Total Calories: 1,756
Combine almonds and 1/2 cup sugar set aside. Dissolve yeast in warm water with 1 teaspoon sugar let set until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour with remaining sugar and salt cut in butter with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in milk. Beat in yeast, eggs, vanilla and optional almond extract to make a smooth batter add remaining flour to form a firm dough. Beat hard for 2 minutes. Turn out onto center of a large square dish towel (at least 24 x 24-inches). Bring corners together allow space for rising, fasten securely with a rubberband to make a bag. Place in an 8-quart kettle of warm (115°F) water. Let stand about 1 hour until doubled dough will rise to surface of water and expand. Remove and turn out onto a floured surface dough will be very soft and moist. Scoop up tablespoonfuls of dough and drop into nut-sugar mixture, turning to coat surface well. Shape each into a 6-inch long rope. Twist into an "S" shape place on well-greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until doubled, about 35 minutes. Bake in a preheated 375° F oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden. Drizzle with Browned Butter Icing before serving.
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