½ cup 2 percent milk
½ cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar, divided
¼ cup margarine or butter
1½ teaspoons salt
½ cup warm water
2 envelopes (.25 ounces each) yeast
2 eggs, slightly beaten
4½ cups all-purpose flour
1 can (21 ounces) cherry (or other fruit) filling
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
In a glass bowl, stir the milk, ½ cup sugar, salt and margarine and microwave on HIGH for about 1 minute or until sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool.
In a small bowl, stir yeast and 2 teaspoons sugar into warm water. (Water should be warm but not hot.) Stir until dissolved and allow to stand 10 minutes until foamy. Pour milk mixture and yeast into large bowl. Add half of the flour and mix well. Add remaining flour gradually until the dough is soft and able to be handled.
Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead for 7 minutes, adding flour if needed to prevent sticking. Place in a greased bowl and cover. Allow to rise 1 to 2 hours in a warm place until double in size.
Punch down one time with your fist and then divide the dough into four balls. Roll each ball into a rectangle about 13-by-8-inches. Fold the rectangle in half lengthwise, carefully transfer it to a greased cookie sheet with spatulas and reopen. Spread one-third to one-half can of filling on the middle and down the length of the rectangle. Fold the sides of the dough over the filling, pinching the edges gently to seal. (You may need to moisten edge of dough to get a good seal.) Leave top and bottom edges open. Repeat the process again and place the second cake next to the first on the same cookie sheet. Let rise 30 minutes in a warm place.
Bake on the center rack for 10-15 minutes. Transfer to the top rack and bake for the last 5 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.
Frost with powdered sugar icing as desired.
Makes two coffee cakes; serves about 16.