Cooperative News

Sweet, sweet victory!

PEC member wins $500 in holiday recipe contest

Maybe it’s her love of making bread. Maybe it’s her German heritage. Whether it’s her passion or in her genes, PEC member Artie Stockton has a knack for baking.

PEC member Artie Stockton
PEC member Artie Stockton, whose cherry nut coffee cake won a holiday recipe contest.

She is one of four cooperative members who won $500 in Texas Co-op Power magazine’s holiday recipe contest.

“I never win anything, so I was so excited to hear the news,” Stockton said. “I mean, I have won small prizes at church bake-offs, but never anything like this.”

A 20-year Christmas staple for her family, Stockton’s winning cherry nut coffee cake recipe evolved from what originally began as monkey bread.

“Over the years, I would change up the fillings, and my family would tell me if it was good or if it was missing a little something,” she said. “When I added the coconut, my son loved it, and that became the final version of the recipe.”

What makes her recipe so special is not the ingredients, but the tradition it’s tied to: Stockton only makes the coffee cake when her children and grandchildren come into town for the holidays.

For all the bakers out there who want to replicate her recipe, Stockton wants them to know her coffee cake is labor intensive, but it’s definitely worth the time and effort.

“Baking is almost therapeutic in a way for me, and I know that anyone that tries [the recipe] at home will feel the same and get lots of compliments from their guests,” Stockton said. “There’s nothing like a hot cup of coffee or tea with a slice of my cherry nut coffee cake.”

Cherry nut coffee cake,
Cherry nut coffee cake, a winner in the Texas Co-op Power magazine holiday contest.

Cherry Nut Coffee Cake

(serves 16-18)

Note: The dough needs plenty of time to chill overnight. This is a two-day process.

Dough ingredients:

  • 1 package dry yeast
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, well-beaten
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour

Filing ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup sweetened flaked coconut, toasted
  • ¾ cup cherry preserves
  • ¾ cup chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) butter, melted
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 egg, well-beaten, for egg wash

Icing ingredients:

  • 1¾ cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons half-and-half
  • 1 tablespoon juice from jar of maraschino cherries

For decoration:

  • Maraschino cherry halves
  • Pecan halves

For the dough:

  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water, 105–115 degrees; set aside. Heat milk in saucepan over low heat. Add sugar, butter and salt, stirring until butter is melted and sugar is dissolved. Pour milk mixture into mixing bowl and cool to lukewarm.
  2. Mix two beaten eggs and dissolved yeast into lukewarm milk mixture. Add flour, a little at a time, beating well until dough resembles a soft sponge. Cover bowl and chill dough in refrigerator overnight.

For the filling:

  1. In a bowl, combine cinnamon, dried cranberries, coconut, cherry preserves and chopped pecans.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out dough on floured surface to a rectangular shape, about ⅛ inch thick. Brush dough with ¼ cup melted butter, then sprinkle with ½ cup sugar. Dot the filling on the dough until covered, leaving about an inch on each side free of filling.
  3. Roll up dough lengthwise, then transfer to a baking sheet with the seam-side down. Shape like a horseshoe and tuck ends under to seal. Let rise in a warm place about 25–30 minutes.
  4. Brush egg wash over top of dough. Bake 20–25 minutes or until golden brown.

For the icing:

  • In a mixing bowl, combine powdered sugar, half-and-half and cherry juice. Mix well, then drizzle on cake.

For the decorations:

  • As the icing firms up, decorate with cherry and pecan halves.