Mini Cheese Danish

cream cheese danish | apt 2b baking co
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cream cheese danish | apt 2b baking co
cream cheese danish | apt 2b baking co
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cream cheese danish | apt 2b baking co
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I remember hitting up the grocery store pastry case on the way out of town on family road trips and skipping over the chocolate doughnuts to head straight for the danish - cream cheese was always my favorite. Cheese Danish represent the best of all breakfast pastry worlds - crisp buttery pastry, slightly savory filling, and a little bit of sweet glaze. I kind of can't believe I hadn't made them before I found this recipe.

Danishes were always a little intimidating to me because they are made with laminated yeast dough which is time consuming to make and can be a little fussy. I have made croissants a couple of times, but honestly the time and planning it takes to make them is a total turnoff, even if the results are delicious.

But, when I spotted this recipe I knew I had to try it. It comes from Samantha Seneviratne by way of the NY Times and it is SO SMART and a lot less involved than traditional laminated yeast dough. It can also be made way ahead of time, and it's made in the food processor (no knead!) making these perfect for a brunch time treat. 


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Cheese Danish

makes 9 medium or 16 mini Danish

recipe by Samantha Seneviratne for the NY Times

The Danish dough requires quite a bit of hands-off resting time so make sure to factor that in to your plans. I made these a few times, once with labne instead of cream cheese in the filling which worked great. The filling was a bit softer than the cream cheese version, but the extra tang from the labne was a nice bonus flavor. If you've used labne, you'll need to fill the pastries a bit differently to account for the texture of the filling, instructions are within the recipe. Also, the original recipe calls to make the Danishes a bit bigger, but I loved the idea of little two-bite minis so I went for it.

1 8-ounce package cream cheese (or labne)

1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar

1 large egg yolk

pinch salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 batch Danish dough (recipe below)

1 large egg, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons milk

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, egg yolk, salt and vanilla until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag or resealable plastic bag; set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into a 12 1/2-inch square. Trim 1/4 inch off each edge. Cut the dough into nine 4-inch squares, or 12 2-inch squares for mini danish. Brush the corners of each square with a bit of the beaten egg, then fold each corner into the center and press down gently. Transfer the squares to 2 parchment-lined baking sheets.

Pipe the cheese filling onto the center of each dough square. (If you've made the filling with labne, pipe the pastries half full and reserve the rest of the filling in the fridge while they rise.) Loosely cover the pastries with plastic wrap and let stand until slightly puffed, 60-80 minutes. Heat oven to 425ºF.

Remove the plastic and gently brush the top and sides of the dough with the beaten egg. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the sheets and reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. (If using the labne filling, pipe the remaining filling over the top of the half baked filling) Continue to bake until pastries are puffed and deep golden brown, another 6 to 8 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk together the remaining 1 cup confectioners’ sugar and the milk. Let the Danish cool slightly on the sheet then drizzle with the glaze. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Danish Dough

1 1/2 cups bread flour, plus more for the work surface and the rolling pin

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 teaspoons active dry yeast

3/4 teaspoonkosher salt

14 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter (1 3/4 sticks), roughly cubed

1 large egg

1/4 cup cold milk

Combine the flour, granulated sugar, yeast and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Add the butter and pulse to combine. The butter should be the size of small marbles and peas. Transfer this mixture to a medium bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk the egg, milk, and 2 tablespoons water.

Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold the mixture until it is evenly moistened. Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, shape into a small rectangle, and wrap well. Chill for at least 3 hours, and up to 2 days.

On a lightly floured surface, using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to an 8-by-15-inch rectangle. With a short side facing you, fold the dough in thirds like a letter, bringing the top third of the dough down, then folding the bottom third up. Use a bench scraper to help lift and fold the dough if necessary. At this point, the dough will be rough and shaggy with visible butter pieces; as you roll and fold the dough it will come together. Rotate the dough 90 degrees. Repeat the rolling and folding process, then rotate the dough once more and roll and fold again. As you work, dust the work surface, your hands and the rolling pin with flour as necessary. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Repeat the entire rolling and folding process one more time for a grand total of six turns. If the dough starts to fight you and become difficult to roll at any point, just pop it in the fridge for an extra rest. Wrap the dough and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

 

Sam's Crunchy Peanutpepper Cookies

sam's crunchy peanut pepper cookies | apt 2b baking co
sam's crunchy peanut pepper cookies | apt 2b baking co
sam's crunchy peanut pepper cookies | apt 2b baking co

These treats may have the nostalgic look of classic peanut butter cookies, but they hold a punchy little secret: a generous amount of spicy hot cayenne pepper, and a perfect amount of salt to go with it. The recipe comes from Samantha Seneviratne's new book, The New Sugar and Spice, which is so chock full of great recipes that I have dog-eared pretty much every page. I mean, hello Hot Honeycomb Candy, Plum Galettes with Hazelnut Frangipane, and Bay Leaf Rice Pudding! I can't wait to bake more from this book this fall and winter, so many of the spice-forward recipes seem like they would be a perfect fit for the holidays.

The inspiration for these chewy-crunchy cookies was Hot Mix, which is a super tasty spicy-salty snack mix, and dang, those flavors translate perfectly. Salty-sweet-hot snacks are my jam. When I made these guys I thought I had peanuts in my pantry, but discovered late into the baking process that I definitely did not (ehem, that's what happens when you don't do your mise en place...). I used chopped up cashews instead and they were fab. 

Oooh and you guys are all so lucky because Elizabeth over at Brooklyn Supper is hosting a giveaway of this very book right now. Visit her blog to enter, seriously, you want this on your shelf. 

 

Sam's Crunchy Peanutpepper Cookies

makes about 2 dozen cookies

From The New Sugar and Spice: A Recipe for Bolder Baking by Samantha Seneviratne

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for pressing

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar

1/2 cup natural, well-stirred unsweetened peanut butter

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup roasted, salted peanuts, coarsely chopped

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, cayenne, and baking soda. In a large bowl, stir the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until creamy. Stir in the peanut butter, egg, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture and stir to combine. Stir in the peanuts.

Scoop the dough into 2-tablespoon balls and place on the prepared sheets at least 2 inches apart. Using a fork dipped in sugar, gently press a crisscross pattern in the top of each cookie, flattening it out to a 2-inch circle.

Bake until the cookies are light golden brown around the edges and on the bottom, 12-14 minutes, rotating the sheets halfway through. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the sheets on the racks, then move them to the racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the freezer for 1 month.

sam's crunchy peanut pepper cookies | apt 2b baking co