Rich almond paste is enveloped within each of these tender, flaky pastries, making them the perfect choice for a festive gathering. At first glimpse, guests will know these were a labor of love. —Deirdre Cox, Kansas City, Missouri
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- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup 2% milk
- 1/2 cup butter, cubed
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup cold butter
- ALMOND PASTE:
- 2 cups finely chopped blanched almonds
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 2 egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- In a large bowl, combine 1-1/2 cups flour, sugar, yeast and salt. In a small saucepan, heat milk and cubed butter to 120°-130°. Add to dry ingredients; beat just until moistened. Add eggs; beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a firm dough. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
- Turn onto a heavily floured surface; roll dough into an 18-in. x 12-in. rectangle. Cut cold butter into thin slices. Starting with a short side of dough, arrange half of the butter slices over two-thirds of rectangle to within 1/2 in. of edges.
- Fold unbuttered third of dough over middle third. Fold remaining third over the middle, forming a 12-in. x 6-in. rectangle. Press edges to seal. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll dough into an 18-in. x 12-in. rectangle.
- Repeat steps of dough folding, ending with a 12-in. x 6-in. rectangle, chilling and rolling dough into an 18-in. x 12-in. rectangle three times.
- In a small bowl, combine the almonds, confectioners' sugar, egg whites and almond extract. Set aside. On a floured surface roll dough into a 20-in. square. Cut in half, forming two rectangles.
- Spoon half of the almond paste over one rectangle. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side. Brush edge with egg white; pinch seam to seal. Bring ends of roll towards the center to form a "B" shape. Place seam side down on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough and almond paste.
- Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 40 minutes. Combine egg yolk and water; brush over dough. Sprinkle with sliced almonds.
- Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Yield: 2 loaves (12 slices each).
Originally published as Almond Danish Coffee Cakes in Country Woman Christmas Annual 2011, p34
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