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Fancy Bread Runner Up
Cherry-Pecan Festive Hearts

Linda Pauls, Buhler, KS, used a recipe she had and combined an idea she saw in an advertisement and came up with this beautiful heart coffeecake.

Dough:
4- 4 1/4 cups bread flour, divided
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 packages active dry yeast
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 1/4 cups sour cream
1/3 cup water
2 eggs

Filling:
1 cup chopped dried apricots
1 cup chopped; well drained, maraschino cherries (1 lb. jar)
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Icing: (Optional)
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 - 3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Heat the butter, sour cream and water to 120°F. Use a thermometer to check the temperature. Gradually add to the dry ingredients; beat 2 minutes on medium speed, scraping the bowl occasionally.

Add the eggs and 1/2 cup more flour and beat 2 minutes. Stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead until smooth and elastic, 10-12 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover, let rise in an 80°F place until doubled.

Punch dough down, cover, let rest 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare filling. In medium bowl, combine apricots, cherries, pecans, and sugar.

To fill and shape, divide dough in half. Roll half of the dough into a 24 x 7-inch rectangle. Brush with half the butter; sprinkle with half the filling. Beginning at 24-inch side, roll up tightly. Pinch seam to seal; carefully roll back and forth to form a 26-inch rope.

Place, seam side down, on large, greased baking sheet. Form into ring; pinch ends together to seal. Shape into a heart. Web sharp knife or kitchen scissors, cut slits starting at outside edge, 2/3 of the way through dough at 1-inch intervals. Turn each section on its side to show filling.

Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Cover; let rise until doubled. Bake in preheated 350°F oven 20-25 minutes, or until done. Let cool 5 minutes on pan then remove to rack to complete cooling.

If desired, combine icing ingredients, stir until smooth. Drizzle over cooled hearts. Makes 2 coffeecakes.

Nutritional Analysis: One 1-oz. serving without icing provides 79 calories, 1 g protein, 12 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat, 11 mg cholesterol, .5 g dietary fiber, 9 mg calcium, 65 mg potassium and 61 mg sodium.

* Examples of high-protein flours are Hudson Cream Short Patent, Gold Medal Better For Bread Flour and Wall-Rogalsky.(W-R) Bread Flour.