Ode to New York Part 3 – Cheese Danish

Part 3 of my 4 part series already! Feels like its flying by, and its so hard to just pick 4 New York faves, but these are all amazing picks in my opinion that really represent New York City’s iconic desserts.

We have arrived at another long time favorite of mine – the danish! Some can be filled with cream cheese, some can be filled with fruit, or chocolate if you should be so daring. None the less, these flaky treats make a great partner to that morning coffee, or as an anytime of the day or night snack! What’s great about the danish is that there are so many different variations that it leaves you limitless to your imagination.


I searched far and wide online for the perfect danish recipe that I wanted to try. I didn’t want to be too daring on my first attempt so I played it safe and went for an easy danish recipe that you can create in roughly 30 min (and I mean roughly as it took me a while to figure it out :P). I went back and forth on a braided danish or a spiral design, but in the end chose spiral.

Any bakery, any deli or any diner in New York City you will find some variation of the cheese danish. My husband and I have this one diner in our neighborhood that we always go to on Sunday for breakfast, in between the laundry and the food shopping. It was one of the first places we ate at when he first moved here. It was our first Valentine’s Day, and we shared this creamy lemon chicken – soo good! While the name has changed, this diner still remains, among all of the changes to the area, including a brand new subway line and that’s part of what I love about New York. A timeless classic corner diner, where you know everyone and is very close knit. Long story short, aside from the huge rotating cake display they have by the register, sitting at the bar seats is a basket filled with black and white cookies, sprinkle cookies (jumbo of course) and cheese danish!

This easy recipe I found for this style of danish (link provided at the bottom) said in under 30 minutes you can make this delicious treat at home. What did I have to lose? Lets get to it!

One thing I will say, I did have to make quite a few alterations to this particular recipe and I am not sure why. Not sure if I didn’t follow everything 100%, but I found that I had to adjust measurements for a few things, and I will mention as we go along the steps.

What you will need – coffee optional 🙂

Okay! Preheat that oven to 350 degrees and get yourself 2 baking sheets and line them with parchment paper – set aside as we start creating these little babies.

Pop open your crescent rolls and separate them into rectangles. You will get 4 rectangles per can. Pinch the perforated seam of the 2 triangles that make up your one rectangle so that there are no openings.


Next, you are going to use 1 tbsp of granulated sugar, per can of crescent rolls, and sprinkle lightly over your rectangles. After you have done that, you are going to want to slice your rectangles into 1 x 8 inch strips. Now, for me, these seemed to be about 1 inch short on length, so mine were 1 x 7 inch strips – not entirely sure if that makes that much of a deal, but just an fyi.

With your 1 inch wide strips, you are going to gently lift them and twist each end of the strip in the opposite direction of each other, until you form a loose rope. Spiral the rope around itself to form a spiral/circle. You do not want this to be tight, so you can be very loose when you are doing this process.

Going clockwise starting with the upper left image, how to get the spiral effect

Take your completed spiraled danish and place it on the lined baking sheet, roughly 2 inches apart from each other. This recipe says it serves 8, and I’m not sure how many danish are in a serving as these are quite small. I ended up with roughly 26, so I could of been doing something wrong.

I eventually got the hang of it.

Alright, we have our danish lined up, now it’s time to make the filling. You will need the following:

  • 1 pack of 8oz cream cheese
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • ¾ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp sour cream

In a medium mixing bowl, mix the above ingredients until they are completely incorporated. I don’t think a mixer is necessary, but it may make this step going a little quicker, totally up to you. Set mixture aside.

Take your hands, and make a little well in the center of your danish so that you have space to dollop your cream cheese mixture into before baking. You can stretch the dough a little bit if you like to allot for the cream cheese. Next, take the cream cheese and spoon into the little well you made. The recipe says to place a whole tbsp, but I could barely get 1/2 of a tbsp into each danish. Also, with the one pack of cream cheese I ended up running out of the filling and had to substitute the remaining with a fruit filling – which by the way tasted delicious as well!

Once your danish have been filled, take melted butter, which was not mentioned in the recipe in terms of how much butter to melt, and the brush the crescent dough with the melted butter. Place into the preheated oven until golden brown. The recipe said for 12-15minutes, mine were done in 9min 30sec. If you are unsure on time, check them at like the 9 minute point to see how fast they are baking. I do have a tiny oven, if that even makes a difference, and I also use dark baking sheets.

Before the oven and after baked – smells so good!

I let my danish sit on the cookie sheet for about 2 minutes before placing them on a cooling rack for complete cooling. I would say its best to wait at least 15 minutes before you ice these bad boys.

In a small mixing bowl you are going to add the following:

  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp softened butter

Now, I suggest you wait for the butter to be pretty soft since you want it to incorporate with the rest of the ingredients in your icing. My mixture ended up beings super thick with what the recipe said. I had to add more milk to get a consistency that was pipe-able. I added my milk 1 tbsp at a time until I found my desired consistency, you may have to play this one by ear a bit. I also added a splash of vanilla extract to the icing as it didn’t have quite the right taste for me. Again, this is my variation to the recipe, I feel as though it did help!


When the danish have cooled completely, you can top them with the icing in whichever way works for you. I preferred to take a small ziploc and cut a tiny corner to make a piping bag and iced the danish that way. You can always drizzle on with a fork/spoon – any way works.

Raspberry filled and cream cheese filled, both tasted amazing!

These danish fit in the palm of your hand and are pretty much devoured soon after that! I do hope to try the braided danish at some point in the near future so look out for that!

Follow me on Instagram @Phreya to see all my baked creations!

Easy Cheese Danish – Cakes Cottage.com


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