Though it seems like this sweet bread takes a long time, the bulk of it is hands-off. Have the dough rise the day before during last-minute gift wrapping and bake before bedtime - it will warm nicely in the oven the next morning.
Cook Time 30minutes
Resting time 2hours30minutes
Total Time 30minutes
1/2cupunsalted buttersoftened. (8 tablespoons)
For the filling
1/2cupfinely chopped almonds
2Tablespoonsmilkplus more as needed
Heat milk and water to just warm (about 80 degrees F). Add yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar, stir to dissolve. Pour into a large mixing bowl.
Add 2 cups flour and mix until smooth. Mix in butter, 1/2 cup sugar, eggs, salt and cardamom.
Stir in 2 to 2 1/2 cups of flour, mixing until a shaggy dough forms. Flour a board or countertop and turn out dough. Knead until smooth and elastic, adding more flour as necessary to prevent sticking. Dough should be soft and supple.
Place in a greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled in bulk, 1 hour to 90 minutes.
Punch dough down and divide into two.
Roll one half into a rectangle about 18x10 inches, brush with 1 tablespoon melted butter, and sprinkle with 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup almonds. (Note - you do not need to use all the sugar, especially if you plan on icing the ring.) Roll up jelly-roll style and place on a baking sheet, connecting ends to form a ring. Cut dough at 1 -inch intervals almost all the way through, but keeping each slice connected. Repeat with remaining dough. Let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Brush rings with beaten egg. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes.
To serve, whisk together powdered sugar and milk until a smooth icing forms. Drizzle over the top and serve warm.