Danish Coffee Cake Valentine

by Daisy

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Family Valentine’s Day brunch fare.

Cranberry-Almond Danish Coffee Cake

1/3 cup milk
2 T. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup butter
1 pkg. dry active yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 eggs
1 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. grated orange peel
3 T. softened butter

1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup sliced almonds

3/4 cup powdered sugar
2-4 tsp. orange juice

Warm the milk, sugar, salt, and butter in a small pan on the stove or in the microwave for about 30 seconds, until the liquid is about 11o degrees and the butter has begun to melt. Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt.
Put the warm water in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast over it. Let it sit for a few moments to soften and stir to combine. Add the milk mixture and stir.
Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the flour and blend well. Add the eggs, extract, and orange peel. Gradually blend in the remaining 1 1/2 cups flour.
Turn out onto a floured board and knead until the dough is smooth and satiny.
Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.

Punch dough down and roll out on a floured surface into a 12 x 18 inch rectangle.
Spread the softened butter on the center of the dough, leaving a 1 inch margin around the dough edges.

Combine the sugars and cinnamon. Sprinkle over the buttered part of the dough. Top with the cranberries and almonds.

From one long side, roll the dough into a long cylinder. Pinch to seal the edge, using a bit of water as needed to help the dough to stick to itself.

Fold the dough log in half, pinching the ends together and place on an oiled baking sheet so one smooth side is up.

Cut through this top surface from the center to one end, all the way through to the baking sheet.

Now, beginning at the spot where the first cut began, make a shallow cut part way to the other end, stopping about an inch from the end. DON’T cut all the way through like you did for the top of the heart, just enough to expose some of the layers and allow it to fan out.

Gently fan out the dough, forming a heart shape.

Lightly cover and put in a warm place to rise, (or don’t cover and place in a home-proofing oven set-up). Allow to rise another 45 minutes or until almost doubled.

Bake in a 350 degree oven 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Let it cool a few minutes before adding the glaze.
In a small bowl, add just enough juice, 1 tsp. at a time, to the powdered sugar, until it is a nice drizzling consistency. Drizzle over the cake and serve warm.

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