This delicious breakfast bread has been a Christmas tradition in our home for over 40 years. I started making this recipe when Jimmie Don and I were in college. He found it a perfect excuse to be at my house before dawn on Christmas mornings!

¾ cup warm water
1 pkg yeast
½ cup sugar
½ tsp salt
3 eggs
1 egg yolk (white aside)
½ cup (1 stick) margarine
3 ½ cups unsifted flour
½ cup chopped raw almonds
¼ cup chopped citron (optional)
¼ cup chopped candied red cherries
¼ cup raisins
1 Tbsp. grated lemon peel (or 1 tsp. lemon juice)
2 Tbsp. margarine
1 Tbsp. water
Confectioner’s sugar frosting

On Christmas Eve

Measure warm water into a large, warm mixing bowl.  Sprinkle in yeast; stir until dissolved.  Add sugar, salt, 3 whole eggs, egg yolk, ½ cup softened margarine, and half the flour (1 ¾ cups).  Beat 10 minutes at medium speed on mixer or by hand.  Scrape bottom and sides of bowl frequently. Blend in remaining flour, almonds, fruits, and lemon peel.  Cover; let rise in warm place, free from draft, until doubled in bulk, about 1 ½ hours.  Stir down batter by beating 25 strokes.  Cover tightly; refrigerate overnight.

On Christmas Morning

Turn dough onto well-floured board and divide in half.  Press each half into an oval 10×7 inches.  Spread ovals with 2 Tbsp. softened margarine.  Fold each oval in two longways.  Firmly press folded edges only.  Place on greased baking sheet.  Brush with slightly beaten egg white blended with 1 Tbsp. water. Let rise in warm draft-free place until doubled, about 1 hour. Bake in moderate oven (375 degrees) for 20 minutes, or until done.  Frost with confectioner’s sugar frosting.  If desired, decorate with whole almonds, citron, and candied cherries.  Makes 2 stollens.