Today I am bringing you a Guest Post from my friend Kim. Kim’s cooking is inspired by her grandma and mine by my mum. Our fondness is to cook for our families some exquisite meals. She is extremely talented. Not only she writes & cooks for A Little Lunch, but also she’s a musician and has a passion for photography.
I am glad she’s become a part of the Exquisite Niche family!
Hope you enjoy her post!! 🙂
I was so excited when Gursahiba invited me to join her on Exquisite Niche, this being my first guest post and all. Thank you for having me here! We both share a passion for cooking and baking, as well as the desire to create joyful ambience in our homes. We also have a mutual fondness for cardamom.
In consulting with my friend about what type of recipe to post, she suggested “something from my roots.” My grandmother’s fragrant Cardamom Bread immediately came to mind with it’s subtly infused spices and intricately woven exterior. Nothing says “home” like a family recipe.
Besides being treasures, family recipes connect us with the past while becoming part of who we are today. One whiff of a favorite dish and you’re transported to another place and time, while memories from those special occasions mingle at our present-day tables. Simply amazing!
I grew up in Minnesota where the winters are long and cold, but the warmth of Grandma’s kitchen made me forget about snow — especially when she was baking. After moving to Oklahoma, I haven’t had to contend with snow (much!), but I still love baking during the winter and Grandma’s recipes contain built-in coziness.
In fact, I named my blog after something she said often, beckoning us to the table for “a little lunch.”
The flavors in this recipe came from “the old country” (Czechoslovakia), to southern Minnesota where she eventually settled. Now they’ve followed me to another place and time. Isn’t it nice to know “home” is as close as your kitchen?
Cardamom Bread (aka Bohemian Braided Bread)
1/2 c. warm water
2 packets of dry yeast
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter, softened (plus a little extra to butter the bowl)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly grated lemon rind
1/4 t. ground cardamom
1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg*
1/2 c. milk, scalded and cooled
4 1/2 to 5 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. raisins (reserve to add during the final kneading)
1 c. confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 to 2 Tbsp. milk or cream
Maraschino (or candied) cherries
Begin by combining the yeast and warm water; set aside for 5 minutes until foamy. Lightly grease a large glass bowl with butter; set aside.
In another large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the sugar, butter, salt, lemon rind, and spices; beat again. Stir in milk and yeast mixture. Stir in 1 cup of flour. Add another cup of flour; stir until combined.
Gradually add enough of the remaining flour to make a slightly sticky dough. (I used 4 1/2 cups total — or, as Grandma used to tell me, “Never be afraid of a sticky dough!”)
Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead for 15 to 20 minutes, or until smooth. Form into a ball and place top-side-down in the buttered bowl; then turn it buttered side up.
Cover the bowl with a clean cotton towel (I still use one of the embroidered dish towels Grandma gave me years ago); set in a warm place to rise until doubled.
After dough has doubled in volume, punch down and let rest for 5 minutes. Sprinkle reserved raisins over dough; knead in until evenly distributed.
Divide dough into four equal parts. Using your hands, roll three portions into 14″ long ropes. Gently transfer ropes to a lightly greased baking tin; form them into a large braid and pinch ends together well.
Divide remaining dough into 3 equal parts. Using your hands, roll each part into 12″ long ropes. Form a second, smaller braid; lay it over the top (center) of the large braid, pinching ends into the larger braid to anchor them. Cover and let rise until double.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack. Meanwhile, combine glaze ingredients. Drizzle over warm loaf. Garnish with almonds and cherries. Enjoy!
(*Note: The original recipe called for mace. Since mace is made from the dried outer shell of nutmeg, I’ve found that freshly grated nutmeg works nicely.)
Thanks once again, Gursahiba, for hostessing this guest post — I’ve enjoyed my time in your kitchen!
Enjoying the warmth of “home” cooking,