Valentine Coffee Cake

A true gift from the heart -- your Valentine is sure to love this dessert.

from Taste of Home

Your loved ones will enjoy this heart-shaped coffee cake from Summerhill, Pennsylvania, field editor Dolores Skrout.

Preparation time: 30 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes

You Will Need 4-1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour, divided 1/2 cup sugar 1-1/2 teaspoons salt 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast 1/2 cup milk 1/2 cup water 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, divided 2 eggs

Filling 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar 1/2 cup chopped blanched almonds, toasted 1/3 cup chopped maraschino cherries 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons almond extract

Glaze 1-1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened 2 to 3 tablespoons milk 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

What to Do 1. In a mixing bowl, combine 1-1/2 cups flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Heat milk, water and 4 tablespoons butter to 120°-130°. Gradually add to dry ingredients; beat on medium for 2 minutes. Add eggs and 1/2 cup flour; beat on high for 2 minutes. By hand, add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured board; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.

2. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down. Divide in half. Roll each half into a 26-in. x 8-in. rectangle. Melt remaining butter; brush over dough.

3. Combine filling ingredients; sprinkle over butter. Roll up jelly-roll style from long end; pinch to seal. Place seam side down on greased nonstick baking sheets or baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Shape each roll into heart; seal ends. Cut from outer edge two-thirds through cake every 1 in. and turn each section out. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

4. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Remove immediately from baking sheets to wire racks. Cool completely; remove parchment paper if used. For glaze, cream sugar and butter. Stir in milk and vanilla until smooth. Drizzle over hearts.

Yield: 2 coffee cakes.

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