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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?

10 frugal friends said ...

Katinka said... @ December 24, 2009 at 4:03 AM

looks SO good :) probably so yummy :)
stopping by from SITS and wishing you a Merry Christmas!

Rachael-TooTutuCuteMommy said... @ December 24, 2009 at 5:47 AM

Yummmy! That looks delicious! Merry Christmas!

Shell said... @ December 24, 2009 at 7:50 AM

That looks delicious! Remind me of this near Easter. I'm too tired to try it now. LOL

karen@fitnessjourney said... @ December 24, 2009 at 8:05 AM

Food is such a big part of the holidays. I'm sure if you didn't make this it would be sorely missed.

Have a wonderful Christmas!

Unknown said... @ December 24, 2009 at 10:00 AM

Jess, I have one I make every year from Betty Crocker - it's a sourcream coffee cake filled w/dried apricots & cherries, in the shape of a candy cane. Best thing - it yields 3 cakes, so I give 2 away and keep one. Love it!
Thanks for visiting the other day. Hope you have a truly blessed Christmas.

Mommy said... @ December 24, 2009 at 12:11 PM

Thanks for the promotion. Of all the things I did for our Christmas, this was the only really essential one! Mommy is pleased.

Tricia said... @ December 24, 2009 at 3:35 PM

Yum, it looks delicious. Thanks for sharing!

MovieGuy said... @ December 25, 2009 at 7:12 PM

Ah our Christmas staple...and yes, it does make 16-18 servings...we're just big ol' pigs and scarf as much as we can get. You know it, I know it, and Mom knows it...the cats also know it, but they know better to go talking. I'm so glad this was your Christmas post though :) I should make this sometime.

Corrie Howe said... @ December 25, 2009 at 7:37 PM

It's not Christmas unless the kids are outside the bedroom "playing quietly" until the designated time to be allowed into our room. :-)

Dana @ Bungalow'56 said... @ December 29, 2009 at 12:25 AM

This looks sooo good. I will be making it before the holidays are over. Love the name of your blog by the way and will be popping in from time to time from Northern Canada. I hope to also be Frugal with a Flourish with a house to decorate on a non budget in 2010. Looking forward to your tips and inspiration.

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