Tuesday, December 28, 2010
My father is Jewish and was raised eating things like matzo ball soup, chopped liver, and kreplach (Jewish dumplings for soup) at the holidays. I decided to celebrate my Jewish heritage and make something authentic for the holidays. My dad loves cookies, he loves to tell the story that one year his mom made 140 dozen cookies for Christmas and that every one of them got eaten. So I figured cookies would be a good way to go if I was going to make something for my dad. I was really pleased with these cookies. They make a big batch plus they're delicious. They taste a lot like cinnamon rolls. They're perfect for the holiday season.
adapted from The Barefoot Contessa
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2-pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar plus 9 tablespoons
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup raisins
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup apricot preserves, pureed in a food processor
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk, for egg wash
Cream the cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light. Add the granulated sugar, the salt, and the vanilla, with the mixer on low speed, add the flour and mix until just combined. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and roll it into a ball. Cut the ball in quarters, wrap each piece in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
To make the filling, combine 6 tablespoons of granulated sugar, the brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, the raisins, and walnuts.
On a well-floured board, roll each ball of dough into a 9-inch circle. Spread the dough with 2 tablespoons apricot preserves and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the filling. Press the filling lightly into the dough. Cut the circle into 12 equal wedges—cutting the whole circle in quarters, then each quarter into thirds. Starting with the wide edge, roll up each wedge. Place the cookies, points tucked under, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack and let cool.