A yummy, new tradition for the Winter Solstice. This has the perfect amount of sweetness and can be modified to suit a vegan/dairy-free diet by using egg substitute and vegan butter. This recipe is a “keeper”, for sure.
1 teaspoon cardamom powder (or cardamom seeds ground with mortar and pestle)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel (I use Meyer lemons)
2 cups AP white flour
1 1/2 cups AP wheat flour
For the filling:
1 cup dried cranberries soaked in 1/2 cup bourbon (pack the berries down in the liquid)
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/3 cup AP wheat flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans
4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
In a large mixing bowl, combine the warm water and milk. Dissolve the yeast in the mixture and let it foam up for 5-10 minutes. Blend in the sugar, butter, salt, cardamom, cinnamon, eggs and lemon peel. Stir in the AP white flour and mix until incorporated. Add remaining AP wheat flour ½ cup at a time until you have a soft, workable dough.
Knead dough on a floured work surface until smooth, about 5-6 minutes. Add more flour if needed to prevent sticking. Place dough ball in a large, oiled mixing bowl and cover with towel. Let it rise in a warm place until doubled, about 90 minutes.
Drain the dried fruit from the bourbon. In a small bowl, combine the drained fruit with remaining filling ingredients. Mix together. Cover and set aside.
When dough has doubled in size, punch it down and turn it out onto a lightly floured board, kneading for a few minutes. Roll the dough into a 9×30-inch rectangle. Spread the filling over the dough to within 1 inch of the edges. Starting along a long side, tightly roll up the dough, pinching edge against loaf to seal. With a sharp knife, cut roll in half lengthwise. Turn each half so the cut side is facing up, and then twist the halves around each other, like a loose braid, keeping cut sides up. (This helps keeps the yummy filling inside.)
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or generously grease baking sheet). Gently, transfer the rope to the baking sheet and shape into a circle and pinch the ends together to seal. Let it rise, uncovered, in a warm place for 30-45 minutes. Near the end of rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until browned. Cool completely before drizzling icing over top.