My husband and oldest son went ICE fishing over the weekend.... NOT me! I like to stay WARM and I can think of no better way to stay nice and warm than baking in the kitchen. The wood stove has worked over time this December.... Indiana has had a very unusually cold month. Never has my husband been able to ice fish before Christmas
(the pond he fishes had 8 inches of clear ice already). They brought home a nice mess of fish for us to enjoy.
I busied myself in the kitchen this weekend baking up some goodies to give for Christmas gifts. I made several batches of Celebration Bread Braid and pounds of candy! Gotta LOVE this time of the year!!!! Celebration Bread Braid is one of my favorite gifts to give. Home made bread is such a treat and this one is very beautiful to look at, too. My favorite fudge recipe is both fantastically wonderful to eat and is also easy on the budget. ENJOY! You will find both recipes below.
Celebration Bread BraidBetter Butter
- 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
- 1/3 cup butter, softened
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 4-1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon cold water
Directions:In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the butter, sugar, salt, eggs and 3 cups flour. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into four pieces. Shape each piece into an 18-in. rope. Place ropes parallel to each other on a greased baking sheet. Beginning from the right side, braid dough by placing the first rope over the second rope, under the third and over the fourth. Repeat three or four times, beginning each time from the right side. Pinch ends to seal and tuck under.
Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Beat egg yolk and water; brush over braid. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool. Yield: 1 loaf.
Pair up the Celebration Bread Braid with some Better Butter and you have a wonderful gift to share!
Set butter out and bring to room temperature. In blender whip together equal parts of butter and oil (I use canola). Whip till very creamy. Store in containers in the fridge... will stay soft and yummy!
Variations: Honey Butter.... simply add in some honey in replace of some oil.
Cinnamon Butter.... add in some brown sugar and cinnamon
Garlic and Herb.... add in some garlic powder and herbs
Combine the following in a large bowl:
3 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet is the best!)
½ lb. (2 sticks) butter, cut into chunks
In Sauce pan measure:
4 ½ cups sugar
¼ tsp. cream of tartar
1- 12 oz. can evaporated milk
Mix together and stir constantly over med-high burner. Keep stirring until it comes to a full bubbling boil- NOT a rolling boil. Time for 6 minutes. Remove from heat and pour over chips and butter in bowl. Add 1 tsp. vanilla, stir until chocolate is melted. Add nuts if desired. [Try dried cherries too- yumm-o!]
Pour into GREASED 9x13 pan and cool.
Cut into squares and serve. Keep refrigerated or at least in a cool place.
Warning: Very rich- you must have a glass of milk or a cup of coffee. Eating more than 3 pieces at a time is known to give you sugar overload.
Have a BLESSED day, BE a BLESSING!
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