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Martha Washington’s Fan

Total Time

Prep: 40 min. + rising Bake: 20 min. + cooling


3 loaves (10 slices each)

Easter morning would not be the same at our house without this bread. The impressive loaves also make nice Christmas gifts.—Susan Peck, Springfield, Missouri
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  • 6 to 7 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons nonfat dry milk powder
  • 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1-1/4 cups warm water (120° to 130°)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted, divided
  • 1-1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • ICING:
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons milk


  1. In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, sugar, dry milk, yeast and salt. Add butter and water; beat on low for 2 minutes. Add eggs; beat on high for 2 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
  2. 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.
  3. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into thirds. Roll one portion into a 20x6-in. rectangle, with a short side facing you. Brush top two-thirds of dough with 1 tablespoon melted butter. In a bowl, combine the coconut, pecans and brown sugar; blend in 3 tablespoons butter. Sprinkle a third of the mixture over buttered portion of dough. Starting at the plain short side, fold dough over half of filling; fold over again. Pinch edges and end to seal.
  4. Place on a greased baking sheet with folded edge facing away from you. With scissors, cut into eight strips to within 1 in. from folded edge. Separate strips slightly; twist to allow filling to show. Pinch ends into points. Repeat with remaining dough and filling to make two more fans. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
  5. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Combine icing ingredients; drizzle over fans.

Nutrition Facts

1 slice: 250 calories, 12g fat (6g saturated fat), 39mg cholesterol, 186mg sodium, 33g carbohydrate (13g sugars, 1g fiber), 4g protein.

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