I made these wonderful coffee cakes for Christmas. I made a test cake for the Cowboss, TR, QT, and myself, and thought it was delicious! I had a grand plan to make some for the families that we work with for Christmas, so I spent 2 days baking, and had 6 made up to deliver. I asked the Cowboss to please take them over when he ran to the ranch headquarters. He insisted that the boys and I go too, because even though I had them all wrapped up and labeled with cards who each was for, he feared he would find a way to foul it up. So I bundled up both the boys and loaded them and the cakes into the pickup. In my infinite wisdom, I decided that the safest place for the cakes to ride would be under QT's feet. Being the youngest, he gets carried most places, so I wouldn't have to worry about dripping muddy snow on the cakes, and having short legs, he wouldn't be able to mash them.
We made it to and through town, and just before the free way motion sickness prevailed. Long story short, cakes were not salvageable. On the upside, our dogs really enjoyed them. =/
We did really enjoy the one we ate, and I would like to share the recipe with you:
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup butter
1-pkg active yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water
About 2 cups all purpose flour
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp melted butter
1/2 can almond paste
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup slivered almonds (optional)
Enough cream to make it all spreadable
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp water
1 Put milk into a small saucepan and heat on medium heat until steamy (but not boiling). Remove from heat. Stir in the butter and sugar until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved. Pour into a bread machine. Add in yeast mixture and egg.
2 Mix in salt and Cinnamon. Slowly add in 2 cups of the flour. After the first two cups of flour gradually add more flour until a soft dough starts to form a ball and pull away from the sides of the bowl. I slowly add flour and when it doesn't stick to my finger in the bread machine, I leave it alone!
3 Let bread rise in bread machine.
4 Press the dough down to deflate it a bit. Spread it into a 8-inch by 16-inch rectangle on a lightly floured, clean, flat surface. Brush the dough with melted butter, leaving at least a half inch border on the edges so the dough will stick together when rolled. Mix together the sugar, cinnamon, almond paste, and cream. Spread the dough with the mixture and sprinkle with slivered almonds.
6 Using scissors, cut most of the way through the dough, cutting on a slant. Work your way around the dough circle. After each cut, pull out the dough segment either to the right or to the left, alternating as you go around the circle. The dough circle will look like a wreath when you are done.
7 Cover lightly with plastic wrap and set in a warm area for a second rise. Let rise for about 40 minutes to an hour; the dough should again puff up in size.
8 Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. After the first 15 minutes of baking, if the top is getting well browned, tent with some aluminum foil.
9 Remove from oven and let cool completely. Whisk together powdered sugar and water to create a final glaze (optional). Add more water if the glaze is too thick to drizzle, add more powdered sugar if the glaze is too runny. Drizzle the glaze in a back and forth motion over the pastry.
Enjoy! I modified this recipe from the Simply Recipes Blog to use in my bread machine, and to feed a smaller family. The original recipe makes 2 wreathes, or if you would prefer braids. I also filled a couple with raspberry filling, and a couple with poppy seed filling. You can fill it with anything you would like!
Great, now that I am hungry, I'm going to go and raid the fridge!