I promise this is my last holiday baking post. But it is not Christmas for me without this on Christmas morning (whatever day of the year that may be for us)! My mom makes this every year – except for two years when I have hosted our Christmas, then I had to make it. It isn’t Christmas without it and this is the recipe she sent me in an email three years ago when I first made it myself. It isn’t easy. But it is delicious! (My comments on her recipe are in italics).
Almond Swirl Ring
You will need a large bowl, a towel, a large cookie sheet, a clean sharp pair of scissors. Be sure to read through recipe before you begin. (I need to note she means a dish towel here not a bath towel – I know you were wondering what all you were going to have to do to make this recipe!)
1 c milk
6 tbsp butter or margerine
1/3 c sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3-4 c all-purpose flour, divided
1 pk dry yeast
1 egg, beaten
1/3 c sugar
2 tbsp butter or margerine, softened
1/2 ground almonds (food processor works)
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 c powdered sugar
2-3 tbsp milk
Candied cherry halves
Whole blanched almonds, toasted*
Combine first 4 ingredients in a small sauce pan (or in microwave); heat until just warm (about 115). Combine 2 c flour with yeast. Add warm milk mixture and beaten egg. Beat well. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. DO NOT try to use any shortcuts to rising on yeast package. (It is my momma’s rules – NO shortcuts!)
Turn dough out on a floured surface and knead 3-5 minutes, working in additional four (up to 4 c.); shape into a ball. Place in a greased bowl, turning to grease top. Use your favorite cooking spray. Cover; let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until doubled in bulk about 1 hour. Usually top of refrigerator works well; or on top shelf of off oven with pan of hot water beneath. Punch down dough and let rest 10 minutes - Do NOT skip this step. (Again – my momma is a rules girl - you know the emphasis here is all hers. She was an Elementary School Principal and you don’t want to mess with her!)
Place dough on floured surface and roll into 18- x 12-inch rectangle. Combine 1/3 c sugar, 2 tbsp soft butter, ground almonds, and almond extract; blend well and spread over dough. Starting at long edge, roll up jelly roll fashion. Pinch edges together to seal. A bit of water on the fingers will help to seal dough.
Place roll on greased cookie sheet. Use your favorite cooking spray. (Jeez woman – what is it with you and favorite cooking sprays? She must have foreseen a world where I was a blogger and needed to ensure that there were no FTC rules broken about professing ones true love to PAM. Note to the FTC - I only use Store Brand Sprays and was not paid or endorsed by PAM to say that.)
Shape into ring, and pinch edges together to seal. Using kitchen shears or a sharp knife (shears work better), make a cut every inch around the ring. Cut should go 2/3 way through ring. Gently pull slices out and twist, overlapping slices slightly. If cuts will not twist, cut just a bit deeper. (This is the hard part – try not to start saying dirty words. If you don’t you are a better person than I was the first time I made this.)
Cover with towel (ah-ha see now we need the towel!), let rise in warm place free from draft until doubled in bulk (see above) about 45 minutes.
Bake at 375 20-25 minutes. Combine powdered sugar, sift first for smoothest results, and 2-3 tbsp milk to make glaze. Use less milk than you think you will need. Drizzle over hot ring. Garnish with Cherries and Toasted Almonds*. Yield 16-20 servings.
What??? 16 to 20 servings? We (me, the lil bro, and my momma) eat this thing in two breakfasts?!?! Whatever – I am going to call this 8-10 servings. It is too good to just eat one piece.
*Toasted Almonds: Place almonds in single layer on cookie sheet. Place under broiler or in toaster oven. WATCH constantly. Remove when just beginning to brown. This can be done in advance. Be sure to store in a cool dry place.
BON APPETIT! (She thinks she is so Julia! I love her!)
(mmmmm.... so yummy!)
So, as you can see – it is not easy, but it is Christmas for me. What is Christmas for you?