We Interrupt Thanksgiving Madness…

for a brief blog post. First, I want to thank everyone who reads here. I’m really grateful for the people who are interested enough in me and my little corner of the world to keep coming back even when I’m not updating nearly enough.

Second, I made a comment on Twitter and Facebook about Julekaga and the fact that it was rising/baking. People wanted to know what it is, and I figured a quick recipe is in order. Not that it is a quick recipe, well it is sort of, depends on whether you’re going to take the short cuts or not (Mom, forgive me for the shortcuts, but I know what I’m doing, I promise). Also, my mother only makes this for Christmas. I think she’s nuts (in the most endearing, heartwarming way, of course). I make it for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter.

First, the disclaimer: the original recipe for this came out of some obscure cookbook on my mother’s cookbook shelf (my personal copy is handwritten on the back of two phone message slips stapled together). I do not know which one and I’ve converted it to a bread machine recipe anyway. Second: I’m going to run through this twice, once for those who have bread machines and then the second, more complex version for those who don’t. You can guess which crowd I’m a part of (you need one that can make 2 lbs of dough, just saying).

Put these ingredients in the bread machine pan in the order listed:

1/2 cup softened butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 cup scalded milk, cooled to room temp (1min 30sec in the microwave will do it)
5 cups of AP flour (I use unbleached; don’t use whole wheat, it will make a brick)
1 teaspoon salt
1 heaping teaspoon cardamom
2 1/2 teaspoons of bread machine yeast

Set your bread machine for sweet bread, 2 lb loaf, with mix-ins. At the mix-in beep add:

1/4 cup diced, candied citron (I actually use 4 times that much because I like it)
1/4 cup raisins (only if you like that sort of thing, which I totally do not)

When it hits the last knead, stop the machine, pull the dough out, split it into two balls and shape into round loaves. Put them on a baking pan and let rise another 30 minutes (in our house that usually ends up being 60 minutes because it’s cool here with the AC and all). Bake at 325 degrees for about 45 minutes and there it is.

Now, if you’re bread machine challenged a few things change:

1 pkg of yeast
1/4 cup warm water

Soften yeast.

Change the milk to 1 cup, scalded.

Add sugar, salt, cardamom, and milk together, cool to lukewarm. Add two cups of flour to that mixture and beat well. Add the yeast, egg, and fruit to that mixture and stir it all together. Add enough flour to make a soft dough (usually another 2 1/2 to 3 cups). Take it out of the bowl and knead on a floured surface until smooth and elastic. Put it in a greased bowl. Turn once. Let rise until double (2 to 2 1/2 hours). Punch it down. Form two balls. Shape the balls into loaves. Let rise until double again (about 1/2 hour-ish). Bake at 325 degrees for 45 minutes.

This is what it looks like when you’re finished:

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Christmas Preparations

This year is going fairly easily, in part because I finished teaching November 5th and have not gone back yet. This turned out to be a good thing because I spent several days in an ICU after the birth of my daughter and have only recently started to feel more together and capable of teaching a class or developing course content.

Today, a yule log needs to get made, some presents need to get wrapped, and some preparation for tomorrow needs to be done. Santa will be visiting later tonight, and tomorrow will hopefully be fun, if slightly chaotic.

Normally, I would be wrapping up the last grades and student concerns, but this year, I just don’t have to face those things, and I’m grateful. Because Katie was due right before Thanksgiving, I knew I wouldn’t have time to shop after, so I made sure that most, if not all, of my shopping was completed. Except for two smallish curve balls thrown by Ben, I did a great job.

We’re going to have a nice day tomorrow and celebrate my mother’s birthday the day after. Then I have to start thinking in terms of school and getting ready to go back.