Breakfast Streusel Danish Braids

Here I am again, baking.  I don’t normally bake this much – but the boys seem to be enjoying having something different as a breakfast option in the mornings!
I have been heading back to my cookbooks more and more and found this one out of The Pampered Chef cookbooks I own, More Stoneware Sensations.  This was pretty quick and easy to assemble.  What’s even better is that the recipe makes two of these delicious braids!  I kept one for our family and gave one to a friend to share with her family.  Perfect. 
The first one I made wasn’t as “pretty” as the second…so it didn’t really make it into the photo here.  You can choose whatever flavor of jam or preserves you’d like – or do what I did; use what I already had in my kitchen!  I already had a jar of Smucker’s Natural Strawberry Fruit Spread and decided to use it on both braids. 
In my More Stoneware Sensations cookbook, it references a lot of Pampered Chef products – I have modified the recipe to call out the type of kitchen tool you will need.
Give this recipe a try and let me know what creative (or not so creative) choices you made with your fillings!

Twice-As-Nice Danish Braids
Makes 2 coffee cakes (10 servings)

For the Braids:
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese softened.  {Note: I used Neufchâtel cheese which has 1/3 less fat from Challenge Dairy}
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract 
1 egg, separated
2 packages (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent rolls
3 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam
3 tablespoons peach preserves {or really, whatever jams/preserves of of your choice}

For the Streusel:
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons natural whole almonds, chopped
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
Parchment paper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Unroll 1 package of crescent roll dough; do not separate, Arrange longest side of the dough across the width of a rectangular cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Using a small rolling pin, roll dough to seal perforations (I used my fingers too!)  Spread half of the cream cheese mixture in a 3-inch strip lengthwise down the center of the dough to within 1/4 inch of each end.  Carefully spread raspberry jam over cream cheese mixture.

Using a small knife, make cuts along the sides of the dough 1 1/2 inches apart to within 1/2 inch of the filling.  

To braid, life strips of dough across the filling to meet in the center, twisting each strip one turn.  Continue alternating strips to form a braid.  Fold up ends of braid to seal.

Repeat process on opposite end of the cookie sheet with remaining crescent roll dough, cream cheese mixture, and peach preserves to make a second braid.  

Brush lightly beaten egg white over dough with a pastry brush.  

For the streusel, mix the flour, sugar, almonds, and butter until crumbly.  Sprinkle evenly over the braids, patting gently.  

Bake 22-25 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cut into slices and serve.  
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