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add enough remaining flour to form a firm batter. Stir in candied fruit, raisins and nuts. Do not knead. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.
- Stir dough down. Transfer to two greased 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 40 minutes.
- Bake at 375° for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Combine confectioners' sugar and enough milk to achieve desired consistence; drizzle over bread. Yield: 2 loaves (12 slices each).
Originally published as Christmas Batter Bread in Country Woman Christmas Annual 2005, p39
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