Cardamom & Cinnamon Cappuccino Cheese Danishes
May 12, 2022
Wake up to your morning coffee inside of a pastry! These cappuccino cream cheese danishes feature a flavorful filling, spiced with cinnamon and cardamom, and utilize frozen puff pastry for an easy treat.
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Whenever I’m in a lull for new baking ideas, I always come back to puff pastry. The blank slate really works as a creativity exercise, allowing me to experiment in each little square with different fillings, toppings, and shapes. For these danishes, I kept the shape simple, but definitely tried something a bit new with the filling.
The idea started simply with brewed espresso and cream cheese. But after doing some research on how coffee is served in other cultures, I really fell in love with the idea of Middle Eastern preparations, which feature spices like the cinnamon and cardamom used here.
What You Need to Get Started
You can easily find all of the ingredients for these spiced cappuccino cheese danishes at your grocery store:
- Fridge: Frozen puff pastry (I used Pepperidge Farm), Cream cheese, Egg, Milk
- Pantry: Granulated sugar, Espresso, Powdered sugar
- Spice Rack: Cinnamon, Cardamom
- Equipment: Rolling pin, Sheet pan, Parchment paper, Stand mixer or hand mixer, Pastry brush, Cooling rack
How to Prepare Your Puff Pastry
This recipe utilizes frozen puff pastry, which means you can get delicious, airy danishes without doing too much work. However, if you are adventurous and want to make your own puff pastry from scratch, feel free! I bet it will make these tiny treats even more tasty.
However, I tried that once, and now I pretty much stick to the frozen variety. Similar results for way less effort. Where are all my fellow lazy bakers at? You will want to allow the puff pastry to thaw according to the package instructions before working with it.
If you are not comfortable with puff pastry already, I have put together a full guide with tons of tips for working with this frozen dough. Definitely give that a quick once-over before getting started here.
Once it’s ready to work with, roll each sheet into about a 12- by 12-inch square. The exact size isn’t super important, but it will help you get more uniform and better shaped danishes. Use a sharp knife, pizza cutter, or bench scraper to slice each sheet into sixteen squares.
At this point, you can place the squares onto parchment-lined sheet pans, so you won’t need to transfer them later. Or you could simply use parchment on your work surface, and use that to help you get the pastries onto your sheet pan after filling.
To prepare the pastry, use a fork to gently poke holes around the edges of each puff pastry square. You will want to leave about a quarter-inch border. Also, be sure that you are not pressing the holes all the way through the pastry.
This is called docking, and it helps create vents for the steam to escape while the danishes are baking. Puff pastry is made with layers of butter and flour. As the butter heats up, the water in it turns to steam and expands, creating those airy pockets.
Let’s Make Spiced Cappuccino Cheese Filling
While your puff pastry is thawing, it’s a great time to prepare the filling. You don’t want your pastry sheets to sit out at room temperature for too long, as this can cause the butter in them to soften. If needed, you can always place your puff pastry in the fridge to chill at any point.
We’re making a variation on a pretty standard cheese danish filling, featuring cream cheese and sugar. I love the tang that cream cheese adds to everything it’s a part of, so it tends to be one of my favorite bases for pastry filling.
Use your stand mixer with a paddle attachment or hand mixer with beaters to begin softening the cream cheese along with the sugar on a low speed. Allow it to mix up for a minute or so, until the cream cheese has softened and the sugar is well combined in it.
Now let’s add in all of that delicious flavor: espresso, cinnamon, and cardamom. For the espresso, freshly brewed will work best, but let it cool for about five minutes so it’s not steaming hot.
The cinnamon and cardamom are both flavors that will complement the coffee and the cream cheese. And because of their association with apple-flavored treats, you may even think you taste some fruitiness in these danishes. But there are no actual apples here!
Continue mixing the filling on a medium-low speed for about two to three minutes. Pause to scrape down the sides of the bowl, and be sure that everything is getting incorporated. Then continue mixing for another couple minutes until the cream cheese begins to smooth out.
Finishing and Baking the Pastries
Let the finished filling sit for about five additional minutes so that it has some time to thicken slightly. Use a spatula to continue scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl, checking for any cream cheese that got missed.
The texture of the filling once it is ready will be spreadable, but it shouldn’t be so liquidy that it flows on its own. If needed, you can place the entire mixer bowl in the refrigerator for about five minutes to help it thicken.
Then, spoon about a tablespoon or so of the cream cheese filling into the center of each puff pastry square. Using the docking as a guide, spread the filling toward the edges, but be sure to leave that border uncovered. If some drips over the edge, just scrape it up.
Now, crack a single egg into a small bowl and beat it well with a fork or very small whisk. You will likely not use the entire egg, so if you prefer to use only the white or yolk for the egg wash, that’s fine. Then you can use the remaining half for another purpose.
Dip a pastry brush into the egg, and then carefully spread it along the exposed borders of each puff pastry piece. The egg wash is important because it is what gives the baked pastry that delightfully golden color.
Bake the pastries for right around ten minutes. You will know that they are done when the pastry has puffed up and the edges are golden. If you prefer yours a little more well-done and crispy, you can give them an additional minute or so.
Remove the pan from the oven, and let the danishes sit undisturbed for a couple minutes. At this point, the centers of the pastry where the filling is will have sunk down, leaving the raised puffy edges around the outside. Then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
While the pastries are cooling, you can make the simple glaze. Add powdered sugar to a small mixing bowl. Then, slowly add in the milk, stirring as you go, until you reach a drizzling consistency. Use a spoon or whisk to drizzle the glaze over the cooled danishes.
When planning out your baking, keep in mind that baked danishes are best served the day they are made. I don’t recommend finishing these far in advance of serving them. However, if you do end up with leftovers, they can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature for a day.
If you need to prep in advance, I suggest that you shape and fill the dough. Then you can chill the danishes in the fridge overnight. For longer storage, freeze them for up to a couple weeks. If you are freezing, thaw the pastries in the fridge overnight. Either way, add the egg wash, bake, and glaze the danishes just before serving.
You can also store the filling in a sealed container in the fridge for a couple days, which can save you some effort on baking day. Whip it up in the mixer for a minute or so on low speed before filling the danishes and continuing with the recipe.
Cappuccino cheese danishes combine breakfast and coffee into one super flavorful bite, featuring cinnamon, cardamom, and puff pastry!
How to Serve Cappuccino Cheese Danishes
Enjoy a plateful of these alongside a cup of coffee, of course! They are perfect for breakfast, whether you are serving a simple continental style for a grab-and-go morning, or you want a fancy starter for a three-course brunch. Try them with a vanilla spiced cold brew when it’s warm, or honey chestnut cafe au lait on chillier days.
These sweet little cappuccino cheese danishes can also make an excellent dessert. Because you can prep them in advance, and then bake to serve, you can get them to guests with a simple cocktail, stat. I like them stacked next to a chocolate old fashioned or white russian hot cocoa for something cozy.
Use Up Leftover Ingredients
- Extra puff pastry and cream cheese can find a new home in Sour Cherry Cheesecake Napoleons.
- Or try using leftover cream cheese to make a decadent Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake.
- Espresso can be used in plenty of unique recipes, or a simple Caramel Vanilla Iced Latte.
- Use cinnamon as an excuse to make some gooey Multigrain Cocoa Cinnamon Rolls.
- Or add both cinnamon and cardamom to spice up an Apple Strudel with Phyllo.
Cardamom & Cinnamon Cappuccino Cheese Danishes
- 2 sheets Frozen Puff Pastry
- 8 oz Plain Cream Cheese
- ½ cup Sugar
- 2 oz Freshly Brewed Espresso slightly cooled
- ½ tbsp Cinnamon
- ¼ tsp Cardamom
- 1 Egg beaten
- ¼ Cup Powdered Sugar
- 3-6 tsp Milk
- Preheat the oven to 400°F with a rack in the center.
- Allow the puff pastry to thaw according to the package instructions. Once it's ready to work with, roll each sheet into approximately a 12x12-inch square. Slice each sheet into 16 squares and place onto parchment lined sheet pans.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese and sugar together on low until combined and the cream cheese is slightly softened.
- Add in the espresso, cinnamon, and cardamom. Continue mixing on medium-low until smooth and combined, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides partway through. Let sit for an additional 5 minutes to thicken slightly.
- Use a fork to gently poke holes around the edges of each puff pastry square, leaving a ¼-inch border. The holes should go about halfway through the puff pastry.
- Spoon about 1 Tbsp of the cream cheese filling into the center of each puff pastry square, and spread just to the border of holes.
- Using a pastry brush, carefully egg wash the exposed puff pastry. You will likely not use the entire egg.
- Bake for 9-12 minutes, until the pastry has puffed up and the edges are golden. Let sit on the pan for 2-4 minutes, until the centers of the pastry where the filling is have sunk down. Then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- While the pastries are cooling, add the powdered sugar to a small mixing bowl. Slowly add in the milk, stirring to combine, until you reach a drizzling consistency. Drizzle over the cooled pastries.
- Using puff pastry: Discover more tips and advice on how to work with frozen puff pastry, including some more fun shapes to try.
- Make ahead tips:
- Baked pastries are best served the day it's made. I do not recommend planning to bake these in advance of serving them. If you have leftovers, they can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 1 day.
- If you need to prep in advance, you can shape and fill the dough, and chill in the fridge it overnight or freeze for up to 2 weeks. If frozen, thaw in the fridge overnight. Then add the egg wash and bake just before serving.
- You can store the filling in a sealed container in the fridge for 1-2 days. Whip it up for a minute or so on low speed before filling.