Recipe from A+ Recipes from Hickory Hollow School, submitted by my life-long friend, Deborah Rohrer Heatwole.
Please note, read recipe thoroughly for ingredients list and directions. This is not a quick recipe, but ultimately not too difficult.
1/2 cup warm water
2 Tablespoons yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar (I use raw)
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
4 cups flour, can substitute 1 cup whole wheat
Cream Cheese Filling:
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond flavoring
1 quart fruit filling of your choice if desired
Method: For dough, mix water, yeast, and teaspoon of sugar; set aside. Heat sour cream or yogurt on low until barely bubbly. Add butter, sugar, and salt, stirring until dissolved. Cool to lukewarm. Add eggs, then combine with yeast mixture. Add flour, mixing well. Dough will be very sticky. Cover and refrigerate 8-12 hours.
Cream Cheese Filling: Beat cream cheese, sugar, salt, and vanilla until smooth. (Because I use raw sugar, I gently heat the cream cheese mixture so the sugar dissolves better.) Set aside.
Divide dough into four equal portions. Roll each portion on floured surface into an 8X12-inch rectangle.
Spread 1/4 of cream cheese mixture in the center of each rectangle. Top cream cheese with fruit filling if using.
Cut sides of rectangles in 1 1/2 inch strips. Food over filling , alternating sides to form a braid. Transfer carefully to 2 greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until double. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes. Do not overbake, but be sure the dough is cooked through.
Glaze while still warm with glaze of powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla (or almond) and sprinkle slivered almonds on top, of desired.
You can omit the fruit filling and use just the cream cheese filling for a Cheese danish and/or you can sprinkle chocolate chips over the cream cheese filling before folding the braid.