This makes two coffeecakes or you can use this basic sweet dough to make cinnamon rolls, Stollen, a Swedish Tea Ring, dinner rolls - just change the shape and be creative - have fun! The Sunburst Coffeecake is art and everyone is impressed with it's presentation! I make it often for get-well gifts for friends and for women's brunch and Bible studies at church. Bring a ray of sunshine into someone's life that you love.
1In a small cup stir yeast into warm water and dissolve for 5 minutes.
2In a mixing bowl, combine warm milk (110*F), softened (almost melted) shortening, sugar, salt, eggs and dissolved yeast.
3Add flour one cup at a time. Keep dough as soft as possible, almost sticky, just so you are able to handle it.
4Turn onto a lightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. I use the dough hook on my mixer for 5 minutes.
5Place in a lightly oiled bowl and turn dough ball to coat evenly. Cover with a cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours.
6Punch down, cover and let rise again for about 30 minutes longer.
7Divide dough in half to make desired rolls and coffeecakes. This makes two coffeecakes (directions following) or you can use this basic sweet dough to make cinnamon rolls, Stollen, a Swedish Tea Ring, dinner rolls - just change the shape and be creative - have fun!
8For my Sunburst coffeecake: Take the first half of the dough and cut it in half again. Roll that quarter of the dough into a circle to fit a pizza pan (14 inch). Put first layer of dough in pan. Spread 2 T. softened butter to cover; sprinkle with 1/4 cup cinnamon/sugar mixture.
9Roll the remaining quarter piece of dough into same size circle. Place over first layer and repeat using 2 T. softened butter and 1/4 cup cinnamon/sugar.
10Invert a glass (2 1/2"-3" across) and set it gently in the center of the circle. Do not press it down. This will be the "sun". Cut dough into 20 wedges. (I use the first 2 digits of my index finger to measure each sun-ray as I cut). Twist each wedge four times. Remove glass from dough.
11Cover and let rise for 20 minutes. Bake in a preheated 350*F oven for 30 minutes,
12While still slightly warm, top with your favorite cinnamon roll icing or glaze.
13Repeat process with second half of the dough. These freeze well. If freezing one for later, don't put icing on it. Allow it to thaw, heat slightly in a warm oven, then frost it.