Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Easy Baby Holiday Pastries using Leftover Cranberry Sauce by Cleo Coyle #Thanksgiving


From Cleo CoyleGot extra cranberry sauce? With Thanksgiving Day nearly upon us, Marc and I are already thinking about one of our favorite foodie pleasures: Thanksgiving leftovers

Do you love leftovers as much as we do? Pumpkin pie for Friday breakfast (yes)! Then there's a whole weekend of open-faced hot turkey and gravy sandwiches, turkey salad, turkey pot pie, and the classic mile-high Thanksgiving hero of turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce. We love turkey so much, we make extra. 

If you missed our turkey recipe post earlier this month,
click here or on the image below where we share...

Our Secret to Making 
Crispy-Skinned Roast Turkey 

And speaking of leftovers, if you have extra cranberry sauce on hand, these mini pastries will make good use of it. So...

Let’s start baking...

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A Recipe Note from Cleo

These baby pastries are easy to make, pretty on the plate, and just plain adorable. They're great for breakfast, brunch, or coffee breaks, and the festive red color will cheer up your holiday cookie plates. 

Raspberry jam will work in this recipe if you don't have cranberry sauce on hand. And if you want to make your own sauce, I've included a quick recipe in this post and in my PDF here

As for the dough (let's face it), most of us aren't experts in creating puff pastry, which is why I suggest you purchase a tube of crescent roll dough or frozen puff pastry sheets. Even when using these pre-made laminated doughs, things can go wrong, which is why I've included a few notes at the end of my recipe that should help make this mini pastry project fun and foolproof. May you all eat with joy this week, and... 

Have a happy holiday season! 

~ Cleo

To download this recipe in
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 click here.

Cleo Coyle’s
Baby Berry Pastries

Or a fun use for leftover cranberry sauce!

Makes 16 mini pastries


For the easy pastry
1 tube of crescent roll dough (8-count or 2 sheets frozen puff pastry)
½ cup whipped cream cheese (do not omit)
½ cup cranberry sauce or raspberry jam 

For the glaze
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon milk (or water)
3/4 cup confectioners’ (powdered) sugar

NOTES FOR RECIPE SUCCESS: Yes, these little pastries appear simple to make, but things can go very wrong in the process. For foolproof success, see my 4 notes at the end of this recipe, and be sure to keep the dough cold, chilling between steps and before putting into the oven.


Step 1 – PREP PAN: Pre-heat your oven to 375º F. (Pre-heat for 30 full minutes to be sure oven is hot enough.) Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. The cranberry sauce will ooze out and stick to the pan. The parchment will prevent sticking and also protect the delicate pastry bottoms from the pan’s direct heat.

Step 2 – UNROLL CRESCENTS: Once your oven is fully pre-heated, begin to work. Keep your dough cold throughout this process and you’ll have less trouble cutting and shaping it. Assemble ingredients first, and then break open the crescent roll tube.

Work directly on the lined baking sheet. Crescent rolls come in 2 small sheets. They are perforated, forming 4 triangles per sheet. Separate the 8 triangles in two rows, leaving space between each triangle and row. (If using frozen sheets of puff pastry, thaw 2 sheets enough to work with and slice them into triangles, as shown.)

Step 3 – SPREAD THE FILLING: Using the back of a small spoon, gently spread about 2 teaspoons worth of whipped cream cheese (or well-softened block cream cheese) onto the pastry triangles. On top of that spread a layer of the cranberry sauce (again, about 2 teaspoons per triangle).

Step 4 – SLICE THE TRIANGLES: Carefully cut the 8 large triangles in half lengthwise, creating 16 very narrow triangles. Cutting puff pastry can be difficult, but I find that a pizza cutter slides with ease through the dough. Just be sure to wipe the blade clean between cuts.

Step 5 – ROLL INTO BABY CRESCENTS: Starting from the largest end of each narrow triangle, roll into crescents. As you roll, very gently stretch the narrow dough lengthwise. 

Roll the triangles into 16 baby crescents. Carefully re-position the pastries on the lined baking sheet, allowing room for rising. 

As I've noted above (and below) be careful here. As your hands touch the laminated dough, you are WARMING it and melting the butter in the dough. That's why this dough needs to be CHILLED before baking for best results (proper rising and flaky texture). So slip the pan into the fridge for ten minutes.

Step 6 – BAKE: After oven has pre-heated for a good thirty minutes at 375º F., bake the pastries 10 to 12 minutes. Watch carefully. You want a golden-brown pastry, but you don’t want the bottoms to brown too much or burn. Allow them to cool before glazing (or the glaze will not harden properly).

Step 7 – MAKE THE GLAZE: Over low heat, combine butter and milk in a small saucepan. Do not allow these ingredients to boil to avoid a scorched taste in your glaze. After butter melts completely, add the powdered sugar. Using a fork, whisk in a little at a time, adding the complete amount. The glaze should drizzle easily and harden fairly quickly once poured. If too loose, add more powdered sugar; if too thick, add a bit more milk. When you’re happy with the consistency, use the fork to drizzle the glaze in a back-and-forth motion across the cooled mini pastries. 

NOTE: If the glaze hardens before you’re finished,  return the pan to the heat and re-whisk.

 Cleo's 4 Notes for Recipe Success

*Cleo Note #1: AVOID DISASTER & KEEP YOUR DOUGH COLD. Why? Crescent rolls and puff pastry sheets are forms of laminated dough in which layers of dough are folded with layers of butter. Consequently, as the dough warms, the butter melts and the dough becomes impossible to cut or shape properly. So be sure keep everything cold as you work, returning the dough to the fridge between steps.

*Cleo Note #2: CRANBERRY SAUCE – You can use whole or jellied cranberry sauce. Canned or homemade is fine or swap in raspberry jam. Just make sure whatever you use is cold or room temperature and not warm or the pastry will melt. In my photos, you see homemade cranberry sauce. Here’s a quick recipe for…


Bring 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add one 12-ounce package of whole, fresh cranberries. Lower heat to a simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and serve. Store in fridge.


*Cleo Note #3: CREAM CHEESE  Whipped cream cheese is what I recommend for this recipe because it’s easier to spread. To use block cream cheese, allow it to soften to room temperature and work it a little with a fork so it spreads with ease on the delicate dough.

*Cleo Note #4: PRE-HEAT FOR REAL – Laminated dough must have high heat to rise properly, and far too many oven thermometers are inaccurate. Forget the little beep-beep "ready" bell. Pre-heat your oven for a good 30 minutes before baking. And by all means have a Happy Thanksgiving!

May you eat with plenty of joy!

New York Times bestselling author
of The Coffeehouse Mysteries and
Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

This is me -- Cleo (Alice) 
with my husband Marc.

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