Heat oven to 375°F. Grease cookie sheet with shortening. In small bowl, beat cream cheese and granulated sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Stir in almond extract, almonds and cherries; set aside.
If using crescent rolls: Unroll dough onto cookie sheet; press into 13x7-inch rectangle, firmly pressing perforations to seal. If using dough sheet: Unroll dough onto cookie sheet; press into 13x7-inch rectangle.
Spoon cream cheese mixture lengthwise down center 1/3 of rectangle. On each long side of dough rectangle, make cuts 1 inch apart to edge of filling. Fold opposite strips of dough over filling and cross in center to form a braided appearance; seal ends.
Bake 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
In small bowl, mix powdered sugar and milk until smooth; drizzle over coffee cake. If desired, garnish with additional sliced almonds and cherries. Cover and refrigerate any remaining coffee cake.