- 1 1/2 c. Blue Bonnet, softened
- 1/4 c. flour
- 3/4 c. milk
- 1/3 c. sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 pkgs. dry yeast
- 1/2 c. warm water
- 1 egg
- 3 3/4 c. flour
- 3/4 c. Zwieback crumbs (can’t find it anymore, we did fine it at Meijers, so we used an Almond Biscotti, crumbled)
- 1/2 c. melted butter
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1/2 tsp. almond extract
- 1 (8 oz.) can almond paste
- 2 c. powdered sugar
- 3-4 tbsp. milk
Combine yeast and water in a large bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in milk, egg, and 3 3/4 cups flour; beat until mixture is smooth and leaves side of bowl (dough will be soft). Cover and chill 30 minutes.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Place stockinette cover on rolling pin; flour well. Roll dough to a 12×16 inch rectangle. Fit cold butter mixture over half of dough, leaving a margin at edges; remove waxed paper. Fold dough over butter; pinch edges to seal.
Place fold of dough to the right; roll dough to a 16×8 inch rectangle. (If butter breaks through dough, flour heavily and continue rolling.) Fold rectangle into thirds; pinch edges to seal. Wrap dough in waxed paper; chill 1 hour. Repeat rolling, folding, and sealing process; chill 30 minutes. Repeat rolling, folding and sealing process; wrap dough in aluminum foil and chill 8 hours.
Divide dough into 2 equal portions; chill half of dough. Roll remaining dough into a 22×8 inch rectangle. Cut dough into 3 equal lengthwise strips. Spread 1/3 cup Almond Filling down center of each strip, leaving a 1-inch margin at each end.
Close edges of dough over filling, pinching edges and ends. Take the 3 strips and braid. Join ends by pinching, then join together to form wreath.
Place brown paper on a baking sheet. Carefully transfer braid to baking sheet; form into a wreath with a 6-inch-diameter hole. Join ends of braid; firmly pinch ends to seal.
Cover; let rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free of drafts, until doubled in bulk. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Carefully transfer to wire rack to cool (pastry is very fragile, so move gently).
Repeat process with remaining dough. Spread half of glaze over each wreath. Garnish cake with candied cherries if desired. Yield: 2 coffee cakes.