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The Inn at 410

Flagstaff, Arizona

Heritage Recipe

Grandma's Coffee Cake

When my family, cousins, aunts and uncles would gather at my grandmother's house, Grandma would rise early to make breakfast at the wood-burning stove. All the cousins would fight over the last piece, but since I was the second youngest, I rarely won. Finally, when I was about 10 years old, my grandmother taught me how to make this bread. That was the start of my life-long love of baking. ... former innkeeper Sally Krueger

1 package yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1 cup water
1/2 cup canola oil
1 large egg, beaten to blend
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped, pitted dates
4 tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons margarine, softened
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 Tablespoon margarine
1 Tablespoon skim milk
1 drop vanilla extract
powdered sugar

Sprinkle yeast and the 1/2 teaspoon sugar into a small bowl. Pour in lukewarm water and let sit until mixture starts to bubble, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the dry milk, 1 cup water, canola oil, beaten egg, 1/2 cup sugar and salt. Add the yeast mixture and blend well. Using a large wooden spoon, stir in the flour 1 cup at a time, until dough is kneadable, after about 4 cups. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and continue incorporating more flour and kneading until dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.

Using a paper towel, wipe another large bowl with a small amount of canola oil, set the dough in the bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and set the bowl in a warm place to rise. Let rise until double in size, about 60 minutes. Punch down the dough, knead a few times, return the dough to the bowl, cover with the towel and let rise again until double in size, about 60 minutes.

During this second rise, prepare the date filling: In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine dates, 2 of the 4 tablespoons sugar and enough water to cover. Bring water to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture makes a paste, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. Spray two 9-inch round pie plates with nonstick cooking spray and set near your kneading station.

After the second rise, divide the dough into 2 equal pieces. Knead each piece a few times and let rest 5 minutes.

With the palm of your hand, flatten each piece of dough into an 8- to 10-inch round. Spread each round with 1 tablespoon softened margarine, then sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Spread each round with 1/2 of the date mixture. Now roll up each round, twist the ends in opposite directions and set in the prepared pie plates, curving the twisted loaf around the pie plate to form a semi-circle- the ends should nearly touch. With a serrated knife, slash the tip of each loaf in several places. Cover with a kitchen towel and set in a warm place to rise for about 30 minutes. The loaves will continue to rise once you place them in the oven to bake, so end this rise before the loaves are doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. When loaves have risen to the desired size, remove the towel, place the loaves in the oven and bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Remove from pans and set on a wire rack to cool.

While coffee cake is cooling, prepare frosting. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon margarine. Add milk, vanilla and enough powdered sugar to make a thin paste. Drizzle this frosting over the cooled coffee cake. Slice into wedge shaped pieces to serve.

Yield: Two 9-inch round loaves.

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