We have snow AGAIN. I didn't have to be at work this morning until 10 because of the snow, so I thought I'd try out this danish. It's sooooo good. Worth the effort. I pulled it out of the oven a minute before I had to leave for work, so I didn't have time to do a glaze. Next time I will use the glaze and sprinkle slivered almonds on top. If you don't like almonds or almond flavoring, you could use vanilla here or orange. You could also substitute the cream cheese for a fruit filling (like apricot preserves). I think it would be good with cream cheese and raspberry preserves together.
Also, this is the same dough I made the other day as rolls. You can make a batch and leave it in your refrigerator (which is what I did) and use it when you are ready. Sorry I don't have a better picture, I had to take it at work with my cell phone camera.
Cream Cheese Danish Braid
3/4 c. lukewarm water
3/4 T. yeast
3/4 T. kosher salt
1/4 c. honey
3/4 c. of butter melted (1 and 1/2 sticks)
3 3/4 c. flour
1 block of cream cheese
1 t. almond extract
scant 1/2 c. of powdered sugar
1/2 t. almond extract
1 c. powdered sugar
milk, cream or half and half
1/2 c. slivered almonds
1 T. water
Mix all the dough ingredients except the flour first. Then add in the flour. Let it set on the counter for 2 hours (until it rises and then falls). Put in the refrigerator until chilled (can set in the refrigerator for a week or more). When you are ready, roll out the dough into a large rectangle using plenty of flour to keep it from sticking. Leave it alone for a minute to make your filling.
Mix all the filling ingredients together until smooth. Then eyeball a two inch or so path down the center of your dough long-ways. Spread the cream cheese on the path. Using a pizza cutter, slice 1/2 inch pieces down both sides of the cream cheese. Using an egg wash (one egg beaten with 1 T. of water) brush the sides of the dough. Then alternating sides, bring each piece in like a braid. Stick the pieces together in the middle so they don't fall apart. After you have it all braided, let it rest for 40 minutes covered in saran wrap. Pre-heat the oven to 350. Before putting it in the oven brush the top with the egg wash. I baked mine on a piece of parchment paper on a large cookie sheet. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
After it cools a little, sprinkle the glaze on top. For the glaze, first mix the sugar and the extract. Gradually add in milk until it gets to a drippy consistency. Drizzle over the braid. Top with *toasted slivered almonds.
*To Toast Slivered Almonds: On a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven toast almonds for 7 to 10 minutes. Be careful not to burn. Watch carefully. You want to take them out when they start to smell good.