Sour Cream Streusel Coffee Cake

img_5699This recipe comes from my BFF and guardian angel Jill.  We make it every year when I visit her for YackFest and this year was no exception except for the fact that she finally gave me the recipe.  Actually, I stole it while she was out of the room but I doubt she would care how I got my hands on it.  It is totally delicious and such a great snack cake to have on hand for breakfast, with coffee or tea at anytime of day.  Jill usually makes this cake in a bundt pan but being that she is the queen of bundt cakes and her pantry does house the royal collection of bundt pans, I would expect nothing less.  I, as a mere princess of the realm do not have a bundt pan large enough to take all the batter so I followed what the recipe said and made it in a 10 cup angel food pan.

img_5701It is a lovely vanilla batter which is interspersed with layers of brown sugar streusel and then topped with a layer of brown sugar, nut and butter streusel.  All totally delicious.  It has a nice moist but firm crumb which stands up to being held under a cake dome at room temperature for several days, although it hardly ever stays around that long.  It is also good toasted and spread with butter which is how I like it for breakfast after it is a few days old.  No matter how you eat it, it is fabulous.  Thanks Jill.

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STREUSEL

3/4 cup unbleached All purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 cup pecans chopped

CAKE

4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut into 1-Inch cubes

FOR THE STREUSEL:

Place the flour, granulated sugar, 1/4 cup of the dark brown sugar, and the cinnamnon in a food processor and process to combine.  Transfer 1 1/4 cups of this mixture to a small bowl and stir in the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar, set aside (this will be the streusel for the inside of the cake). Add the butter and pecans to the remaining dry ingredients in the food processor bowl. Process the mixture until the nuts and butter have been broken down into small pebbly pieces, about ten second pulses. Set aside.

For the cake:

Adjust an oven rack in the lowest part of the oven and preheat to 340 degrees.  Grease a 1- cup tube pan (10-inch diameter)  Combine the eggs, 1 cup of the sour cream and the vanilla in a medium bowl and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt at low speed for about 30 seconds.  Add the butter and remaining 1/2 cup of sour cream and mix at low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened.  Increase the speed to medium and beat for 30 seconds.  Scrape the sides of the bowl. Decrease speed to medium-low and slowing incorporate the egg mixture in 3 additions, beating for 20 seconds after each addition.

Increase mixer speed to medium-high and beat for 1 minute (the batter should increase in volume and become aerated and pale in color).

Add 2 cups of the batter to the prepared pan. With an offset metal spatula or rubber spatula, smooth the surface of the batter. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup of the streusel filling (without butter or nuts). Drop 2 cups of the batter over the streusel, spread evenly, and then add the remaining streusel filling. Top with the remaining batter and then the streusel topping (with the butter and nuts).

Bake until the cake feels firm to the touch and a toothpick or thin skewer inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 to 60 minutes.  Cool in the pan on a rack for about 10 minutes and then unmold onto a rack and cool completely.

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Chocolate Sweetheart Madeleines

img_5692“No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me.”

img_5696This is what Marcel Proust said about madeleines in his novel Swann’s Way. Personally, I have never bought into the myth that madeleines are classics because of Prousts novel.  I mean, let’s face it, he wrote seven ponderous volumes all supposedly based on his memory of eating a madeleine and yet all he has to say about it is ““… one of those squat, plump little cakes called ‘petites madeleines,’ which look as though they had been moulded in the fluted valve of a scallop shell.””  Personally, I have never found the novel endearing enough to make me want to read more than the first volume and it took me almost two years to get through that.  I would rather believe that these have become beloved classics because they are delicious and not for anything Proust had to say (or didn’t have to say) about them.

img_5690I have made many different kinds of madeleines over the years and I generally like all of them.  I have to say that after all this time the classic lemon flavored Commercy madeleine is still my reigning favorite.  I just never see why it needs to be changed.  My only complaint about madeleines is that they go stale so quickly.  While I am not adverse to eating dozens of them in one sitting, I wish there was a way to keep them as fresh and tasty as when they are first baked.

img_5691I thought these chocolate madeleines were good but they were not my favorite by any means.  They had a nice round chocolate flavor but still just seemed to be nothing more than a plain chocolate cake.  I am sure that all of you who know me already know that I didn’t find the idea of painting these things with an artist brush at all appealing and you would be right.  If I was to make these again I would either just dunk them in the chocolate glaze or skip it all together and just dust them with cocoa.  Once a curmudgeon, always a curmudgeon.  Enjoy!

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Cherry Cheesecake Chocolate Bundt Cake

img_5680This recipe showed up on my Facebook page last night and as soon as I read it I knew I had to make it.  It seemed rather a nice festive recipe for the holidays and a bundt cake is certainly quick to make and easy to take along to a party or as a hostess gift.

img_5687This one took about 25 minutes to get the two batters made and layered into the pan and into the oven so certainly a doable recipe for a weeknight to have ready for the weekend.  I found it very moist and certainly festive with the cherry filling and cheesecake tunnel all surrounded by the chocolate cake with just a spike of espresso.  Certainly worth a try but I know I will be making this one often.

Cherry Cheesecake Chocolate Bundt Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 oz unsalted butter
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed
  • 1 heaping Tbsp. espresso powder
  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1-½ Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 16 jumbo maraschino cherries, drained
  • ¾ cup cherry pie filling

Cheesecake Filling

  • 2 – 8 oz. packages cream cheese
  • ½ cup + 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg

Glaze

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1-2 Tbsp. milk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350℉ / 175℃. Spray a 10-12 cup Bundt pan generously with baking spray with flour. Set aside.

Cake

  1. In a large bowl combine the flour, granulated sugar, salt and baking soda. Whisk until fully blended.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the water and 6 oz. butter. Place over medium heat and cook until the butter has melted. Add cocoa and espresso powders and whisk until no lumps remain. Add the chocolate chips and continue stirring until completely melted and the sauce is smooth. Remove from heat.
  3. Add chocolate sauce to the dry ingredients, then whisk until just combined. Blend in sour cream. Add eggs and vanilla, then mix until fully combined, making sure not to over-mix the batter.

Cheesecake Filling

  1. In a medium bowl with a hand mixer, beat cream cheese, granulated sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add flour and egg and beat until smooth.

Assembly

  1. Evenly, pour 1-½ Tbsp. melted butter into the bottom of the prepared Bundt pan. Evenly, sprinkle 2 Tbsp. brown sugar on top of the melted butter. Place 2 maraschino cherries each into the larger grooves of the Bundt pan.

Pour 3/4 of the prepared cake batter on top of the cherries. With a large spoon, evenly spoon the cheesecake filling into the center of the batter, not allowing it to touch the sides of the pan. Spoon cherry pie filling on top of the cheesecake filling, again not allowing it to touch the sides of the pan. Pour remaining cake batter over the filling.

  1. Bake 50 – 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes, then flip cake out of pan and cool completely.

Glaze

  1. Once cake has cooled, prepare the glaze. In a large bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar and milk, whisk until smooth. Drizzle cake with glaze. Allow glaze to set and serve.

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Prune Preserves and Caramel Cream Cake Roll

 

img_5671For this weeks Alpha Bakers recipe I once again had feelings of deja vu.  I swear I have made this recipe before.  It even takes very familiar.  I guess it could have been another recipe that I beta tested.

img_5673At any rate this is a very easy recipe and quite tasty.  I know that the prune preserves sounds a bit odd.  At least for those people who don’t like prunes.  I happen to love them so I made a double recipe of the prune preserves so I could use it on my morning toast or bagel.  It is amazing how just that little hint of lemon zest totally transforms the recipe.

img_5672The cake sponge is also very nice.  It is light and quick to make and is very moist and easy to roll.  I am not sure if I prefer it over my usual hot milk sponge just yet but I will play around with both and see which one wins.

img_5674Making caramel is pretty much old hat these days as I seem to have made a ton of it in the past few months.  I found that adding it to the whipped cream was rather nice.  Not too strong a taste, just a hint of caramel in the lightly whipped cream.

All in all a really nice dessert.

 

Roses Alpha Bakers – Monkey Dunkie Bread

img_5659I haven’t been baking with the Alpha Bakers for quite some time but this past week, Marie contacted me and asked if I would like to join in for the last few recipes of the bake though.  I thought that was very sweet of her and as I was already in the kitchen with other baking projects I thought it would be fun to work this one into the mix.

img_5658I may be hallucinating but I had a huge sense of deja vu while I was making this recipe.  I think this was one of the recipes I beta tested with the Beta Bakers.   I have made monkey bread before so that may be the reason but I remember making this dough and weighing out and rolling the balls of dough.  I don’t have any recollection of the dunking sauce so I may just be way off the mark on this.

img_5666At any rate I found this great fun although somewhat messy.  I always seem to forget just how sticky brioche dough is but it firmed up nicely after its overnight chilling and wasn’t really any problem to deal with while filling and rolling the balls.  Maybe I am just getting used to it and as I have been playing with laminated doughs so much lately, I guess I am just getting faster at dealing with butter laden dough.

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As I usually bring my weekend baking projects to work or share them with the neighbors.  This one will be no exception.  I am sure that everyone is going to be wanting seconds.

I know it looks a bit overbaked but it truly wasn’t.  It wasn’t quite done after 30 minutes so I gave it an extra 5 minutes which was just enough time to make the dunking sauce get a bit brown but the temperature was correct and it doesn’t smell or taste the slightest bit burned.  Delish.

Scarlet Empress

img_5649I was feeling in a bit of a holiday mood again this week and thought that I would make one of my favorite Christmas desserts, Scarlet Empress.  I think I enjoy it so much just because of its regal name.  It always sounds so impressive when you tell people you have made Scarlet Empress for dessert.  It also has a rather regal and grand appearance.  At least I think so.

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I have made countless variations of this dessert.  It is really nothing more than a jelly roll filled with whatever flavor filling you like, sliced and lined into a dome mold and then filled with whatever mousse or bavarian cream you happen to like.

Since I was in a holiday mood I thought that cranberries would be an interesting filling for the jelly roll.  For the cranberry filling I simply boiled half a bag of frozen cranberries with 1/4 cup caster sugar until the berries popped.  Then I stirred in 1/4 cup raspberry preserves until well combined, pushed it all through a sieve and allowed it to cool.

This time I filled the dome with kirsch scented white chocolate mousse.  It is incredibly simple.  To 9 ounces of the best white chocolate you can find add 5 Tablespoons of kirsch and 3 Tablespoons of water.  Microwave for 2 minutes then whisk the mixture until it is smooth and all the chocolate has melted.  Allow it to cool to about 85 degrees.  In the meantime, lightly whip 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream (don’t whip it too stiffly).  When the chocolate has cooled fold it into the whipped cream and fill your lined mold.  Then wrap the whole thing in plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours before unmolding.

img_5639I make alot of jelly rolls and swiss rolls and I have many recipes for jelly roll sponge but this hot milk sponge is my favorite go to recipe.  It stays moist and pliable so there is no need to roll it after it comes out of the oven so it’s great when your pressed for time.  It that worries you by all means go ahead and roll the cake warm and allow it to cool rolled up.  It works either way.  I have made this so many times over the years that I have no recollection of where I got the recipe but here it is.

Hot Milk Sponge:

1/4 cup milk
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
3 egg yolks

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line a 11×17 jelly roll sheet pan with parchment, allowing it to extend over the edge a few inches on each side.

Heat the milk and butter just until the butter has melted, reduce heat to low just keep warm.

Sift the flour and baking powder twice and set aside. In a heatproof bowl combine the sugar, eggs and egg yolks.  Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk the mixture just until it is lukewarm to the touch.  Place the bowl on a stand mixer with a whisk attachment and whip until the mixture is cool and has tripled in volume.

Sift one third of the flour mixture over the eggs and fold in gently, sift another third of the flour in and fold in followed by the remaining flour.  Fold gently.  Pour the milk and butter into the batter and fold gently until no liquid remains visible.  Spread the batter into the prepared pan, level and bake for about 10 minutes until golden brown and the cake springs back gently when touched.

Cool the cake in the pan on a rack, then run a thin knife around the edge to release the sides, invert the cake and remove the parchment, then invert the cake again so the brown side is on top.  Spread the jam evenly over the cake, roll so that you have a 17 inch thin jelly roll.  Wrap in plastic and freeze.

I like to line my mold with plastic wrap so that is is easier to unmold.  I use an 8 inch wide by 3 1/2 inch deep stainless steel mixing bowl for this.

Slice the jelly roll into 1/4 slices and starting in the center of the mold line the entire mold with slices of jelly roll.  Fill with the mousse.  Take enough slices to cover the bottom but don’t place them yet.  Dice the remaining jelly roll and spread the dice evenly over the mousse.  Then place the remaining slices over this to form the bottom.  Place a cardboard cake circle or plate over this and press to compact the mold.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours.

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Debbie’s Orgasmic Pumpkin Roll

img_5625Even though we are in the midst of yet another heat way I was in the mood for some fall baking.  That to me always means pear tarts, apple pies and pumpkin.  I didn’t really feel like pears or apple pie.  What I was really in the mood for was something pumpkin.  I thought that pumpkin pie was just a bit too heavy for this hot weather and besides, in a few weeks I will be making it for Thanksgiving anyway.  I considered a pumpkin pound cake or a pumpkin steamed pudding and then it hit me.  My sisters fantastic pumpkin roll.  Her pumpkin roll is out of this world.  I can never decide if the best part is the wonderful pumpkin sponge or the incredible cream cheese and nut filling but no matter which it is this roll is superb.  I know that pumpkin is usually associated with the Thanksgiving holiday but this roll for me is always associated with Christmas.  I think that it is because I usually never made it home for Thanksgiving but when I would show up at Christmas, my sister always had several of these pumpkin rolls on hand for the celebrations.  I have always loved it and when she gave me the recipe I have made it every year since then.

img_5627It is a fairly easy recipe.  For me the hardest thing is waiting around for everything to get to room temperature.  If your like me and like to start baking at 5:00 in the morning, that waiting around can seem like an eternity.  At any rate, I am sure my sister won’t mind if I share her recipe.  This recipe will make one pumpkin roll but I always double it and make two as it never stays around long.

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For the sponge:

3 eggs
1 tsp lemon juice
2/3 cup pumpkin
3/4 cup flour
1 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

For the filling”

1 cup confectioners sugar
4 Tbl butter, softened
1/2 tsp vanilla
6 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup chopped nuts (I use walnuts)

Beat the eggs on high speed for 5 minutes.  Beat in the lemon juice.  Fold in the pumpkin.  Sift together the dry ingredients and stir in to the egg mixture.  Spread the batter in a well greased & floured 15x10x1 in cookie sheet. ( I usually just spray the sheet with non-stick cooking spray and then line it with parchment).

Bake the sponge for 15 minutes at 235 degrees, or until lightly browned.  Turn it out onto a towel well dusted with confectioners sugar.  Dust the top of the sponge with more confectioners sugar and then roll up in the towel and allow to cool completely.

Make the filling:  Beat the cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy.  Beat in the confectioners sugar and vanilla until incorporated.  Stir in the nuts.

When the sponge is cool, unroll and spread with the filling.  Reroll the sponge and dust with confectioners sugar.

img_5631You can make these way ahead and wrap them in plastic wrap and foil and freeze them until needed.

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Marjolaine

img_5634 This was one of the technical challenges on The Great British Baking Show and when I saw it I was intrigued.  The one thing that amazed me was that none of the bakers had ever seemed to have heard of it.  It is one of the most classic and iconic of all the French cakes so it surprised me when no one knew what it was.

fernand

This challenge was set by the lovable Mary Berry.  I have made numerous versions of the marjolaine over the years and I was pleased to see that Marys recipe is very close to the original.  The marjolaine was created by the great culinary master Fernand Point at his iconic restaurant La Pyramide in Viennes, France.  It is considered to be his masterpiece and is still on the menu at La Pyramide to this day.

lapyramideMarys recipe for the Marjolaine can be found here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/marjolaine_71611

The cake consists of four light and crisp nut dacquoise layers sandwiched with nut flavored buttercream and chocolate ganache.  The whole cake is then frosted with more buttercream, covered in sliced almonds and decorated with more chocolate ganache and hazelnuts and pistachios.

img_5637It does take a bit of time as the dacquoise layers need a long slow bake and then must stay in the turned off oven until cool so plan ahead if your going to make this cake.  You will also need to make buttercream and ganache and a nut praline so be advised if you are leary of sugarwork.  All in all it is a wonderful cake and well worth trying at least once.

A few observations about the recipe.

Mary calls for you to bake the dacquoise in a single layer on two baking sheets and then when baked and cooled, cut them into the four layers.  Being that the dacquoise is so fragile I prefer to mark out the size on need on the bottom of the parchment paper and then pipe over the lines.  That way all I have to do is trim the edges a bit to make sure the layers are all even.  I just feel that I have less chance of breaking the layers this way.

When making the buttercream, Mary indicates to whip the egg and sugar syrup mixture for 5 – 10 minutes until it is cool before adding the butter.  This timing is relative.  My mixer has stainless steel bowls and I sometimes have to beat these types of mixtures for up to 30 minutes before the bowl cools down and the mixture is cool enough to add the butter.  At any rate, just make sure your mixture is cool before adding the butter.  If you don’t. the butter will melt, the mixture will become greasy and your buttercream is essentially ruined as it will never come together and thicken.

 

Seven Sisters Cake

img_5619Back in the 1970s when I worked in the housewares department of a major department store we stocked Ebelskiver pans.  I thought I was pretty cookware savvy even back then but in all honesty I had never seen these pans nor had any idea what the heck an ebelskiver even was.  There were 3 men and 5 women in the department and between all of us, no one knew what these pans were for.  In the 3 years that I worked in that department I don’t think we ever sold a single one of these pan.

Years later when I moved to California and was living in Ventura county we used to go to Solvang (which is a Danish town) all the time to browse the shops and of course eat all the wonderful danish pastry.  It wasn’t until those trips that I finally found out that an ebleskiver is a small round pancake sometimes hollow and sometimes filled with fruit or cream fillings.  I even learned how to make them.  Recently a work colleague and I were talking and the subject came around to Solvang.  We each told our stories of the wonderful food we had there and he related the story of how he first had Seven Sisters cake while on a visit there.  I was intrigued and decided to give it a try.  It is certainly worth making as it is totally delicious and not very hard to make.

It is a slightly laminated dough with the exception that there is no rolling and chilling and rerolling.  The butter is simply folded into the dough and then rolled out and the cake assembled.  It has an almond butterscotch and a vanilla pastry cream filling.  This recipe will make two 8 inch cakes

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Butterscotch filling:
1 cup almond paste
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
pinch salt
pinch cinnamon
1/2 egg white

Custard filling:
1 cup prepared  vanilla custard (any recipe you prefer)

Ring dough:
3/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 package cake yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup lukewarm milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract or the zest of 1 small lemon
1 egg
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

Topping:
2 Tablespoon milk
2 Tablespoon sugar

To prepare butterscotch filling:
Mix almond paste, brown sugar, butter, salt, cinnamon and egg white until smooth. Set aside. Prepare custard; set aside.

To prepare the dough:
Divide butter in half and spread each half on an 8-by-8-inch square of wax paper. Chill.

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add lukewarm milk, sugar, salt, lemon extract (or zest) and egg;.  Mix well. Add flour and mix until smooth.  Divide dough in half.

Roll half of dough on well-floured board to an 8-by-12-inch rectangle. Place 1 square of chilled butter on two-thirds of dough. Fold uncovered third of dough over the middle third, then fold the remaining third over the top. Again, fold one end over middle third and fold remaining third over top, making a square of nine layers. Wrap in wax paper and refrigerate 30 minutes.   Repeat with the other half of the dough.

Roll the dough flat to pie-shell thickness.  Line bottom and sides of an 8-inch greased cake pan with a 10-inch square cut out of pastry dough. Put 1/2 cup of Butterscotch Filling, topped with 1/2 cup of custard, into dough-lined cake pan and spread evenly.

on the rest of rolled-out dough,Gather the remaining dough and re-roll into  a square, about 8 by 8 inches. Spread a thin layer of Butterscotch Filling on the square of dough.  Roll up like a cinnamon roll. Cut into 7 slices, about 1/2-inch thick (Hence the seven sisters), and arrange the slices on top of the filled cake pan.

Repeat assembly with second half of butter, dough and fillings, to make second cake.

Let the cakes rise for about  45 minutes. Brush tops with milk, sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 350°F. until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Cool and remove from pan.  If desired the cakes can be frosted with a confectioners sugar glaze.

The cakes will keep for several days stored in plastic  bags in the refrigerator.

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Swedish Tea Ring

img_5607I have been thinking about my mom alot this past week and as usual most of my fondest memories of her are of spending time in the kitchen with her.  It seemed that almost everything we did in my family involved food and being in the kitchen.  A cherished food memory of my mother was her Swedish Tea Ring.  It was a special treat and although it was one of her signature desserts she only made it a few times a year so it was indeed very special to us.

img_5606As always it seemed like it took ages for it to be ready and I would sit at the kitchen table reading my moms cookbooks while she made the dough and set it aside to proof and I would constantly ask her when it would be ready.  When the dough finally had risen she would roll it out and spread the date-nut filling on it and roll and shape the ring.  Then began the long wait for the second proof and again I would pester her about when it would be ready.  Finally it went into the oven and the kitchen would fill with the wonderful aroma of baking dough and dates and sugar.  Finally it came out of the oven and we were warned not to touch it until it was cool, which always seemed to take an eternity.  Them my mom would make the confectioners sugar glaze and drizzle it all over the top, sprinkle it with chopped nuts and decorate it with cherries.  Finally, after what seemed like eons we were able to have a slice.  It never failed to thrill us.  In homage to my mom I decided to make her tea ring.

img_5598The tea ring is really nothing more than a yeasted sweet roll dough filled with the filling of your choice and shaped into the ring.  This is my mom recipe.  She always used a date-nut filling which is what I have chosen to use her but I have included a few other options.

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img_5600SWEET ROLL DOUGH

1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (105 to 1150)
1/4 cup lukewarm milk (scalded then cooled) 1,4 cup sugar
1/4 cup shortening, or margarine or butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl. Stir in milk, sugar, shortening, salt, egg and 2 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. Mix in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl; turn greased side up. Cover; let rise in warm place until double, about 11/2 hours. (Dough is ready if an indentation remains when touched.)

Punch down dough. Shape, let rise and bake as directed.

*If using self-rising flour, omit salt.
Do-ahead Tip: After kneading, dough can be covered and refrigerated in greased bowl no longer than 4 days.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Roll 1/2 Sweet Roll Dough into rectangle, 15×9 inches, on lightly floured surface. Spread with desired filling. Roll up tightly, beginning at 15-inch side. Pinch edge of dough into roll to seal well. Stretch roll to make even. With sealed edge down, shape into ring on lightly greased cookie sheet. Pinch ends together. With scissors, make cuts 2/3 of the way through ring at 1-inch intervals. Turn each section on its side. Let rise until double, about 40 minutes.

Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. (If tea ring browns too quickly, cover loosely with aluminum foil.) Spread ring with Glaze and decorate as desired.

DATE FILLING

1 cup finely chopped dates
1/4 cup Sugar
1/3  cup water
1/3 cup coarsely chopped nuts

Cook dates, sugar and water over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Stir in nuts; cool.
GLAZE

Mix 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla until glaze is smooth and of desired consistency.

Optional Fillings
APRICOT-CHERRY FILLING

Mix 1/2 cup finely cut-up dried apricots and 1/2 cup finely chopped maraschino cherries, drained on paper towels.

CINNAMON-RAISIN FILLING

2 tablespoons margarine or butter, softened 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon and 1/2 cup raisins.
Spread butter over rectangle; sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon and raisins.

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