When we lived in California, a friend made these for us at Christmas. Once we moved here, I found myself missing those light, moist loaves, dotted with candied fruit and blanketed with thick frosting. So I hunted up this recipe and started making them. The cardamom gives the bread a wonderfully distinctive flavor. —Carol Mead, Los Alamos, New Mexico
- 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
- 1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
- 3/4 cup warm milk (110° to 115°)
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 5 to 5-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 cups chopped mixed candied fruit
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Red and green candied cherries
- In a bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in water; let stand for 5 minutes. Add milk, butter, egg, salt, cardamom, 2-1/4 cups flour and remaining sugar. Beat until smooth. Stir in fruit, raisins and 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 1-1/2 hours.
- Punch dough down; shape into two loaves; place in two greased 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks.
- For frosting, combine sugar, butter and milk until smooth; spread over loaves. Decorate with cherries. Yield: 2 loaves.
Originally published as Julekage in Country Woman Christmas Annual 1997, p14
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