Cinnamon Cream Cheese Open Danish

Cinnamon Open Danish -- A Pinch of Joy
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Open Danish -- A Pinch of Joy

Officially these cinnamon cream cheese treats are called Cinnamon Cream Cheese Open Danish.  Cinnamon Flats is the name Wheels gave them and how they are known around our house.  Leaving off the top layer usually given a Danish and spreading the dough in a larger jelly roll pan instead of a 9×13 reduces the carb count without reducing the deliciousness.  You could serve these for breakfast.   You could probably also eat them at lunch – I’m pretty sure you can.  Maybe even serve them for a  brunch or a tea party.   We use them for dessert at dinner.  Cinnamon and cream cheese baked on a crescent roll base – good any time. 

I use Pillsbury Crescents.  And I prefer the sheets, if they are available.  If not, just be sure to pat the perforations closed.  (This is a great job for little hands.)  Mixing the cream cheese until it is light and somewhat fluffy allows you to spread it more easily on the dough.  You can substitute Neufachetal Cheese (which is lower in fat) but I use Philadephia Cream Cheese.  Let cool about ten minutes before cutting.  These are really good when served hot, but they are also good the second day.  Warm about 30 seconds in the microwave before devouring.  Actually, I like them better the second day as the cream cheese is a little more firm and the flavors have developed more deeply.   Bytes likes to spread a bit of strawberry or grape jelly on them.

This is a quick and easy recipe which will serve more than one meal (or feed hearty eaters).  We are getting ready to take the kitchen out of commission for a while (I’m so excited!)  so you’re likely to see quick n easy and slow cooker recipes for the next weeks. 

Consider yourself warned :-)

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Open Danish
Cook time
Total time
Creamy cinnamony -- so good for breakfast, lunch, dinner, tea time, brunch time, anytime!
Serves: 20 servings
  • 2 packages crescent rolls
  • 2 packages cream cheese
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Turn on oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Unroll the two packages of crescent roll dough and pat out across an ungreased 11x15 jellyroll pan.
  3. Place the cream cheese, vanilla and ¾ cup sugar in medium mixing bowl. Beat until fluffy.
  4. Spread cream cheese mixture across the crescent roll dough.
  5. Mix together the ½ cup sugar and cinnamon, then sprinkle evenly over the cream cheese mixture.
  6. Melt butter in the microwave and spoon or pour over the cinnamon sugar layer.
  7. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 3\\\" x 3\\\"

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Little Napoleon Sweethearts

A Pinch of Joy: Little Napoleon Sweetheartss

A Pinch of Joy: Little Napoleon Sweethearts

Napoleons seem to be a Neopolitan invention as they originated in Naples, Italy.  The French adopted the dessert, calling it “mille-feuille” or “ thousand leaves” for the many layers of pastry.  As the dessert traveled from France the description of their place of origin,  Neopolitan,  became corrupted to the more familiar Napoleon associated with France, but there is no evidence that Emperor Napoleon had anything to do with these particular pastries.  Napoleons traditionally have a confectionary sugar glaze on top (1 Tablespoon water to 1 cup of confectionary sugar) but I eliminated this to control the sweetness (and carb count).    They are also typically larger in size and frequently have 3 to five layers of pastry.  We prefer the little sweetheart size as portion control – but also because the easiest way to eat this crispy delicacy is to pick it up and carefully take a bite!   If you choose the knife and fork method – still easier to eat the small ones.

Fresh strawberries are required to make this a “sweetheart” of a dessert.   To make the strawberry hearts, cut a notch into the top of the berry before slicing.  Like this:

Strawberry collage

You can substitute frozen strawberries.  They just won’t have the heart. (pun intended!)  I do not add sugar to the berries to keep the calorie and carb count lower. If berries are on the tart side, though, you might want to consider adding a couple of tablespoons of sugar to the sliced berries while waiting for the pastries to bake and cool. Using two layers of pudding mix helps to hold the pastry and strawberries together.  I use chocolate discs for drizzling, but you can substitute about 1/3 cup of semisweet chocolate chips or dark chocolate chips.  This was the first time I drizzled chocolate — move very quickly to keep lines thin and straight!   Otherwise you’ll end up with a squiggle like these!

Your sweetheart will think you spent hours on this spectacular treat!

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Little Napoleon Sweethearts
Serves: 18 pastries
  • 1 sheet Puff Pastry
  • 1 package instant cheesecake sugar free instant pudding
  • 1 cup milk
  • 8 oz frozen whipped topping
  • 1 ½ cups sliced strawberries (frozen or fresh)
  • 12 – 24 chocolate candy discs
  1. Thaw pastry sheet at room temperature until easy to handle (about 40 minutes)
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Spray cookie sheet lightly or line with parchment paper.
  4. Unfold pastry sheet on lightly floured surface. Cut along fold lines to make three separate pieces; then cut each third into sixths.
  5. Place the pieces on cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from baking sheet and cool.
  6. While pastries are baking, mix pudding and 1 cup of milk in large bowl according to package directions. Gently stir in whipped topping. Refrigerate until pastries are cool.
  7. If using fresh berries, wash stem and slice. To make heart shapes, cut notch across the top of the berry before slicing.
  8. Split cooled pastries in half, working gently with sharp knife.
  9. Spread layer of pudding mixture on bottom half of pastry, add a layer of strawberry slices. Add another layer of pudding mixture and top with other half of pastry.
  10. Repeat until all pastries are filled.
  11. Spoon a bit of pudding mixture on top of filled pastry and add one or two strawberry slices.
  12. Place 12 chocolate discs in disposable decorating bag or corner of zipper sandwich bag. Microwave in 30 second bursts until chocolate is melted. Snip off point of decorating bag or corner of zipper sandwich bag. Drizzle chocolate quickly over the completed pastries. Repeat with remaining 12 discs if needed.
  13. Refrigerate until serving up to 3 hours.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 2 pastries

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Buttercream Cake Icing and writing Joy

Cake with Tiffany Blue buttercream icing, flowers and word Joy

Cake with Tiffany Blue frosting, flowers and word Joy

Sunday was my final exam in the cake decorating class I’ve been taking.  We were to bake two layers, stack and frost them before class.  We could make flowers ahead of time and let them dry.  In class we had to write a word and do the border, then complete the cake.  I knew right away I wanted Tiffany blue as the base with white decorations. We hadn’t had instructions on how to make the flowers I wanted to use, but I read the book and watched a couple of videos.  And created them anyway!

The meringue powder in the recipe helps the frosting form a firm crust that allows decorations to hold their shape.  Still the larger flowers, the teacher said, would need about three days to dry enough to completely hold their shape while being set on the cake and transported.    Meringue powder also allows the cake icing to crust just enough, creating a firmer base on which to build the decorations.  I wanted to allow enough time for that to happen before class.

I baked the cake Saturday.  After it cooled, I leveled the layers by cutting off the rounded tops.  A layer of frosting on the bottom one and I set the top one in place upside down.  This let the 90 degree edge created by the cake pan form the top edge of the cake.  Then I frosted with a “crumb coat” of icing – just enough to keep crumbs from breaking loose and ruining the look of the icing.  (And, lesson learned, I didn’t bake a chocolate cake this time!) After several hours, I went back and gave the cake a thin coat of the Tiffany blue, partly to create a smooth base for the last layer and partly to “practice” the icing techniques. (I made an entire recipe of  Tiffany blue to do the cake as teacher warned it is impossible to match the new batch to the old, should you run out!)  Sunday morning, I put on the last layer of icing.  I remember it turned out gorgeous, smooth with a sharp edge at the top.  And then I reached up for something and bumped the cake,  lifting off a four inch strip of frosting – and cake!- all along one edge.

There went perfection – as I choose to remember anyway!  Nothing to do but try to patch it back together.  Remember that waxed paper trick I talked about here?  It works quite nicely.  Amazingly well, in fact considering the gash that needed repair.  :-)

In class, we first had a lesson in  ribbon roses and writing. Writing was by far the hardest thing ever!  Teacher had me thin my icing – twice – which really helped.  But my lines still curlicued, broke, twisted and refused to go where my brain shouted directions!  And I was only doing a three letter word!  After picking letters off several times with a toothpick (yes, you can do that!), the last two finally came out okay.  The “J”  I finally let dry for a few minutes and then I shoved it into its real shape with a toothpick.

I have profound respect for Niece who was a cake decorator in a store bakery!!!!  And for sisters in law ElA and JanE who have actually made wedding and other celebration cakes (plural) for other people!  Excuse me.  I have some  a lot  of practice to do!!!

Wilton Buttercream Cake Icing
  • 1 cup solid white vegetable shortening
  • 1 teaspoon flavoring (vanilla, almond or butter)
  • 7-8 teaspoons milk or water
  • 1 pound confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Wilton Meringue powder
For chocolate, add
  • ¾ cup cocoa OR 3 1 oz unsweetened chocolate squares, melted
  • 1 - 2 teaspoons water or milk
  1. Cream shortening, flavoring and water/milk until well mixed.
  2. Add confectioner’s sugar and meringue powder and mix at low speed until well mixed.
  3. Blend for an additional minute until creamy.
  4. Makes 2 ½ cups stiff consistency frosting. (See Notes below.)
  5. Keeps a week in the refrigerator and freezes well.
  1. _Stiff consistency is used for decorations that will be upright, like roses.
  2. Medium consistency is used for stars, borders, and flat petalled flowers. Add 1 tsp of water or milk per cup of stiff icing.
  3. Thin consistency is used for icing, writing and making leaves. Add 2 tsp water or milk per cup of stiff icing. For writing, Wilton recommends that you also add ½ teaspoon of piping gel per cup of thin icing, to help the icing “stretch” and not break as you write.
  4. Frosted cakes will stay fresh in freezer up to six months. Defrost a frozen cake unwrapped to prevent condensation forming on the frosting and ruining it.
  5. This recipe and directions are from Wilton Cake Decorating instruction manuals. For more information, visit their website. _

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