Place cherries in a small bowl. Pour enough boiling water over to cover. Cover and let stand for 10 minutes; drain well.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together 2 cups of flour and yeast. In a small saucepan, combine milk, sugar, butter and salt. Heat and stir over medium heat just until warm (120 F to 130 F) and butter almost melts. Add milk mixture to flour mixture along with egg and almond extract. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in cherries and as much of the remaining flour as you can.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6 to 8 minutes total). Shape dough into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface of dough. Cover; let rise in a warm place until double in size (about 1 hour). Punch dough down. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into four portions. Cover; let rest 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, grease two baking sheets; set aside. Shape each dough portion into a 20-inch long rope. Twist two of the ropes together. Bring ends together; seal to form a ring. Place on one prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
If desired, place a greased 6-ounce custard cup or removable center of a tube pan inside the ring to keep the center of the bread perfectly round. Cover dough; let rise in warm place until nearly double in size, about 30 minutes.
Bake at 350 F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until brown, if necessary to prevent over browning, cover loosely with foil for the last 10 minutes of baking. Remove bread from baking sheets to wire racks.
Drizzle Almond Cream Cheese Icing over warm Cherry Almond Twist. Sprinkle with sliced almonds. Serve warm or cool to room temperature. Makes 2 loaves.
Make Almond Cream Cheese Icing: In a medium mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, butter and almond extract with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating well. Beat in 1 or 2 tablespoons milk and few drops of food coloring, if using. Beat until creamy. Stir in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time to make icing of spreading consistency, if needed. Makes 2 coffee cakes.