Nest of Eggs Coffee Cake

This is a pretty bread that's sweet and fun.  I make it every Spring Equinox in the honor of the Goddess Eostara whose symbols are the hare and the colored egg we now see at Easter.

Pre-heat your oven to 325F.  This entree will take 15 minutes of preparation time, and will cook for 1 hours.

Ingredients 

1 package of active dry yeast
cup milk
cup sugar
3 tsp. salt
cup shortening
3 cups of flour
1 slightly beaten egg
Shredded coconut
Green food coloring
Candy decorations

Confectioner's Sugar Icing

1 cup sifted powdered sugar
tsp. vanilla
Enough milk to make a drizzling consistency (about 1 tsp)


Soften the yeast in cup warm water (around 110F). In a small pan, combine the milk, sugar, and 3 teaspoons of salt and heat over a low flame until the sugar dissolves; cool to lukewarm.  Stir in 1 cup of flour and beat smooth.  Add the softened yeast and egg, beating well.  Stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough.  Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth and elastic (about 8 - 10 minutes).  Place the dough ball into a greased bowl, turning it once to coat with grease.  In drier climes, this will allow the bread do to stretch without drying out, and rise to its full size.  Cover the bowl with a towel and place it a warm spot where it will rise to double in size for about an hour (depending on the heat of the house; I've tried to make this on a cold March day, and it darn near took all day to rise up.)  Punch the dough down and divide it into thirds.  Cover again, and let the dough rest for about 10 minutes.

Shape one-third of the dough into 6 " eggs" and place them close together in the center of a greased baking sheet.  Shape the two remaining dough balls into 26" ropes and twist them together.  Coil the ropes around the eggs and seal the ends together.  Cover and let the nest rise to double in size for about an hour.  Bake at for 15 - 20 minutes.  Remove from the baking sheet and cool.

Tint coconut with a few drops of green food coloring.  Frost the nest with Confectioner's sugar icing.  Sprinkle the nest with coconut shreds, and top the eggs with candy decorations.

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