Meet the Cook: Some of my friends prefer this slightly sweet bread to fruitcake. My family enjoys it at Christmastime. I'll make it for potlucks, too, and I've found that friends like it for brunch and breakfast. Recently, my husband and I marked our golden anniversary. We're the parents of two and grandparents of two. -Betty Jean McLaughlin, La Vista, Nebraska
- 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
- 3/4 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
- 3/4 cup evaporated milk
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup shortening
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 4 to 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 cup chopped mixed candied fruit
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
- Additional candied fruit, optional
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add the evaporated milk, sugar, shortening, salt, eggs and 2 cups of flour; beat until smooth. Stir in mixed candied fruit and enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (do not knead).
- Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/4 hours.
- Punch dough down. Turn onto a floured surface; knead 3-4 minutes. Pat evenly into a greased 10-in. tube pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place until nearly doubled, about 45 minutes.
- Bake at 375° for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to cool on a wire rack.
- Combine the confectioners' sugar, vanilla and enough milk to reach desired consistency; drizzle over bread. Garnish with additional candied fruit if desired. Yield: 1 loaf.
Originally published as Christmas Bread in Country Woman November/December 1996, p29
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