Delicately sweet almond bread is a winner at any time of year, but I’m including it in our December recipe lineup because my family loves it particularly well during the holidays. This recipe has been handed down for generations in my husband’s Swedish family, and I’m excited to share it with all of you.
While making Christmas cookies we make sure to whip up at least a double batch of almond bread, then use it throughout the season. It freezes well and we just pull it out and thaw for a delicious almondy treat any time. The small loaves make great gifts for friends and neighbors, and the loaf that I portion up and set out with the desserts on Christmas Eve is always a hit.
Almond bread is most important to our family on Christmas morning: while everybody is busy with the gift exchange we break out the almond bread to hold us over until we’re ready to make brunch. The sweetness is perfect for the holiday atmosphere, but it’s also filling and flavorful enough to be a light breakfast.
Instead of standard mini-loaf pans you can use Scandinavian almond loaf pans, which are rounded on the top for a more festive and authentic look. These are available on Amazon; just make sure to get a non-stick version.
Making (and eating) this almond bread is one of my favorite holiday traditions!
Swedish Almond Bread
1 c Butter
2 c Sugar
3 1/2 c Flour
4 T Sliced Almonds
1 c Milk
2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 T Almond Extract
8 T Powdered Sugar
1 T Cream
Almond Extract to taste
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Cream butter and sugar well. When light and fluffy add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk and almond extract.
Butter 4 small loaf pans and then sugar the pans (optional). Pour batter into each and top with almonds. If using Scandinavian loaf pans, reserve half the almonds.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
While the loaves cool, combine powdered sugar and almond extract in a small bowl. Add in small increments of almond extract--a little bit goes a long way--until the frosting is appropriately almond-flavored. Add additional cream to achieve a liquid consistency for drizzling, if desired.
If using the Scandinavian loaf pans, turn the loaves out onto a plate flat-side down. When the loaves are completely cool, brush or drizzle the frosting over the loaves, then sprinkle more almonds over the frosting. Beautiful and delicious!
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