Thursday, December 12, 2019

Swedish Christmas Cardamon Bread from Essie Lang, author

Have you started your Christmas baking yet? Have you finished it? It's time for me to pull out my Mom's recipe for Swedish Christmas Cardamon coffee bread. I make it every  year and that's the only baking I do. I admit it, I'm not into desserts (although I can be persuaded to eat the odd chocolatey mousse or Yule Log).

But it wouldn't be Christmas without the aroma and taste of this delicious Swedish Coffee bread. It brings back so many precious childhood memories. And, I'm ever on the quest to make a bread that tastes just like hers. Haven't hit the mark yet but who knows, this could be the year!

The memory and the taste are all rolled into one. I wear her Christmas apron when I'm baking. And I know she's there with me as I'm kneading and rolling the dough, sometimes pinching her lips, often smiling. That's Christmas to me.

My Mom made it every year that I can remember and my Dad would wake me Christmas morning when it was still dark out, bringing me a cup of freshly-brewed coffee and a slice of coffee bread. I loved it and didn't even mind the early hour. In fact, it was exciting, eating my treat in bed then getting washed and dressed, to drive the empty streets to our church for the early morning service. It would start with candles and by the time the service was over, it would be light outside. Magical.

Just a note about the topping - I coat the bread with a whisked egg and then sprinkle sugar on top. But you could just as easily use nuts or dried fruit, whatever your family enjoys.

What you'll need:

6 c. all-purpose flour, sifted
2 packages active dry yeast
1 tsp. crushed cardamom seed
1 large eggs, room temperature
2. c. warm water
1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 c. butter (or margarine) softened
1 tbsp milk (I used almond milk)
sugar for sprinkling on top

What to do:

1.  Pre-measure all ingredients and have at the ready. Sprinkle yeast into 2 c. warm water in a large mixing bowl and let stand for about 5 minutes until the yeast starts to bloom. Stir.

2.  Stir in 1 egg, 1/3 c. sugar, salt, cardamom, butter and about 1/2 the flour.  Use an electric mixer or stir by hand until mixed then add the remaining flour. Continue to stir until the dough is soft and can form a large ball.

3.  Place the dough in a greased large bowl, then turn over to grease the other side. Cover and place in a warm spot for 1 hour. It should then be doubled in size.

4.  Punch down then turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead for at least 5 minutes. It should be smooth and free from all bubbles.

5.  Cut the dough into 6 equal pieces and shape into ropes that are approx. 1 inch wide. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Use 3 at a time to form two braids. Cover with a cloth and place in a warm spot for 30 minutes.

6.  Mix the remaining egg, lightly beaten, with the milk and brush onto the braids. Sprinkle with sugar. Now's the time to add any other festive toppings you'd like. Place in a pre-heated 375 F oven for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned and thoroughly baked. Remove and cool on a rack before slicing.

Do you have a special memory of Christmas that's triggered each time you taste, or even think of some Christmas baking?

I'm happy to announce that book #2, DEATH ON THE PAGE, will be released in March, 2020

coming March, 2020

  The first in the Castle Bookshop Mysteries is available in hardcover, e-book, and audio!

  Dine out with the DINNER CLUB MYSTERIES

Here's a taste of the reviews for Marinating in Murder, #3:     

Wiken’s third entry to the Dinner Club series is a clever twist on the classic whodunit… The book will have you guessing until the very end…. All in all, an intriguing read by Wiken.” – RT Reviews

"Foodies will love this book and this series. Great recipes are included as well....A fun romp of intrigue filled with foodie fun." -- Open Book Society

Writing as Erika Chase -- the Ashton Corners Book Club Mystery series are available on-line or at your favorite bookstore.

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  1. This must make the house smell wonderful!

    1. It sure does, Libby. Quite wonderful...and mouth-watering.