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Braided Date Coffee Cake

"At Christmas, I decorate these braids with candied cherries and pecans," relates Muriel Lerdal, Humboldt, Iowa.
  • Total Time
    Prep: 45 min. + rising Bake: 15 min.
  • Makes
    3 loaves

Ingredients

  • 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm milk (110° to 115°)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 to 4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • FILLING:
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • 2/3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves
  • ICING:
  • 1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  • In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the sugar, milk, oil, salt, eggs and 2 cups flour; beat on low speed 3 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
  • Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl; turn once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile, combine the dates, water, pecans, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened, 7-8 minutes. Stir in preserves; let cool.
  • Punch dough down. Turn on a lightly floured surface; divide into thirds. Roll each portion into a 15x6-in. rectangle. Place on greased baking sheets. Spread a third of filling down the center third of each rectangle.
  • On each long side, cut 1-1/2-in.-wide strips 1-3/4 in. into center. Starting at one end, fold alternating strips at an angle across filling; seal ends. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
  • Bake at 375° for 15-20 minutes or until browned. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Combine icing ingredients; drizzle over braids.
Nutrition Facts
1 slice: 181 calories, 5g fat (1g saturated fat), 18mg cholesterol, 139mg sodium, 32g carbohydrate (18g sugars, 1g fiber), 3g protein.
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