Candy "Crozier" Coffee Cake

A special treat for St. Nicholas Day—the rich sour cream dough makes a delicious coffee cake and rises just one time.
Braided bread crozier
Candy Crozier Coffee Cake
made by Marilee Nieuwsma
2 cups dairy sour cream
2 pkgs active dry yeast
½ cup warm water (105 to 115º)
½ cup margarine, softened
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 eggs
about 6 cups flour

Heat sour cream over low heat just until lukewarm. In large mixing bowl dissolve yeast in water. Add warm sour cream, margarine, sugar, salt, eggs and 2 cups of flour; beat until smooth. Stir in remaining flour until dough cleans side of bowl. Knead dough on well-floured board until smooth, about 10 min. Place in greased bowl, turning once to bring greased side up. Cover; let rise in warm place (85º) about 1 hour or until dough has doubled. Punch down.

Heat oven to 375º. Divide dough into 3 parts. Roll each third into a rectangle 15x6-inches. Place on greased baking sheet. Use scissors to make cuts 2-inches deep at ½-inch intervals along the 15-inch outer edges. Combine:

1½ cups finely chopped dried apricots
1½ cups finely chopped drained maraschino cherries

Spread 1/3 of fruit mixture in a stripe down center of each rectangle. Starting at one end crisscross strips over filling.

Stretch cane to 1½ times its length (22"). Curve dough to form cane. Bake 15 to 20 min. or until golden brown. While warm, brush with margarine and drizzle with Thin Confectioners' Sugar Icing:
Blend 2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar with about 2 tablespoons water. If glaze is too stiff, add a few drops of water. Decorate with halves of cherries, if desired. Makes 3 braided breads.

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Alternate Fillings

Raspberry Filling with Almond Glaze

12-ounce package frozen raspberries
1 tablespoon sugar, if raspberries aren't sweetened
1/8 teaspoon cardamom
¼ teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons cornstarch

Place all filling ingredients in saucepan. Heat until raspberries have thawed and stir until slightly thickened. Remove from heat; it will thicken a little more when cooled.

Almond Glaze
3 cups confectioners' sugar
3 teaspoons almond extract
3 tablespoons water

Whisk together 1/3 of the glaze ingredients at a time. Pour into a ziploc bag; snip off a corner and squeeze to drizzle glaze onto warm cake, following the pattern of the weave.

Cherry Almond Filling and Glaze

1 cup (8 ounces) almond paste
1 egg white
1 cup chopped, blanched almonds, toasted
1½ cups candied cherries, chopped
Beat almond paste with egg white; stir in almonds. Divide and spread on each rectangle. Sprinkle each bread with ½ cups chopped cherries.

Glaze: 1 cup confectioners' sugar, 4-5 teaspoons milk, and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract or ¼ teaspoon almond extract

Cherry Cream Cheese Filling

3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
¾ cup sugar
3 egg yolks
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
1½ (12 ounce) jar cherry jam
Beat cream cheese, sugar, egg yolk and vanilla until blended. When cool, sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. Stir jam, then spoon over top of strips, creating candy cane stripes. Refrigerate leftovers.

Fruit Nut Filling

2 cups chopped mixed candied and/or dried fruits
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2½ teaspoons cinnamon
1 egg white

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Alternate Dough Recipes

Crozier-shaped coffee cake

Basic Sweet Dough

½ cup sugar
2 pkgs Rapid Rise yeast
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup water
½ cup butter
4 eggs
5½ cups flour

Mix 1½ cups flour, sugar, yeast and salt in large bowl. Heat water and butter until very warm (125-130º). Stir into flour mixture. Stir in eggs and enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 4-6 minutes. Cover; let rest 10 minutes. Mix filling ingredients.

Shape as above, rolling rectangle 15x7-inches and making cuts 1-inch apart. Stretch finished piece to 18-inches before curving the top. Cover and let rise in warm place until double, about 30-40 minutes. Bake 350º 25-30 minutes. Cool on racks, drizzle with glaze and decorate with candied cherries, if desired. Makes three coffee cakes.

Buttermilk Dough

2 pkgs yeast (4½ teaspoons)
½ cup warm water (105-115º)
1¼ cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
5½-6 cups flour
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt

In large bowl dissolve yeast in warm water. Add buttermilk, sugar, butter, eggs, baking powder, salt and 2½ cups of flour. Beat with electric mixer on low for 10 seconds, scraping sides of bowl. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a dough easy to handle (dough should be soft and slightly sticky).

Turn dough onto parchment paper, sprinkled with flour. Knead about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic (or use dough hood with mixer). Shape as above, rolling rectangle 15x9 inches. Turn parchment paper over cookie sheet and peel off paper. Cut strips at ½-inch intervals, almost to the filling. Cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour (it is ready when an indentation remains when touched). Bake 375º 13-17 minutes until lightly browned and slightly firm to the touch. Drizzle with glaze, let set before adding bow.

Adapted from Fleishman's Yeast, Betty Crocker, Recipe Girl, All Recipes and

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