With their decorative cinnamon swirls, these lovely braids taste as good as they look! And their aroma while baking will make your mouth water. For a holiday touch, you could decorate the drizzle of icing with pecans and candied cherries. —Vick Holloway, Joelton, Tennessee
- 6 to 6-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1-1/2 cups water
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, softened, divided
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 to 3 tablespoons water
- In a large bowl, combine 3 cups flour, yeast, salt and sugar. In a small saucepan, heat water and 1/2 cup butter to 120°-130°. Add to dry ingredients; beat just until moistened. Add eggs; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).
- Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. 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 into six portions. Roll out each portion into a 12-in. x 6-in. rectangle. Melt remaining butter; brush over dough. Combine pecans, brown sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over dough to within 1/2 in. of edges. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seams to seal.
- Place three ropes seam side down on a greased baking sheet and braid; pinch ends to seal and tuck under. Repeat with remaining ropes. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
- Bake at 325° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.
- In a small bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, extract and enough water to achieve desired consistency; drizzle over warm loaves. Serve warm. Yield: 2 loaves (12 slices each).
Originally published as Cinnamon-Pecan Coffee Cakes in Taste of Home December/January 2008, p36
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