Surprise your sweetheart with this Valentine's Day treat. The cherry-almond flavor combo is outstanding. This also makes a festive Chrismas holiday coffee cake—just shape the dough into a ring instead of a heart.
2 (4-1/2 tsp.) envelopes Fleischmann's® Active Dry Yeast
1/2 cup warm milk (100° to 110°F)
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon butter OR margarine, softened
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
4-3/4 to 5-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries, drained
1/2 cup chopped slivered almonds, toasted
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
Place warm water in large, warm bowl. Sprinkle in yeast; stir until dissolved. Add warm milk, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup butter, eggs, salt, and 1-1/2 cups flour; blend well. Stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 4 to 6 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Pat maraschino cherries between paper towels to remove excess moisture. In medium bowl, combine maraschino cherries, almonds, and 1/4 cup sugar; set aside.
Punch dough down. Remove dough to lightly floured surface; divide in half. Roll 1 half to 24 x 7-inch rectangle. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter; brush half over dough to within 1/2 inch of edges. Sprinkle with half of cherry mixture over dough. Beginning at long end, roll up tightly as for jelly roll. Pinch seam to seal; gently roll back and forth to stretch to 26-inch rope. Place, seam side down, on parchment-lined or greased baking sheet. Form into ring; pinch ends together to seal. Shape into heart.
With sharp knife, cut slits, starting at outside edge of heart, two-thirds of the way through dough at 3/4-inch intervals. Turn each section on its side to show filling. Repeat with remaining dough, butter, and cherry mixture. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Bake at 350°F for 18 to 23 minutes or until done, switching positions of sheets halfway through baking time for even browning. Remove from sheets; let cool on wire racks. Drizzle with Almond Glaze.
Almond Glaze: Combine powdered sugar, almond extract; and milk; stir until smooth.
Note: This coffee cake also makes for a festive Christmas recipe. Shape into a ring instead of a heart.