Originally I saw the recipe at Lauren's Latest to be used with apples and cinnamon. On the night I was going to make it for the next morning I did not have life enough to do the apple part, especially since I knew I had some delicious strawberry freezer jam in the refrigerator. The early morning eaters left not a crumb for me to see when I got back from swimming. (I just made that up--about the swimming--I do go swimming some mornings at 5 but do not really remember if I did that day. I could easily have been upstairs knitting, but more likely I was slug-abed...)
The way I made this treat:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Use one can crescent roll dough and roll it out carefully on a parchment-paper-lined half sheet pan. Pinch all the seams together. The dough should nearly fill the length of the half sheet pan.
Mix together 8 ounces softened real cream cheese, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour, and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract. (I have discovered at this late date that real ingredients make food taste better, so...we now only choose pure vanilla extract. I might even try making some one day soon.)
Using sharp kitchen scissors, cut DIAGONAL strips along both sides of the crescent roll dough at about 1/2-inch intervals about one-third of the way through. Spread the cream cheese mixture down the center 2-3 inches of the dough. Spread about 1/2 cup soft strawberry jam on top of the cream cheese mixture then fold up the cut dough "fingers" to make a braid-like top. Try to have them cover most of the filling.
|Notice that the "fingers" were NOT cut on the diagonal and did not reach over the dough. It will still be very edible!|
Place sheet in oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and the filling is set. Cool about 30 minutes before removing the pastry from the pan, if you plan to move it onto a pretty platter. My suggestion is that there is nothing wrong with leaving it on the cooking pan.
Mix together 1 cup of confectioner's sugar with 3-4 Tablespoons milk or cream or even water to make the glaze. Adding a bit of flavoring like vanilla or almond or berry extract can give a nice little touch of flavor to the glaze. Drizzle over the top of the completely cooled braid then cut however you desire and serve.
If you want any, you should probably set aside a small piece early on...!