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Like many holiday breads, Julekage involves candied fruit and nuts, and it is heavily spiced. The traditional spice used in Julekage is cardamom, although nutmeg, cinnamon, and other flavors may be used as well. Many fans of the bread believe that it tastes best warm out of the oven, although it can also be toasted and served with butter. It also makes very intriguing French toast, thanks to its rich flavor. It may also be treated to a bit of frosting which adds to its festive taste.

1 cup warm milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 package active dry yeast
1 egg
2 tablespoons softened butter
3 1/4 cups flour, divided in half
1/4 cup each of golden raisins, dried diced pineapple, and dried diced apricots

Mix all the ingredients except the fruit and the second half of the flour. Beat well. Add the remaining flour and the fruit. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place in a buttered bowl, turning once to coat, and then cover and let rise in a warm place until double. Punch down and let rise until doubled again. Punch down and shape into a round loaf. Put it into a buttered, round cake pan. Cover and let it rise until double. (The original recipe warns that this “could take all day,” but it didn’t take that long for me.) Bake at 350º F until golden, about 50 minutes.
Yield: 1 large loaf
Source: Marina T. Stern, The Fairy Party Book

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