Cherry Almond Braid

(Diane Myszka)

8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup chopped maraschino cherries
2 (8-oz.) packages refrigerated crescent rolls

1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 to 2 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon butter, melted
Additional sliced almonds and red maraschino cherries for decoration

In a large mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese and sugar.  Stir in extract, almonds, and maraschino cherries (use a paper towel to sop up extra cherry juice).  Meanwhile, unroll crescent rolls on an ungreased cookie sheet, 15x10-inch, forming a rectangle and sealing perforations.  Spread cream cheese mixture down center third.  Fold long edges over filling and overlap.  Pinch seams to seal.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack.  To make glaze:  combine confectioners' sugar, milk, and butter in a small mixing bowl.  Spread over cherry almond braid.  Place maraschino cherries attractively down long sides of braid, sprinkling sliced almonds down the center.