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Lemon Cream Cheese Danish Braid

It all started when I found some big, beautiful organic blueberries for a steal.  I just could not not buy them. So, of course I went into a Google/Pinterest frenzy trying to find some yummy uses for them.  I was drawn to a few different things, but one recipe that really jumped out was a braided danish. It was a blueberry remake of this Apple one from Annie’s Eats. It reminded me of the Entenmann’s cakes that I used to devour as a child, so, I bookmarked the links and then went back to the daily grind.

Fast forward ~5 days when I had finally carved out a few hours for some nostalgic baking. I pulled out my eggs, flour, sugar, cream cheese, blueberries….’wait where are those darn blueberries?!’  I’ll tell you where—my scattered brain had already used them for blueberry pancakes and then my hubby finished them off in his smoothie. But it didn’t matter. It was too late.  I was already committed and salivating. I forged ahead with the original recipe by Annie, but I didn’t have apples either so we were doing this straight up cream cheese. Frankly, this is how my boys prefer it anyway. There was some talk about using fruit preserves, but I thought that would make it over-the-top sweet like the store bought variety. I switched things up a bit by using dry active yeast and proofing it, thinning out the cream cheese mixture because I didn’t have fruit to cut into the heaviness, and I left out the glaze–instead just doing a generous drizzle of icing on top.

Despite my gross lack of ingredients, this danish turned out amazing. So amazing, in fact, I made it not once; but two days in a row. My husband finished off the last of the first one after returning from the gym famished. This sent my little Asa into a tizzy about how he didn’t get his fair share, because he was busy playing. My boys have yet to learn a concept that I learned very early on: when food is on the table, you better grab as much as you can before your bear of a brother (or in their case, father) eats it all. So I promised him a new batch for breakfast the following morning.

On the second go around I did put a scant amount of chunky cherry preserves on about 1/4 of it. It was a little too sweet, but the extra flavor was worth it to me. I also cut out a substantial amount of butter.  My first braid was pooled in butter when I pulled it out of the oven. I left out 4 Tbl and was still left with some nice buttery flakiness, minus the pool of butter. The recipe below reflects the butter I used on my second try. I plan on tackling the original apple version around Easter time, even if it is not especially seasonal. I highly recommend looking at Annie’s instructional photos. These are very helpful…and pretty :)

 Lemon Cream Cheese Danish Braid Recipe


For the Danish dough:

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
  • 1½ tsp. instant yeast*
  •  ¼ cup sugar
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 1/3 cup milk (Annie uses whole, I used skim)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

*Instant yeast = rapid rise yeast = bread machine yeast

For the butter square:

  • 8 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1 tablespoon pieces
  • 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour

For the cream cheese filling:

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 Tbl. sour cream
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp. sugar

For the drizzle:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tbsp. milk, plus more as needed



If you are using instant yeast, skip this step.

If  you are using active dry yeast:  Warm the milk slightly. Test it like you would a baby’s bottle. If feels hot, it’s too hot.  You want just warm.  Mix in a sprinkle of sugar and then scatter the yeast over the top. Mix lightly and let sit for 5 minutes, or until frothy.

To make the dough, combine 1¼ cups of the flour in a bowl with the yeast, sugar, and salt. Place the milk and egg in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture and knead until a smooth ball of dough forms, about 7-8 minutes. (The dough should be sticky but if more dough sticks to the bowl than the dough hook, add the remaining ¼ cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time as needed.) Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

To make the butter square, toss together the butter pieces and dough on a clean work surface. Smear the butter back and forth using a bench scraper against the work surface until they have combined into a smooth homogenous mixture. Wrap the butter mixture in plastic wrap and use the edges of the plastic to form it into a 5-inch square.  Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.

Lightly dust a work surface with flour. Lay the chilled dough on the work surface and roll into a 9-inch square. Place the butter square diagonally on top the dough and remove the plastic wrap. Fold the corners of dough over the butter so that they meet in the middle of the butter square.  Pinch the ends of the dough together to seal. Using a rolling pin , tap the dough from the center outward until the butter begins to soften and become malleable. Gently roll the dough into an 11-inch square, re-flouring the work surface as necessary to prevent sticking. Fold the outside edges of the dough in toward the center in thirds, one overlapping the other, like a business letter. Repeat this process folding the other direction to make a square.  (This completes two turns.) Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Roll the dough into an 11-inch square once more and repeat the two turns as before (business letter, then square). Wrap in plastic wrap again and chill once more for at least 4 hours.  (At this point the dough can be refrigerated overnight).

To make the cream cheese filling, combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Mix well until smooth and blended.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

When you are ready to shape and bake the danish, preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Roll the chilled dough into a 14-inch square on a large, floured sheet of parchment paper. (Annie warns to flour generously as she had some stickage issues. I did not flour too heavily and it wasn’t a problem. I did add that extra 1/4 c of flour while making the dough though so maybe that was the difference. I also cut down the butter so there’s that too.)

Spread the cream cheese filling evenly down the middle third of the dough. Spread any fruits or preserves that you are using over the cream cheese mixture.

Using a pizza cutter or a paring knife, cut the outer thirds of dough into ¾-inch strips so that the cuts are diagonal to the filling.  Alternating sides, fold the strips of dough over the filling, crisscrossing the strips over the center, until the entire Danish is braided.

***Because my dough base was not that wide as Annie’s somehow, I improvised with this shorter strip method used here by Deb @ Smitten Kitchen. She just cuts the strips straight out rather than on a diagonal. ***

Transfer the braid, still on the parchment, to a baking sheet.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and rise at room temperature until slightly puffy (it will not double), about 30 minutes. (I forgot to let it rise both times, and it didn’t really affect mine. They were both still fluffy and flaky.) Bake until the braid is golden brown, 22-25 minutes, rotating halfway through baking.

To make the drizzle, combine the confectioners’ sugar and milk in a small bowl and whisk until smooth. Add more milk 1 teaspoon at a time as needed to make it a drizzle-able consistency. Drizzle over the finished braid. Slice crosswise and serve.


Hope you enjoy this lemon cream cheese Danish braid – my family sure did!




Online Deals - April 21, 2012 - 9:46 pm

thanks for your post and excellent Lemon Cream Cheese Danish Braid
yummy look
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Handmade Thursdays: Mini Blinds Roman Shade

So this week I didn’t make anything that I can share with you because I’m working on a very special project…… it’s a secret for now so you’re just going to have to wait!

Today I have something I found that I think is really cool and just had to share. I was looking around for some really cool home decor ideas because I used the write for a website all about things for the home and loved it.  Wanting to get back to writing and sharing ideas on interior design, I stumbled upon this diy for Roman Shades. I’ve always loved Roman Shades but they are difficult to make and take a good amount of time.  Megan from Homemade Ginger created these shades using mini blinds {you heard me right: mini blinds!} as opposed the the standard way of creating them. Her tutorial is a great one and a really awesome idea I’m going to have to try. Since I’m a bit busy it’ll have to wait so for now, here’s the tutorial from Homemade Ginger:

Doesn’t this look great? I can’t wait to work on one of my own. For the full mini blinds roman shade tutorial, go here and check out Megan’s other tutorials.



Wedding Trends: The Altar


The altar is a deeply personal and important component of the wedding. It is the exact place where the couple will be married. It’s where the groom will see the bride for the first time and where they will stand alone in front of their guests to say their “I do’s”. It’s the pinnacle of the wedding, because it truly is what the wedding is all about. The altar carries deep religious meaning as the place where a man and a woman become one. It is the tabernacle for both Christians and Jews, and therefore it is seen this way in America and generally all of western civilization. Although the meaning of the altar has remained constant throughout the years, the design and decor of this splendid spot has changed a great deal. It follows fads like all other elements of the wedding, but always remains beautiful.

The altar is generally natural in some way. This usually mean flowers and wood.

Whether covered in flowers…….

or simply adorned with a few, the altar rarely is without them. Sometimes, in fact, they may be made of flowers entirely.

This can mean flowing with vines……..

or simply covered from top to bottom with only flowers.

No matter what the them of the wedding may be, just as flowers work in every wedding, flowers work on every altar.

It’s simply a matter of finding the right kind in the right amount.

If the couple wants their altar to be natural but doesn’t wish to use flowers (or wants something to accompany them), then wood is their best choice. Wood is beautiful and fitting of most weddings. There are many options when using wood as well.

An altar can be built of wood bought from the store to give a finished and orderly look.

Or, tree branches can be bundled together into a tabernacle.

Or, a natural piece of wood can make for a great accent.

If the trees used are skinny enough (such as Aspen trees), then, the entire trees themselves can be used.

For a ornate and natural look, many thin branches and twigs can be fastened together as well.

There’s a reason many things are built out of wood and altars are no exception.

Whether intricate or simple, wood just makes things more beautiful.

For the bride and groom who wish to use something other than wood for their altar, metal is the most popular option.

Metal can be intricately decorated in ways that is difficult on wood, so it is a good option for chic and vintage weddings.

It can also make the altar stand out a bit more than others, since most are made of wood.

You can also get metal altars in several colors, while wood offers limited choices. So, the curly iron and pointed designs may have perks that some couples may be looking for.

As you may have guessed, altars can be done in more ways than simply wood or metal. They can be done as simple as cloth thrown over a tree branch.

Or, as whimsical as mantel brought outdoors.

Or, you can even bring the church outside.

Or, you can turn your ceremony venue into the altar itself. The possibilities are endless when you a little bit of creativity.

Once the material and design of the altar has been decided, its decor comes next. Although flowers usually a given decoration, there are many other things that can prettify (yes, that is a real word ;)) your altar, too.

The decoration second only to flowers is fabric. This can come in many forms, though. Usually it’s one or a few sheets adding some detail to the altar.

But, it can also be the only ornament. The type of fabric used also greatly varies.

From sheer flowing linens to lush curtains, the design is entirely up to those marrying under them.

Burlap is sweet for rustic weddings.

And lace is beautiful for vintage affairs.

Flowing streamers are ideal for the beach.

Full curtains can also be used as well to bring indoor luxury outdoors.

How simple or furnished the couple wishes for it to be is entirely up to them.

Along with fabric is the new use of signs.

It is where the actual wedding takes place and couples want to mark it with something extra special. So, many use signs. Just remember to keep it loving simple, so your guests can appreciate it.

And, if the wedding is taking place in the evening, a string of lights……

or candles are the perfect accent to illuminate the altar and the bride and groom for the congregation.

The last thing to take into consideration when designing an altar is the weather and location of the wedding. If the wedding is in the mountains, flowers that naturally grow around there may be a lovely way to incorporate the location into the wedding.

Or, if autumn is beginning, use dark colors along with autumn colors.

Of course, along with the ideas of dressing up the altar, you can always get married in the church where the altar will always be.

It’s comforting to know you can walk back to the exact place where you were married with everything in the exact place as it was on your wedding day. Besides religious reasons, it’s a great reason to be married in the church.

No matter how design your altar and how you adorn it, use it for its significance above all. It’s the place where two people are joined forever and it should be only about that important fact.



photos via Style Me Pretty


Rita Nava - July 3, 2012 - 11:24 pm

My daughter is getting married in Dallas on Sept 1st. We would like a simple altar with branches like the 2nd or 7th one. How can we find someone or place to help us make it or order it? Could you recommend a florist or a place that could help us out?
Hope to hear from you soon.
Rita Nava.

Al - May 22, 2012 - 3:06 am

These are really great ideas for wedding altars! Love the natural looks of using wood limbs for a more do it yourself look. Very pretty with pops of flowers and string lights.

Claire - April 16, 2012 - 10:54 am

@Charlotte – glad you like it! i do love finding pretty pictures, because those make great pins. thanks for reading!

Charlotte - April 16, 2012 - 6:40 am

Thanks for posting this great post! I’ve been pinning like crazy :) Have a great day!
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Angel Collins - February 21, 2012 - 10:52 am

Such a great place for the partners where they can say “I DO”

Angel Collins - February 21, 2012 - 6:42 am

Great photo shots and nice wedding venues!!
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Wedding Videos - February 20, 2012 - 7:07 am

Great altar photography. All altars are different but original and that’s how it should be. Like the marriage, has to be unique. X

Wedding of the Week: Dashing DIY

Hello everyone! Sorry about the lack of posts this week. Us pretty girls have been up to quite a bit with new work, school planning for the spring, kids and of course, Valentine’s Day. I’m back from the business with something good, though! We love everything DIY here, especially weddings. This particular one is done so well that I would take it over any grand, expensive wedding any day. I hope you fall in love with this simple British wedding as much as I did!




photos @ Style Me Pretty


Bridal Dresses: The Vintage Wedding Dress Company ~ Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo ~ Bridesmaid Dresses: Coast & French Connection ~ Groom’s Suit:Henry Herbert Tailors ~ Flowers: Cherub Florists ~ Wedding Design & Planning:Luella’s Boudoir ~ Invitations & Handmade Details: Keep Calm Gallery ~ Wedding Photography: Lisa Devlin Photography ~ Ceremony & Reception Location: Alpheton Hall Barns ~ Cupcakes & Wedding Cake: Queen of Cupcakes ~ Catering: Gemma Haining



Big Tea Giveaway from Renovation Tea!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! We decided to do something sweet for our readers on this day of love, and thought you deserved a giveaway! This is for the tea lovers out there brought to you by Renovation Tea. Renovation Tea specializes in teas that do just as they say, renovate you. From headaches to weight loss to menopause to fibromyalgia, you can find help for many ailments. Allow herbs to relieve problems in your body tastily and naturally. Our giveaway consists of four 2.6 oz bags of this lovely tea for one reader. The teas included are:

To enter, just follow the directions in the entry form below! Good luck to everyone! Happy Valentine’s Day!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Deana - March 28, 2012 - 8:39 pm

Ideal for date and even for a family gathering. This was made perfectly to blend nutrition and at the same detoxify your body to eliminate bad cholesterol that will cause you a health problem.
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