by Heather Harris Brady
At this point we know there’s no escape. This next week is going to be miles of rough road, it’s going to call for coddling and coddling by definition calls for butter and cinnamon. Buckets of butter and cinnamon.
These cinnamon danish are based on one of my old guilty pleasures, the McDonald’s cinnamon danish. I don’t even think they sell them anymore and I haven’t had one in years. So I rebuilt it from memory and it’s pretty close! The pastry is flaky, the filling is loaded with cinnamon and the icing adds vanilla to the mix. I’m cutting some photos below to save length, but if you’re new to bread dough you can find mixing instructions and photos in one of my other bread recipes.
This does need to rise overnight, so start them the day before. you can cut this recipe in half if you like.
Cinnamon Danish, Makes about 30 3″ x 4″ Danish
For the dough
- 4-1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 c. milk
- 1/2 c. water
- 1 egg
- 3 T. butter
- 1 pkt. fast-rising yeast
- 1/2 c. granulated sugar
- 12 T. butter (reserved, at room temp)
For the filling
- 4 T. cinnamon
- 1 c. fine bread crumbs
- 1-1/2 c. brown sugar
- 2/3 c. white sugar
- 5 T. butter
For the glaze
- 3 c. confectioner’s sugar
- 4 t. vanilla
- 2-4 t. water
Make the dough:
Scald the water and milk together in a saucepan, stir in the sugar and 3 T. butter. Cool to lukewarm and stir in the egg, flour and yeast. Let rise until doubled in bulk. Punch down the dough and knead it well, adding flour if necessary to keep it from sticking, until the dough is satiny and elastic. Wash and grease the bowl, put the dough back in, cover it with plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge overnight.
On baking day:
Divide the dough into two equal pieces.
We’ll work with one half at a time. Roll one ball of dough out to 1/4″ thickness. Slice the reserved 12 T. of butter in half, and then take one half and cut it into halves lengthwise. Put it in the middle of the dough.
Fold the dough over the butter, bringing the bottom up and the top down to flop over it.
Yay! We’re laminating! Roll this back out to 1/3″ thick. Repeat the fold, bottom up, top down.
Repeat one more time: roll this back out to 1/3″ thick. Repeat the fold, bottom up, top down. Wrap your now-laminated dough in plastic wrap and put it back in the fridge and repeat the process for the other dough ball.
Preheat the oven to 375. Combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl and mix to fine crumbs.
Get the first ball of dough back out of the fridge. Roll it out to 1/4″ thick.
Let it rest for a few minutes and then cut it into squares. (This waiting period keeps them from shrinking.)
If you want to be proper make an egg wash by beating an egg with 1 T. of water. We’ll use this to seal the edges as we fill. Take a square and add a tablespoon of filling to the center.
Bring opposite corners up to the middle and seal them with egg wash or press them.
Turn the danish seam side down onto a greased cookie sheet. Keep going until you’re done! It will be worth it, trust me.
When the danish have nearly doubled in bulk take a sharp knife and make three slits across the top to show off that pretty filling.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until flaky and golden brown.
Make the glaze while the danish are baking. Stir together the sugar and vanilla, and drizzle in water as needed for the proper pouring consistency.
Lay the baked danish on a cooling rack and drizzle glaze over them contentedly, taking in deep healing breaths of the cinnamon steam as you go. You will immediately feel better.
You will feel better yet when you take a bite.