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Mandelkrans (Swedish Almond Wreaths)

<i>Mandelkrans</i> (Swedish Almond Wreaths) Related:   breakfast & brunch, dairy, desserts & sweets, Europe, kid-friendly, Purim, Shabbat, vegetarian, Yom Kippur

Prep time: 30 minutes + 2¼ hours rising

Cook time: 20–25 minutes

Yield: 1 large loaf, serving 8 to 10

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From Sheilah Kaufman: Thankfully, the art of baking is alive and well in Scandinavia, where coffee breaks are a cherished part of the day. Darra says, “Anything with almond paste makes me swoon, and this beautiful wreath is a particular favorite.”

Ingredients

  • 1 package (2¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • ¼ cup lukewarm water
  • ¾ cup whole milk, lukewarm
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature and cut into pieces
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3–3½ cups flour
  • Filling
  • ½ cup blanched almonds
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon natural almond extract
  • Glaze
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • Pearl sugar, for sprinkling

Preparation

  • In a large bowl, stir the yeast and 1 tablespoon of the sugar into the lukewarm water and let proof until bubbles appear, about 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons of the sugar, the lukewarm milk, egg, butter and salt. Add 3 cups of the flour, mixing well until a soft dough forms. To knead the dough by hand, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until it springs back to the touch, 8 to 10 minutes, adding up to ½ cup more flour if necessary. To knead the dough with a mixer, attach the dough hook and knead the dough at slow speed until it springs back to the touch, about 5 minutes.
  • Shape the dough into a ball, transfer to a greased bowl, and turn it to coat the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in bulk, about 1½ hours. Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a floured surface. Set aside while you prepare the filling.
  • To make the filling, in a food processor grind together the almonds and sugar until the nuts are very finely ground. Transfer to a bowl, add the butter and stir until a mass forms. Stir in the almond extract. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and roll out to a 12-by-18-inch rectangle. With a small spatula, spread the filling evenly over the entire rectangle. Starting at the long end, roll the dough up into a log. Transfer it to the baking sheet, seam side down. Bring the ends together to form a circle, pinching them tightly to seal. With scissors, snip the dough two-thirds of the way through the circular log at 1-inch intervals. Gently turn each cut section on its side. Let the loaf rise in a warm place, uncovered, until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the bread until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Meanwhile, make the glaze by mixing together the confectioners’ sugar and orange juice. While the loaf is still warm, spoon the glaze over the loaf. Sprinkle with pearl sugar. Transfer carefully to a rack to cool.
  • Reprinted with permission from “Fire + Ice: Classic Nordic Cooking,” by Darra Goldstein, copyright © 2015, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Photo by Stefan Wettainen/Courtesy of Ten Speed Press.

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