Cream Cheese Kringles for Christmas

     Kringles have their roots in Scandinaia. Early Danish pastries were baked in a pretzel-like shape, but over time a simpler oval shape prevailed. They can be filled with cream cheese or almond paste, nuts and fruit and are a great Christmas treat.
    This recipe uses a no-rise yeast dough that can be made ahead. Assemble and bake right before it is to be served. It may look somewhat difficult but it is a relatively easy project.
     Last year our brother-in-law introduced us to Kringles which we all thought were quite delicious. Shortly after that I found this recipe in a Penzeys magazine . . . and with a few slight adjustments created them  for this year's holiday celebrations.

Cream Cheese Kringles
Dough:
   4 cups all-purpose flour
   1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
   2 tablespoons granulated sugar
   1 teaspoon salt
   1 pkg. (1 scant tablespoon) active dry yeast  
   2 eggs, beaten
   1 cup milk
Cream Cheese Filling:
   1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese
   ½ cup granulated sugar
   1 teaspoon vanilla
   2 to 3 tablespoon seedless raspberry jelly
   1 cup chopped pecans
Glaze:
   2 2/3 cup powdered sugar
   2 tablespoons butter, softened
   4 tablespoons hot water
   1 tablespoon milk
   2 teaspoons vanilla

1.     Put the flour, butter, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Use either the flat blade of an electric mixer or a pastry blend, or your hands to blend together until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is incorporated into the dry ingredients – mixture should resemble coarse meal.
2.     In a separate bowl, mix the dry yeast, beaten eggs, and the milk. Don’t worry that the yeast remains cold as the dough does not go through a typical rise. Add milk mixture to dry ingredients. Mix (with fork or mixer blade) until all ingredients are blended – dough should pull away from the sides and form a ball. You may need to work the final flour into the dough with your hands. Divide it into two pieces, flatten into discs, wrap in plastic wrap and put them into the refrigerator overnight.
3.     Next day, preheat the oven to 350°.
4.     Beat together the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla.
5.     Lightly flour a work surface. Roll out each piece of dough into a rectangle shape (approximately 11” x 15”; 1/8” thick).
6.     Spread half of the cream cheese filling over each piece of dough; add half of the jelly to each and spread evenly over the surface; sprinkle with half the pecans.
7.     Starting from the short ends, roll each side to the center. Pinch the center together and roll the ends under. Carefully transfer to a parchment  or silicon lined cookie sheet (do not grease or spray the sheet).
8.     Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Allow the baked kringles to set a few minutes before carefully transferring to cooling racks.
9.  Glaze: Mix ingredients together and whisk until smooth. Spread or drizzle over slightly cooled   
     kringles.

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