· 3/4 cup plain or butter-flavored shortening, room temperature· 1-1/2 cups sugar· 3 large eggs, room temperature· 3 large egg yolks, room temperature· 1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese· 1 teaspoon almond extract (or flavor of choice)· 6 cups all-purpose flour· 1 tablespoon baking powder· 1 teaspoon salt· 1/2 cup 2% milk· GLAZE:· 1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar· 3 tablespoons 2% milk· 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (or flavor of choice)· Sliced toasted almonds or assorted sprinkles
Step 1Preheat oven to 350°. Cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and egg yolks,1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in ricotta and extract. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition, stirring in final 1 cup flour by hand., Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into thirds. Roll each into an 18-in. rope. Place ropes on a parchment-lined baking sheet and braid. Pinch ends to seal; tuck under braid. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 45-55 minutes (do not overbake). Remove to wire racks to cool., Meanwhile, beat confectioners' sugar, milk and extract until smooth. Brush on bread while still warm; top with sliced almonds or sprinkles.