- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup butter, cubed
- 1 cup raisins
- 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
- 4 eggs
- 6 teaspoons anise extract
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup chopped red and green candied cherries
- 8 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 4 teaspoons milk
- In a small saucepan, combine the first four ingredients. Cook and stir over medium heat until butter is melted. Remove from the heat; cool to 110° to 115°.
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the butter mixture, eggs, extracts, nuts and cherries and 4 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; divide into thirds. Shape each portion into an oval loaf; place in three greased and floured 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
- Bake at 350° for 60-65 minutes or until golden brown. Cover loosely with foil if top browns too quickly. Remove from pan to wire racks to cool.
- In a small bowl, beat icing ingredients until smooth; drizzle over cooled loaves. Yield: 3 loaves (16 slices each).
Originally published as Italian Sweet Bread in Taste of Home's Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook Annual 2003, p54
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