Donna Gordon of Vineland, New Jersey based the filling for her yeasty rings on one her grandmother used to make for cookies. "She plumped her raisins in water, but I use orange juice to give them a fruitier flavor," Donna details.
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- 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
- 1-3/4 cups warm water (110° to 115°)
- 1 cup mashed potatoes (without added milk and butter)
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 7 to 7-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 cups golden raisins
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 5 teaspoons milk
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the potatoes, sugar, shortening, eggs, salt and 3 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a lightly 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 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a saucepan, bring the raisins, orange juice and sugar to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Cool slightly. Transfer to a food processor or blender; cover and process until coarsely chopped. Pour into a bowl; stir in nuts.
- Line two baking sheets with foil and grease well; set aside. Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide dough in half. Roll each portion into a 15-in. x 9-in. rectangle. Spread filling over dough to within 1/2 in. of edges. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seams to seal.
- Place each roll seam side down on a prepared baking sheet; pinch ends together to form a ring. With scissors, cut from outside edge to two-thirds of the way toward center of the ring at 1-in. intervals. Separate strips slightly; twist to allow filling to show. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 25 minutes.
- Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to cool on wire racks. Combine glaze ingredients; drizzle over rings. Yield: 2 coffee cakes.
Originally published as Fruit 'N' Nut Rings in Country Woman November/December 2002, p41
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