1. Trace or mark an 8-inch square in pencil on each of two pieces of waxed paper. Divide softened butter in half and spread each half evenly within the marked squares. Chill.

  2. While butter is chilling, stir yeast into warm water and let stand a few minutes until it begins to foam. Add the milk, sugar, salt, lemon extract and egg; mix well. Stir in flour until dough is smooth.

  3. Turn dough (it will be soft and sticky) onto well-floured surface. Sprinkle with flour and knead very lightly and briefly, 3 to 4 turns. Using a floured rolling pin, roll out to an 8-by-12-inch rectangle. Place one of the chilled butter squares over the bottom two-thirds of dough; peel off waxed paper. Fold the top, uncovered third of dough over the middle third, then fold the remaining butter-covered third over the top of the fold. Now, working from the right side of the dough rectangle, again fold one end over the middle third of dough, then fold remaining third over the fold, making a square of nine layers. Flour lightly and wrap in waxed paper. Chill 30 minutes.

  4. Roll out dough again to an 8-by-12-inch rectangle. Place second square of chilled butter over dough as before and repeat the folding to make a square of 18 layers. Flour it lightly, wrap in waxed paper and chill 2 hours.

  5. Meanwhile, make butterscotch filling by mixing all filling ingredients until smooth. Line two baking pans with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

  6. After dough has chilled the second time, cut it in half. Working on a floured surface, roll out each piece to a 20-by-6-inch rectangle. Spread half the butterscotch filling down the length of each rectangle, then spread your choice of nuts, dried fruit or jam over the filling. For each rectangle: Fold one of the long edges to the center of filling. Moisten other long edge and fold over the top to completely cover filling. Pinch along seam to seal well.

  7. Place each folded rectangle, seam side up, on one of the prepared baking sheets. Form each into an oval shape, pressing ends together to close the circle. Flatten kringles with your hand, cover with light cloth or plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place (72 or more degrees) for 1 hour.

  8. Heat oven to 350 degrees before dough completes its rising. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely in the pans on wire racks.

  9. Combine powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons water; beat until smooth. Spread icing over fully cooled kringles. If you’d like, decorate the kringles with chopped nuts or dried fruit at this point. Store airtight.

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View of a kringle cut in half to reveal the filling.