Think of this as a cinnamon pretzel but better with a soft and tender dough toped with almond glaze. It's even cuter in candy candy shape.
15 7/8 ounces all-purpose flour, divided (3 3/4 cups, spoon and sweep)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 envelope Fleischmann’s® RapidRise Yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/8 ounces milk (1/4 cup)
8 1/2 ounces sour cream (1 cup)
1 ounces softened butter (2 tablespoons)
Cinnamon Sugar Filling:
2 1/2 ounces brown sugar (1/3 cup, packed)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 ounce softened butter (2 tablespoons)
4 ounces confectioner's sugar (1 cup)
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1. In a stand mixer, whisk together 4 1/4 ounces (1 cup) flour, sugar, undissolved yeast, salt, and baking soda
2. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the milk, sour cream and 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) butter and microwave for about 1 minute 10 seconds, or until the butter melts and the mixture is very warm (120-130°F). Add to the dry ingredients and beat in with the paddle attachment, starting at a low speed and increasing to medium, for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.
3. Add the egg and another 2 1/8 ounces flour (1/2 cup) and beat in for another 2 minutes, increasing the speed to high as soon as the flour is incorporated enough to not poof out everywhere. Again, scrape down the bowl as needed during this process. With the mixer on the lowest speed, add enough of the remaining flour until the mixture starts to come together in a dough that isn't too sticky.
4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes, until smooth and elastic, incorporating the flour on the surface into the dough as needed. The dough should be soft, but it shouldn't get stuck to the surface or your hands. Cover the dough with greased plastic wrap and let it rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the filling by whisking together the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
5. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle that measures 24" x 8". If the dough is really hard to roll, cover it and let it rest for another 5 minutes or so, and then try again. It also helps to lift the dough off the counter a bit and let it stretch. Make sure you're keeping the dough at 8" wide, too. You'd be surprised how easily it wants to roll out wider than that!
6. Once the dough is totally rolled out, rub the remaining 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) softened butter over the entire top surface. You can pop the butter in the microwave for a few seconds if it's still to cold to spread. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar filling evenly over half of the dough, so that it covers the 8" of width and 12" of the length. Fold the half that isn't covered with cinnamon sugar over the half that is, so that you're left with an 8" x 12" rectangle. Pinch all of the open edges together to seal the filling inside.
7. Line or grease two baking sheets. Working from the longer (12") side, cut the dough into 1" wide strips. While you're doing this, make sure that you stretch the dough out a bit if needed so that each strip is equal in width. Twist each strip several times and shape it into a candy cane.* I found that it was easiest to twist from one end at a time, or from the middle working outwards. Keep the strip of dough close to the counter while you twist so that it doesn't stretch from its own weight and break. After shaping, place each candy cane twist on a prepared baking sheet, spaced apart from the others. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free place for another 45 - 60 minutes, or until very puffy and about doubled in sized.
8. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375 F. Bake the twists for 12-15 minutes, or until the tops are golden and they no longer look doughy. Cool slightly, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cool, top with almond glaze.
9. To make the almond glaze, stir together the confectioner's sugar, 2 tablespoons milk, and almond extract until smooth. Add up to 1 more tablespoon milk if needed to reach desired consistency. You want the glaze to be fairly thin. Use a spoon to drizzle glaze over each twist. Tip: Put some parchment under the twists before you glaze them to save yourself some cleanup!