Cinnamon-Sugar Crust Cream Cheese and Jelly Danish Squares

I have fond memories of going to the local bakery as a child and eating danishes. I would eat one jelly danish before we even left the bakery and then I would polish off a cream cheese danish on the car ride home.

When you’re a kid and play sports seven days a week you can polish off danishes like it’s your job. I wish I could get that job again.

Cinnamon Sugar Crust Cream Cheese and Jelly Danish Squares - A jelly danish sandwiched between flaky layers of cinnamon-sugar crust that will make even crust haters want more crust! So good & so easy!

And in high school and college, I could do some major damage on Entenmann’s danishes and crumb cakes.  With danishes, I love the filling that’s encased within layers of dough and the density and heaviness.

I don’t go for light and airy desserts. I go for thick, dense, heavy slabs. The kind of heavy tonnage that makes you wonder how on earth an 8-by-8-inch baking pan weighs 14 pounds as you’re hoisting it into the oven.

Butter, sugar, cream cheese, jelly, and dough will do that.

Cinnamon Sugar Crust Cream Cheese and Jelly Danish Squares - A jelly danish sandwiched between flaky layers of cinnamon-sugar crust that will make even crust haters want more crust! So good & so easy!

But it’s the crust that really sold me on this one and normally I avoid crust. It’s usually boring and dry.

Since I just made mango and streuesel-topped muffins and cinnamon bun crumble-topped pie, I wanted to mix it up with this one and make a solid layer of crust that’s as flavorful as a crumble topping, while avoiding any blandness or dryness.

The resulting crust is a solid wall of butter, sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon. The best kind of wall, and it’ definitely not boring, bland, or dry.

Cinnamon Sugar Crust Cream Cheese and Jelly Danish Squares - A jelly danish sandwiched between flaky layers of cinnamon-sugar crust that will make even crust haters want more crust! So good & so easy!

In each bite there’s a little cream cheese and a little jelly, and there’s softness and squishy tenderness.

And then there’s the robustly flavored cinnamon and sugar crust, which is a little bit crunchy and the perfect contrast to the soft filling.

Cinnamon Sugar Crust Cream Cheese and Jelly Danish Squares - A jelly danish sandwiched between flaky layers of cinnamon-sugar crust that will make even crust haters want more crust! So good & so easy!

The best part of these is that they’re easy and use a shortcut.

It’s called a can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls.

Cinnamon Sugar Crust Cream Cheese and Jelly Danish Squares - A jelly danish sandwiched between flaky layers of cinnamon-sugar crust that will make even crust haters want more crust! So good & so easy!

I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be playing with my daughter, outside enjoying the fresh air, organizing my sock drawer, or doing just about anything other than making and rolling out pastry dough.

I’m all about baking and I like a good project and challenge, and I have the utmost respect for Christina Tosi who appears to enjoy making things as complicated as multi-staged as possibly, but I just don’t have the time and energy. Hello, shortcut.

Cinnamon Sugar Crust Cream Cheese and Jelly Danish Squares - A jelly danish sandwiched between flaky layers of cinnamon-sugar crust that will make even crust haters want more crust! So good & so easy!

I’m all about the shortest distance between two points.

Those points would be me and a bite of this.

Cinnamon Sugar Crust Cream Cheese and Jelly Danish Squares - A jelly danish sandwiched between flaky layers of cinnamon-sugar crust that will make even crust haters want more crust! So good & so easy!

Cinnamon Sugar Crust Cream Cheese and Jelly Danish Squares - A jelly danish sandwiched between flaky layers of cinnamon-sugar crust that will make even crust haters want more crust! So good & so easy!

Cinnamon Sugar Crust Cream Cheese and Jelly Danish Squares - A jelly danish sandwiched between flaky layers of cinnamon-sugar crust that will make even crust haters want more crust! So good & so easy!

Print Print Recipe

Cinnamon-Sugar Crust Cream Cheese and Jelly Danish Squares

A jelly danish sandwiched between flaky layers of cinnamon-sugar crust that will make even crust haters want more crust! So good and so easy! Make it for your next brunch or event and everyone will be so impressed with how it tastes like a bakery-quality pastry, and you don't have to tell them how fast and simple it is to make.

Yield: one 8x8-inch pan, 9 generous pieces

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: about 37 to 41 minutes

Total Time: 1+ hour, for cooling

Ingredients:

1 can refrigerated crescent rolls, 8-count (I used Pillsbury Original)

8 ounces cream cheese, softened (I used Trader Joe's Whipped Light)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3/4 cup jelly or jam (I used a raspberry preserves and strawberry jelly combination)

1/4 cup unsatled butter, melted (half of one stick)

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed

2 teaspoons cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F, line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray; set aside.

Open the can of crescent rolls and carefully unfold and unwrap them onto counter top or flat work surface. Take half the dough (4 triangles) and line bottom of prepared pan like a big blanket. Use your fingers to massage dough into corners and squeeze together large seams or gaps. It doesn't have to be perfect but seal gaps as best you can.

In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, vanilla, and stir vigorously until combined. Pour mixture over the crescent rolls. Add jelly over the top of the cream cheese layer by drizzling it or picking up large chunks with your fingers and dropping over the cream cheese. Try to create a zig-zag pattern or disperse the jelly evenly over the pan. Top with the remaining crescent roll dough (4 triangles). Use your fingers to massage dough into corners and squeeze together large seams or gaps. It doesn't have to be perfect but seal gaps as best you can.

In a small microwave-safe bowl (the same bowl the cream cheese was in is fine), add the butter and melt it, about 60 to 90 seconds on high power. Pour the melted butter over the dough.

In a small bowl (same one is fine), combine 1/4 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and stir. Sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mixture over the top of the buttered dough. Bake for 37 to 41 minutes, or until dough has puffed, browned, butter is boiling, and edges show signs of barely browning. There will likely be a pool of butter in places; this is fine, normal, and it will soak in as danish cools. Do not allow the pooled butter to fool you into thinking these aren't done enough. Allow danish to cool on the counter for 1 hour. Then place pan in the refrigerator to cool for at least 2 hours before slicing and serving (I chill them overnight). If you do not refrigerate them before slicing, you will have a mess and will not get clean cuts. Store extra danish in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. If desired, heat for a few seconds in the microwave before serving but I like to serve these chilled or let them come to room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.

Related Recipes

Cinnamon Bun Pie – best cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had and they use a shortcut

Mango and Sour Cream Muffins with Streusel Topping

Creamy Mixed Berry Crumble Bars – Cream cheese and berries, you’d think very similar to the danish with cream cheese and jelly, but in reality very different tasting

Coconut Spice Cheesecake Bars – Spice Cake meets Cheesecake meets shortcut – dense and I love this one

   

85 Responses to “Cinnamon-Sugar Crust Cream Cheese and Jelly Danish Squares”

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    Jess — July 8, 2012 at 1:35 am

    I hear you on the short cuts, they usually do wonders for the end results with my cooking!!! These look so good.

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    Lynna H. — July 8, 2012 at 1:36 am

    Looks so good! I love danishes too! I would love having a that job as well! How WOULDN`T?! ;)

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    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — July 8, 2012 at 3:48 am

    Oh boy! These look so sweet and delicious! Love it!

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    Erica — July 8, 2012 at 3:54 am

    Sweet deliciousness! I totally miss being a kid and being able to eat it all too. I was the sugar cookie QUEEN! Yummy recipe.

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    lindsay — July 8, 2012 at 4:50 am

    so clever! i love the crust idea, and i am not a huge crust fan as well. baking shortcuts are the way to go!

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    Laura Dembowski — July 8, 2012 at 5:26 am

    Yum! I love danish but haven’t had it in years and have never made it. I respect a good shortcut, but personally I love making everything from scratch. Of course as my life changes that too may change.

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    vanillasugarblog — July 8, 2012 at 6:16 am

    perfect with my espresso right now!

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    Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel — July 8, 2012 at 7:37 am

    Mmm, I’ve made these before, minus the jelly BUT the jelly sounds like a wonderful addition! Jelly plus cream cheese and brown sugar + cinnamon equals SO DELICIOUS. And I totally wish I had my kid job back as eating a bag of Circus animal cookies clean to the crumbs and enjoying milkshakes like nobody’s business.

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      Averie @ Averie Cooks — July 8, 2012 at 9:35 am

      frosted animal crackers…now there’s a childhood memory! Loved those things!

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    Melissa (Better Fit) — July 8, 2012 at 7:46 am

    My childhood bakery memories are mostly of the Canadian institution Tim Horton’s. My dad used to take my brother and I for a bike ride on a Sunday morning while my mom slept in, and we’d have a pitstop at Timmies. I’d have a colourful sprinkled donut and a chocolate milk. Definitely good memories!

    I don’t poo poo shortcuts!

    • #
      Averie @ Averie Cooks — July 8, 2012 at 9:35 am

      Our neighbor owns many Tim Horton’s in Canada and I’ve been able to try lots of their stuff…so good!

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    Erin Motz — July 8, 2012 at 8:55 am

    Thank goodness for shortcuts! I use ‘em all the time – usually in crusts (pizzas, pies, etc.) and other stuff that requires that type of foundation. Although this crust you’ve made sounds delicious and easy.. I’d like to build the walls of my home with it, please. Can you write a recipe for that? ;)

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    Sally @ sallys baking addiction — July 8, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Averie, you can just SEE the moist, buttery softness of the crust. I am a new fan of using crescent rolls in baked goods – they are really the most convenient shortcut ingredient! And those E danishes… oh man, I can NOT get enough of them. I don’t eat them much anymore for some reason, but I would love to remake a homemade version just like them. I love raspberry danishes the most, so your choice of preserves in these guys has me nearly drooling over my keyboard. And you weren’t kidding when you told me your next recipe would be heavily dusted with a cinny-sugar mixture! I truly love everything about these and MUST remake them.

    Sidenote: I’ve never baked with whipped cream cheese. I have a CC recipe coming up soon and I used regular light cream cheese. I guess it depends on the recipe if whipped would work as an alternative. It sure worked in these!

    • #
      Averie @ Averie Cooks — July 8, 2012 at 9:32 am

      It’s too funny that you posted about Entenmann’s & cinnamon sugar b/c I knew I had this post waiting. I was going to post it last week but it got bumped for homemade PB & the giveaway and we were definitely on the same wavelength!

      Whipped vs. just regular softened cream cheese (either fullfat or light) – I honestly don’t find much of a difference b/c in all the cream cheese baking I do, I want it softened and then I mix, beat, or whip it with something anyway. And the whipped sort of saves me a step and makes the job easier. If I combine it with a can of sweetened cond milk like I do in lots of bars or a recipe like this, it just spreads easier and is easier to work with, without have to drag out a mixer.

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    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts — July 8, 2012 at 10:03 am

    I love a good shortcut! These look incredible! Wish I could go back to those high school days were I could eat everything! Somehow time has caught up with me :(

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    purelymichelle — July 8, 2012 at 11:08 am

    I have never really been a danish fan. Normally like pancakes for breakfast. But these sound amazing, my dad loves danishes I will have to make these for him next time I am home!

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    Anonymous J — July 8, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    Hello Averie – I just found your blog yesterday, and I am obsessed! So amazing!

    So…you’re going to think I’m weird, but a little background. Many moons ago when I broke up with my boyfriend, I baked him a cake to “soften the blow” so to speak (and it was a dang GOOD cake might I add!). Along these lines, I was thinking of doing the same tomorrow for my bosses (very laid back work environment) when I give my one month’s notice (got into grad school!!).

    I settled on your smores bars, with a few adjustments – 1) I’m not a big cereal eater so did not want to go buy the krispies, so I did it with shredded coconut instead. 2) I only had natural pb, so used that.

    Averie, ooooh. myyyyy. goooodess. These bars are the best thing I have ever had in my whole entire life. Wow! Thanks so much for sharing the recipe. One question though – How ever am I going to hold back from eating the entire pan before my staff meeting tomorrow?!?!

    • #
      Averie @ Averie Cooks — July 8, 2012 at 12:34 pm

      Thanks for finding me and for the great comment! I think you’re the only (nicest!) person in the world to bake her almost ex-BF a cake when breaking up with him!

      Glad the smores bars were a hit. Good thinking on the coconut flakes! Good luck on saving them for Monday :)

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    kelley {mountain mama cooks} — July 8, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    I loved Entenmanns too! I haven’t had one of those pastries in ages but it reminds me of going to our cabin. My dad always picked one up to take with us! So darn good. This looks delicious, Averie!

    • #
      Averie @ Averie Cooks — July 8, 2012 at 12:32 pm

      And I just ran past a big Entenmann’s delivery truck this morning past a local grocery store…made me hungry!

  16. #
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    Jenn @therebelchick — July 8, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    These look absolutely amazing!!

  17. #
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    Hannah — July 8, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    I’ve never seen a dessert quite like this before, but it sounds like all the best parts of a cheesecake, tea time pastry, and jam sandwich combined!

    • #
      Averie @ Averie Cooks — July 8, 2012 at 3:03 pm

      Nothing like the handmade every.single.detail you can turn out, but for a busy mama with lots going on, it worked :)

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    luv what you do — July 8, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Wow!
    Those look absolutely incredible! You are a true pastry genius!

    • #
      Averie @ Averie Cooks — July 8, 2012 at 3:03 pm

      Far from genius, just creative in how to save some time & turn out something delish but that was easy!

  19. #
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    Laura (Tutti Dolci) — July 8, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    These look so good, Averie! We used to have Entenmann’s growing up as a special treat every once and a while. I love the cream cheese and jelly combo!

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    Ruby — July 8, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    These look amazing, but what are crescent rolls? Are they like croissants, or completely different?

    • #
      Averie @ Averie Cooks — July 8, 2012 at 3:09 pm

      there’s a link to them in the post so you can sort of see but they are like croissants in a way, slightly less “layer-ey” with tons and tons of dough, but similar. Something in between a buttery roll and a croissant. You buy them in the refrigerated section of the grocery store but either puff pastry or refrigerated croissants or some other similar bread/roll would likely work if you don’t have them. Use something easy and pre-made from your grocer’s refrigerated or freezer case :)

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    Marina@ Picnic at Marina — July 8, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Hi Averie, no, I don’t like danish rolls, too sweet for me, and too messy… Baking shortcuts? Well, for that I have to learn how to bake first…:) I made your no bake little balls again, this time I changed oatmeal to be gluten free, and I twisted the recipe again…. (don’t hate me, please) :) Have a great week! :)

    • #
      Averie @ Averie Cooks — July 8, 2012 at 10:11 pm

      You don’t like sweets and don’t bake much and like savory stuff…I gotcha. You can handle the savory stuff, I’ll take care of the sweets. Have a great week, too :)

    • #
      Marina@ Picnic at Marina — July 8, 2012 at 10:13 pm

      I like that! :)

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    Paula — July 8, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    I never would have guessed the shortcut was crescent rolls!! I’ve made some veggie-cream cheese appetizer squares with crescent rolls, but I haven’t ever used them for something sweet. I love that thick layer of filling. Shortcuts are welcome in my kitchen–especially when the box or can of whatever I need is on sale.

    • #
      Averie @ Averie Cooks — July 8, 2012 at 10:08 pm

      Try them with something sweet…sort of like puff pastry, can go either savory or sweet. Blank dough = blank canvas!

  23. #
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    Michele Sparrow — July 8, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    O.M.G. These look like something I would love to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I had just been over at Foodgawker and was reading something from Sally’s Baking Addiction that was so similar to your recipe tonight…musst be in the air. Anything that has cinnamon and sugar, yes, please, thank you! These look absolutely amazing! I just happen to have ALL the ingredients on hand. I always have ready made crescent rolls in my fridge! Can you say “breakfast for 2 teenage boys?” :-)

    • #
      Averie @ Averie Cooks — July 8, 2012 at 10:08 pm

      Omg TOO FUNNY! Sally & I are friends and I emailed her the minute after that post of hers went live and told her I had one on standby with a cinn/sugar crust and was going to post it last week but it got bumped for the homemade PB and the food proc giveaway.

      And how sweet (literally) is that…that you have all the ingredients. You are such a good mama. LMK how the boys (or you) like them!

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    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — July 8, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    You have no idea how badly I want one of these babies right now!

    • #
      Averie @ Averie Cooks — July 8, 2012 at 10:06 pm

      And your stuff always looks fabulous! I don’t comment much b/c it’s tricky sometimes for me to login with Tumblr but you have some GOOD looking eats girl!

    • #
      Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — July 8, 2012 at 10:44 pm

      Awww thank you! That means so much coming from you! :)

  25. #
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    Kristi — July 8, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    those look heavenly, averie!

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    Ali @ Gimme Some Oven — July 8, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    I am all for homemade, but am definitely ok with shortcuts every now and then! These look amazing, Averie!!! :)

  27. #
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    jessie — July 8, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    wow these are to die for (insert drooling). Please come over & use your awesome baking skills, and make them for me!! :)

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    mjskit — July 8, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    WOW! All of these pastries look absolutely delicious! Can I have a taste tasting? I’ll take one of each please! I’m not a baker, but if I were, shortcuts would not be a problem!!! Life is hard enough sometimes. Why make it harder? :)

    • #
      Averie @ Averie Cooks — July 8, 2012 at 10:05 pm

      Life is hard enough sometimes. Why make it harder? :) <— TRUER words were never spoken!!

  29. #
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    Jolene (www.everydayfoodie.ca) — July 8, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    I’ve never had a Danish roll before!

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    Liz (Little Bitty Bakes) — July 9, 2012 at 4:04 am

    Ha, oh yeah, I was a danish kid too! For me it was apple, and there was never a crumb left on my plate. Actually there was no plate, let’s be serious. :) These look awesome Averie, that crust looks dangerous in a really delicious sort of way.

    • #
      Averie @ Averie Cooks — July 9, 2012 at 9:35 am

      Right out of the cardboard box and cheapie metal tin they came in…you know it!

  31. #
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    Heather (Where's the Beach) — July 9, 2012 at 5:25 am

    Oh wow that looks amazing. I can almost taste it! Mom would get those Entenmann’s danishes as a treat once in a while. I thought they were the best things ever until I worked in a German bakery – now those were the best darn danishes ever!

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    Leonor@FoodFaithFitness — July 9, 2012 at 6:16 am

    I ahve 3 kids, 2 of them are young boys, so I need to keep an eye on them. I am all about the short cuts.

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    Christine (The Raw Project) — July 9, 2012 at 6:22 am

    These look amazing and fabulous color and plating for the pics, very nice!

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    Ashley - baker by nature — July 9, 2012 at 6:47 am

    Averie… This is stunning! Seriously dreaming a whole plate of these were in front of me right now!!

    • #
      Averie @ Averie Cooks — July 9, 2012 at 9:34 am

      Thanks and I love the idea of chili with the mango smoothie you made…sort of spicy ‘n sweet!

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    Deborah — July 9, 2012 at 7:45 am

    I LOVE these – although I’ve never had them with jam before. Gotta try them! (and just the other day, an old roommate was in town and we were talking about how we ate so much crap back then and could totally get away with it. Wish I still had that metabolism!)

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    Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. — July 9, 2012 at 8:11 am

    oh heavens! Wow yowza! How do you come up with these? Hope you had a good holiday and weekend girl!

    • #
      Averie @ Averie Cooks — July 9, 2012 at 9:32 am

      My long runs provide ample daydreaming moments and hope your holiday was great, too! :)

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    ally — July 9, 2012 at 9:15 am

    gorgeous job on this recipe averie, as always!

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    Stephanie — July 9, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Those plates are SUPER beautiful!

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    sara — July 10, 2012 at 4:47 am

    I’m Danish and I’ve always been curious to try a non-Danish Danish. Does that make sense?

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    natalie@thesweetslife — July 10, 2012 at 10:12 am

    i’m all about shortcuts–esp when time is short! love the sound of these!

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    Laurie {Simply Scratch} — July 13, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Ohhhh Averie these sound amazing!

    • #
      Averie @ Averie Cooks — July 13, 2012 at 12:16 pm

      I am still thinking about your shake (as I am editing pics of my own…Lol)

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    Meg — January 13, 2015 at 5:37 am

    These look absolutely amazing! I live alone though and I’m quite sure that having an entire pan of these lying around might not be the best idea! Do you have any advice on whether these could be frozen? Thanks

    • #
      Averie Sunshine — January 13, 2015 at 10:07 am

      They probably would be fine to be frozen. Or do what I do…literally take your leftovers (I bake a brand new dessert EVERY DAY) and knock on a neighbor’s door. They joy on their face when you open that door and just hand off 95% of whatever it is you made that day, priceless. You have your 1-2 and they have the rest. Done.

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    Meg — January 16, 2015 at 5:23 pm

    I love your way of thinking – this way my neighbours are gonna love me AND I’ll have more freezer space for ice cream. Thanks!

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