Cherry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

I was put on a mission to make something with cherries. My knowledge of cherry recipes is limited. I’ve never cooked with cherries before. The first item that came to mind was of course the ever traditional cherry pie, which I will be at some point making. For this endeavor, pie would not work. I wanted to find and make something quick and easy. It should be simple enough for a baker with any amount of experience, or none at all.

When I set out to make this particular dish, I wasn’t sure how easy it would be. The list of ingredients and steps seemed to be short. Some seemingly easy dishes prove to not be so quick and easy once you begin making them. You’ll be please to know that this dish is absolutely both easy and quick. Seriously. I kid you not. You could of course make this dish more time consuming by making your own dough but I’ll share the simple way.

Cherry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Ingredients:

1/2 almonds, chopped
3oz cream cheese, softened
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp almond extract
1/3 C maraschino cherries
8oz can crescent rolls
1/2 C powdered sugar, optional
2 tsp milk, optional

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375. Chop almonds by slicing with a knife lengthwise. Chop slices into small pieces. A food processor could also be used. Remember not to cut or blend up too small. Pea size chunks are best.

A stand mixer is complete overkill for this recipe, as I learned. I was only able to find a block of cream cheese for this recipe. The bowls of cream cheese are convenient but they aren't always handy when you need to divide it into smaller portions. The block is perfect for this occasion because you can easily slice off the right amount of cream cheese. Before removing the foil, make an indentation you can use for reference for where to cut. Do not puncture the foil. Remove foil and slice down the length of your indendation. Rewrap remaining cream cheese, store in fridge.

In a small bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and almond extract until fluffy. A hand mixer or fork can be used. Stir in chopped almonds and cherries. At first it won't want to mix, gently continue to mix until ingredients are combined. Be careful not to mash the cherries.

Grease a cookie sheet with butter, shortening or pam for baking. However, if you have a silpat mat I would recommend using it instead of greasing your pan. Whenever possible, I always use my silpat mat. It makes life so much easier. Foods don't stick to your pan and the mat proves to be super easy to clean. It also cools down fast.

Unroll crescent roll dough onto your prepared cookie sheet. Pinch perforations to seal. Reposition strips as needed to seal well. Using a spoon or small cookie scoop, spread cream cheese mixture in a thin strip down the center of your dough.

Starting on one side of the filling, cut strips from the edge of dough to within 1/4 inch of the filling. Strips should be no more than one inch apart. Repeat process on the other side of filling. Starting at one end, fold strips over the filling at an angle. Alternate sides. This will form a semi braided look.

Bake for 30 minutes or until golden. Using two metal spatulas, carefully transfer to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before slicing.

If topping with sugar glaze, mix powdered sugar and mix until mixed well and creamy. Drizzle over braided coffee cake.

Store in an airtight container.

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