Serve this spectacular tea ring at your next brunch, and just wait for the ooh’s and ahh’s to pour in. This has all the sweet cinnamon-sugar flavor of your favorite coffee cake, wrapped in a rich yeasted dough, all twisted into a beautiful shape. The flavors are simple, the shape screams “look at what an accomplished baker I am!”, and you’ll find yourself snacking on it until every last crumb is gone.
This recipe comes from my grandmother’s Anniversary Slovak-American Cookbook, but in shape and flavors, it’s similar to Swedish tea rings that are popular at Christmas. I realize that it’s April, but I will take a delicious coffee cake any day of the year, and I was especially excited to try and shape this beaty. I admit that I made one attempt and didn’t make the cuts and twists of the dough quite long enough, so it ended up looking more like an inner tube than a delicate star, but once I figured out how far to cut, shaping it was actually fairly easy. So to make sure that you get it prefect the first time, make sure you read the recipe through at least once before you start!
We are fully back to our regular schedule here after being away in Park City last week. I am at my core a creature of habit and routine, so even though I love getting away (I’m trying to live by the motto “take the trip” this year), it’s comforting to have a predictable schedule to try and stick to again. That includes baking up a storm at least one day a week, and I’m excited to start trying some of the recipe ideas that popped into my head while we were away. So here’s to recharging our batteries, getting back to routines, and getting back to baking.
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup butter (4 tablespoons)
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk, heated to a simmer
- 2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast
- ¼ cup lukewarm water
- 4 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 -3 tablespoons heavy cream
- Place the butter, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until it is bubbling, then pour it over the butter, sugar and salt.
- While the milk mixture cools, place the water in a small bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. Let this sit until the milk mixture is lukewarm and the butter is melted, then add the yeast mixture in.
- Add the eggs and stir together until well blended. Add the flour, one cup at a time, and stir until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead it until smooth, 8-10 minutes.
- Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover it loosely with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel, and let the dough rise until doubled in bulk, about 90 minutes. In the meantime, mix the sugar and cinnamon together for the filling.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Turn the dough out onto the counter and roll it out into a rectangle roughly 24 inches long and ¼ inch thick. Try to stretch out the corners so that it is a rectangle and not rounded.
- Brush the dough with melted butter, then sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture over it, spreading it gently with your fingertips.
- Roll the rectangle tightly along the long side. Form it into a circle on the prepared cookie sheet, making sure that there is plenty of space in the middle.
- With kitchen scissors, cut into the circle ¾ of the way through to the middle. Space your cuts every 1 inch. When you've gone all the way around the circle, turn each section of dough clockwise so that the cinnamon-sugar swirls are visible. Cover the dough lightly with a towel or plastic wrap and let it rise another 45 minutes.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown.
- If using the glaze, stir together the powdered sugar and cream, then drizzle it over the bread once it has cooled.