This is the time of year that my Grandmothers used to start baking Julekage. To me, that means Norwegian Christmas Bread, but we ate it nearly all Winter. Norwegians celebrate Christmas from the first Sunday of Advent (four Sundays before Christmas) until January 13.
That has always been fine with me.
The bread dough was spiced with cardamom and frosted with powdered sugar frosting.
Land O Lakes has a good recipe that is similar to our family recipe complete with a photo which you can see by clicking on the link. The candied fruit and raisins combined with cardamom, added a unique and always anticipated flavor to the round loaves of bread. We did not add nuts to the dough, but did decorate the loaf with sliced almonds for a special occasion. The traditional round loaf is sliced like bread, then the slices are cut in half. If you try the Land O Lakes Julekage recipe please use whole milk, real butter (Unsalted Land O Lakes Butter is what I prefer), and large eggs. Often, we left off the icing and toasted the slices. The toast was slathered with more butter, then sprinkled with sugar.
I have begun making a nontraditional variation of this Norwegian Bread, which are like Cinnamon Rolls, only filled with the goodies you would add to the bread.
Start with enough dough for four loaves of bread. Frozen sweet dough works fine. For each loaf you will get about eight to ten rolls.
Use 2 Cups of candied fruit. A combination of fruit cake mix, candied cherries and pineapple is what I use. Plus 1 Cup of Raisins, I used regular raisins, but golden raisins are prettier. Cardamom is the traditional spice in Norwegian baking, but you can use cinnamon. The rolls will lose their Heritage, but I live on a farm and rely on the ability to substitute.
Grind the fruit together.
You control the flavor and color of the filling by the fruit you add. The fruit cake mix will give it a snap of citrus, part of the traditional flavor.
Stir in 1 teaspoon cardamom and 1/2 Cup Melted butter.
Sprinkle flour on the work surface. Roll dough, one "loaf" at a time into a rectangle approximately 8 inches by 12 inches.
Spread 1/4 of your fruit mixture on each rectangle.
Starting at the long end closest to you roll and pinch dough to seal.
Cut into pieces that are approximately 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 inches wide.
Place on a greased baking sheet.
Cover with a dish towel.
Let rise until doubled in size.
Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes or until golden.
Frost with butter cream just before serving.
Fruit Filling for Scandinavian Fruit Rolls
1 Cup Fruit Cake Mixed Fruit
1 Cup Other Candied Fruit (1/3 Cup each Red Cherries, Green Cherries, and Pineapple)
1 Cup Raisins
1 teaspoon Cardamom
1/2 Cup Melted Butter
Grind the fruit. Add cardamom and melted butter. Mix together thoroughly. Spread on dough and form rolls. Place on greased pan, let rise until doubled in size.
Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.