Julekake: Norwegian Christmas Bread
January 11, 2013, 3:23 am
Filed under: recipes | Tags: ,

Pronounced yoo-leh-kahga (emphasis on first syllable), this beautiful, sweet yeast bread is a part of our traditional Christmas Day brunch. My husband bakes this bread on Christmas Eve and makes our house smell so good! I love that our children are experiencing a part of his family’s Norwegian heritage. The recipe comes from his mom, Barbara Moody.


  • 1 cup milk, scalded
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamon
  • 1/2 cup warm water (105 deg. F.-115 deg. F.)
  • 2 pkg. active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup mixed candied fruit
  • 1 tbl. flour
  • 4-1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tbl. sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. cinnamon


  1. Pour scalded milk over butter, 1/2 cup sugar, salt, and cardamon in a bowl. Stir until butter is melted. Cool to lukewarm.
  2. Sprinkle yeast over water and stir until dissolved. (Do not mix yeast with water in a metal bowl.)
  3. Toss raisins, nuts, and mixed fruit with 1 tbl. flour, and set aside.
  4. Add about 2 cups flour to the milk mixture and beat until smooth. Stir in dissolved yeast, egg, and the fruit-nut mixture. Beat in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough.
  5. Turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead dough until smooth and elastic, 5 to 8 min. Form into a ball and place in a buttered bowl. Turn dough to bring buttered surface to top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (about 80 deg. F) until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours.
  6. Punch down dough and turn onto lightly floured surface. Divide dough in half and shape each into a round loaf. Place on a buttered cooking sheet. Cover and let rise in a warm place until the dough is doubled, about 1 hour.
  7. Bake at 350 for 25 min. Brush tops with softened butter and sprinkle with a mixture of the sugar and cinnamon. Remove loaves to wire racks to cool. 


In this picture, you can see that the loaves are shaped and starting to rise. The loaf in the upper right corner was shaped first.


Making Egg Rolls
October 8, 2012, 9:11 pm
Filed under: recipes | Tags: , , , ,

I attended high school in the “old days” (what my boys call “history” LOL!) when girls still took home ec.  Since I was attending high school on the island of Guam, I learned how to cook Asian food with the unique twist that is Micronesian food. Making egg rolls from scratch is time consuming, but worth every bit of the trouble!

When I make egg rolls I’m usually cooking for a crowd. Because they are a lot of work, I figure I might as well make a party out of it, and my boys have strong opinions about how many leftovers we should have. 🙂 I typically make 125 egg rolls at a time now. Along with rice and stir fry, that is enough to feed 11 -12 people, plus guests can take a platter of egg rolls home with them and we have enough for another meal and maybe an after-school snack. My favorite way to have this meal is to invite someone over that wants to learn how to make egg rolls or likes to help cook. That makes the work go much faster and it’s fun to visit.

A note about ingredients: When I learned to make these, the ingredients were just as simple as you see here. Over the years I have experimented, but I typically come back to this recipe for egg rolls because they’re just so good. I put a lot of different veggies in the stir fry I serve with egg rolls, so more finicky eaters can pick out what they like/don’t like. I’ve only met a few people over the 26+ years I’ve been making egg rolls that don’t like them.

These instructions will make 80 egg rolls.

What You Will Need:

  • About 4 hours for prep and cooking
  • Very large skillet or wok
  • Electric frying pan or large shallow pan
  • Paper bags or newspaper & paper towels
  • Wax paper
  • Canola oil
  • Soy sauce (my favorite is Kikkoman Lite)
  • 3 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped finely
  • 1 head of cabbage, chopped finely
  • 2 pounds fresh carrots, grated
  • 4 cups bean sprouts
  • 3 pounds chicken breast or pork loin (can also use shrimp, sirloin steak strips or combo), in chunks no bigger than 2 in x 1 in.
  • 2 eggs (keep in refrigerator until filling is done)
  • 4 packages of egg roll wrappers (keep in refrigerator until filling is done)
  • *If you serve rice and stir fry with your egg rolls, you will need double the garlic and onion as well as more meat and whatever veggies you choose. You will also need whatever sauces you want to serve with the food.

Directions for Cooking the Filling:

  • Put a small amount of oil in a large skillet or wok, just enough to cook the garlic and onion. Cook garlic and onions over medium high heat until soft and translucent.

  • Add in the chopped meat, adding soy sauce to taste. I’m pretty generous with the soy sauce.

  • Stir continuously so the meat cooks rapidly, adding in a bit more oil if necessary.
  • When meat is cooked, push meat completely to the sides of the pan, leaving a well open in the middle (if you don’t have a really large skillet, scoop out the meat, making sure you leave as much of the liquid as possible in the pan).
  • Lower cooking heat a bit (between medium and medium high).
  • Put your grated carrots in the middle and add more soy sauce. Cover pan for a few minutes so the steam helps the veggies cook.
  • Push carrots to perimeter of the pan and add in the cabbage and bean sprouts. Add a little more soy sauce.
  • Cover pan and allow to steam cook for a few minutes.
  • Remove lid and stir veggies briskly. They should be a little crunchy, not soft, so don’t over cook.
  • Strain cooked egg roll filling into bowl and allow to cool, carefully reserving liquid (liquid can stay covered in pan to use later). Split into two bowls for faster cooling and/or if you have two people wrapping egg rolls.

  • While you wait for the filling to cool, get your egg roll wrapping area ready.
    • Line cookie sheets with wax paper to hold your egg rolls after they are wrapped
    • Beat the 2 eggs in a small bowl with a fork, keep fork in bowl (If 2 people are wrapping the egg rolls, put one egg in each bowl).
    • Egg roll wrappers (only remove one package at a time from the refrigerator–the wrappers are much easier to work with if they stay cold)
    • I use slotted serving spoons to fill the egg roll wrappers. You’ll want hand towels or plenty of paper towels handy.

Directions for Filling the Egg Roll Wrappers:

  • You can wrap the egg rolls with the wrapper in your hand or with the wrappers in a stack in front of you. It is a matter of preference.  I find it easiest to put the wrappers with the points in the N/S/E/W position like a baseball diamond.  If I have a younger helper I pre-separate the wrappers so they’re easier to pick up (my friends 4th grade daughter loved cooking these with me!).

  • If using a slotted serving spoon with a bowl about 3 inches long, put a spoonful just slightly lower than the center of the wrapper. You want to be able to cover the filling when you fold up the bottom corner (home plate) of the wrapper toward the center. Don’t overfill. Otherwise the wrappers tear more easily and the filling comes out during cooking.

  • Once you fold the bottom corner up over the filling, fold in the left and right corners (third and first base). When you fold in the sides, make sure there is overlap, like with a folded envelope, so there are no holes at the corners for the filling to fall out. Gently, but firmly push the filling into the center so you have plenty of overlap when you put the top corner down. Your finished egg roll will be about 1.5 to 1.75 inches wide.
  • Dip the fork or a pastry brush (or your fingers) into the beaten egg. Brush the egg over the top folded point to help seal the fold/wrap.
  • Set rolled wrap on the wax paper and keep going.

  • I tell people that make egg rolls with me all the time that there is no such thing as “wrong” or “ugly” when it comes to filling egg rolls. It’s something most people get after they’ve done a few. They taste SO good and so much better than store or restaurant bought that no one cares how they look (well… unless the filling falls out LOL!).
  • If there are two of you wrapping the egg rolls, one of you can begin the frying station prep about halfway through the wrapping so you can wrap and cook at the same time.

Directions for Frying the Egg Rolls:

  • Prepare cooking station.  If you don’t have an electric skillet, you will have to adapt the directions to suit what you have. I learned how do fry them on a stove top in a pan, but prefer the convenience of the electric skillet.
    • I line my counter with two old bath towels, one on top of the other. To fry the egg rolls, I use a square Sunbeam 12 inch electric skillet that I got as a wedding gift in 1986. I laugh as I type this because who would have ever thought it would last this long? The skillet is 1.5 inches deep and I fill it half-full with oil. Set the temperature at 320 degrees.
    • Line several 9 x 13 or larger baking pans with newspaper or paper bags. Layer four or five paper towels on top.
    • Set oven to warm. Get your tongs ready.
  • Depending on how well I’ve wrapped the egg rolls, I can fit 8-10 at a time in the electric skillet. The egg rolls WILL stick to each other so allow a bit of cooking time before you get them crowded together.
  • The egg rolls stick to the wax paper a bit if they sit too long. Just take a few extra seconds to pick them up in a rolling motion or peel back the wax paper. The wrappers don’t tear if you don’t hurry.
  • When the oil is bubbling a bit, you can test putting in the the first egg roll. You will know the oil is ready if you see immediate bubbling.

  • When you see the edges of the egg rolls starting to crisp up, turn them over to cook the other side. This is not something that takes a long time. 4-5 minutes a side at the very most.
  • Try to allow as much oil as possible to drain back into the skillet as you lift out the egg rolls into your lined baking pans. If you put the egg rolls on their sides in the pan, you can fit more in and the grease drains better too. Move cooked egg rolls to warm oven between batches.

What I Serve With My Egg Rolls:

  • In the islands we used to get duck sauce. I’ve had a hard time finding what we used to get in the states. I’ve learned to settle for shrimp sauce (from Japanese restaurants), Chinese red sauce (that they serve with their sweet ‘n sour chicken), and LaChoy has a sweet ‘n sour duck sauce that is okay too.
  • Rice. I use a rice cooker (it’s the only way to get sticky rice like in the islands–YUM!). A full rice cooker takes about 45 minutes to cook so I usually get that going near the end of the egg roll cooking unless there are two people to cook, then I start it sooner.
  • Stir Fry. We love stir fried veggies–with or without meat. Typically I do the same meat as the egg rolls, but not always. It depends on what is for sale or if I’m making the meal for a birthday request, then the birthday person chooses the meat 🙂
    • Start the stir fry the same way as the egg roll filling. Cook the fresh garlic and onion first, then add the meat along with a generous amount of soy sauce. I will often add a bit of hot Chinese oil with the garlic and onions too. Once the meat is cooked, spread it out to the perimeter of the pan to start cooking your veggies.

    • Whatever veggies you choose, make sure you put in the ones that take the longest to cook first. As you add in the veggies, you can use the lid of the pan so they can steam cook a bit. As with the egg roll filling, only a few minutes is necessary. Just remember to push veggies to perimeter of pan so you can put fresh veggies into the center, and add soy sauce as you go.
    • My favorite veggies in stir fry: carrots, bok choy (or nappa if no bok choy), summer squash or zucchini, broccoli, cabbage, red & green peppers, celery, pea pods.

    • I was fortunate enough to get some lovely bok choy the time I did this batch of stir fry. The white stalks are so flavorful in stir fry.

Leftovers are best if they are heated up in a toaster oven or the oven. Microwaving egg rolls makes them soggy.

Hope you enjoy!

Creative Commons License
Life in the Moody Fast Lane by Laurie Moody is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

%d bloggers like this: