I often take this yeasty coffee cake to Christmas open houses or church functions. People "ooh" and "aah" over the fun poinsettia shape, but that doesn't stop them from cutting big pieces.
- 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
- 3/4 cup warm milk (110° to 115°)
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 5 to 5-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup chopped dates
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts
- 1 tablespoon butter, softened
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 to 4 teaspoons water
- Yellow and red colored sugar
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add milk, eggs, sugar, lemon peel, salt and 2-1/2 cups flour; beat until smooth. Stir in dates and nuts.Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
- 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 1-1/2 hours.
- Punch dough down. Turn onto a floured surface; divide into eight equal pieces. Shape one piece into eight smaller balls; mound in the center of a large greased baking sheet. Form remaining pieces into tear drop shapes by tapering one side of each ball. Place around smaller balls with wide end of petals touching the flower center. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
- Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, beat the butter, confectioners' sugar, vanilla and enough water to achieve desired frosting consistency. Spread over warm coffee cake. Sprinkle center with yellow sugar and petals with red sugar. Yield: 16-18 servings.
Originally published as Poinsettia Coffee Cake in Country Woman Christmas Annual 2001, p15
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