I apologize for being such a lousy blog host lately. Anyone coming here looking for something to cook or bake in the last few weeks has likely been disappointed. I have a huge backlog of recipes to post, and I'm going to try to get them all down in the next week.
Starting with yesterday (and working backward) I would like to talk about these Cheese Braids. I'm a nut for Cheese Danish; I am weak to their power whenever I am around pastries. My children feel the same. I often make these pseudo pastries, but this year decided to go with a bread instead. It was delicious, and since the bread makes four loaves, I sent some home with my mom and brothers on Christmas Eve. I made it Christmas Eve morning and we are still eating it the day after Christmas -- it's just as good leftover. The recipe came from Southern Living magazine. I have a few comments in italics.
By the way, the term braid here is not used correctly (it's not a braid), but don't let that stop you.
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter or margarine, cut into pieces
1 t. salt
2 (1/4-ounce) envelopes active dry yeast
1/2 c. warm water (105° to 115°)
2 large eggs, beaten
4 c. all-purpose flour
Cream Cheese Filling (below)
Powdered Sugar Glaze (below)
Heat first 4 ingredients in a saucepan, stirring occasionally, until butter melts (I did this in the microwave). Cool to 105° to 115°.
Combine yeast and warm water in a large mixing bowl; let stand 5 minutes. Stir in sour cream mixture and eggs; gradually stir in flour (dough will be soft). Cover and chill at least 8 hours (I let it rise for an hour at room temp and then chilled it for 2-3 hours).
Divide dough into fourths. Turn out each portion onto a heavily floured surface, and knead 4 or 5 times.
Roll each portion into a 12- x 8-inch rectangle, and spread each rectangle with one-fourth of Cream Cheese Filling, leaving a 1-inch border around edges. Carefully roll up, starting at a long side; press seam, and fold ends under to seal. Place, seam side down, on lightly greased baking sheets. Cut 6 equally spaced Xs across top of each loaf; cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, about 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.
Bake at 375° for 15 to 20 minutes or until browned. Drizzle warm loaves with Powdered Sugar Glaze (Braids may be frozen -- glaze after thawing.)
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Beat all ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.
Powdered Sugar Glaze
2 1/2 c. powdered sugar
4 T. milk
1/2 t. vanilla