The story for this family heirloom recipe goes something like this: A good friend of my mom’s was handed down the recipe from a Jewish baker who baked these cookies for his shop over the Christmas holidays. They were a hit. Growing up, my mom made these cookies each and every Christmas. They were a hit! It was my favorite Christmas cookie. The unique combination of flavors and textures set this cookie apart.
It’s hard to describe what this cookie actually is though. Is it a cookie at all? I found a list of categories of cookies. Check these out for yourself at The Cookie Elf. It’s not a drop cookie, refrigerator cookie, bar cookie, no-bake cookie, press cookie, or rolled cookie. What it is it?! I think it’s a filled pastry cookie. It’s like a huge empanada cut into slices! It is made with a sweet cream cheese pastry dough. After rolling out thinly, the dough is slathered in raspberry jam and then raisins, coconut, and optional walnuts are sprinkled over top. The dough is folded over, sealed, brushed with an egg white wash, decorated with red and green decorative sugar, and baked. After it’s done baking, slices are cut while it’s still warm. And there you have it! OK, OK, there are a lot of steps. But it’s all worth it, especially for Christmas.
Here is the recipe, after which are step-by-step instructions. See you after the recipe!
Day One – Make the Dough
Woe is me but I missed taking photos that show how the dough came together! But making the dough was simple. Even though this is a pastry dough, I used an electric mixer to mix together all of the dough ingredients, just like I would for cookie dough.
Cream together 2 ounces each of softened butter and cream cheese using an electric mixer. Beat in 1/2 cup sugar for one minute or so. Then add in 2 eggs, one at a time. Add in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. As for the dry ingredients, whisk together 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mix the flour mixture into the butter/cream cheese mixture on slow speed until incorporated. Scrape out half the dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap, wrap the dough, and form into a disk. Repeat with the second half of dough. Refrigerate overnight.
Day Two – Assemble and Bake
Preheat the oven to 350°F and prepare 2 cookie sheets. The best thing to do is to line the cookie sheets with parchment paper, but greasing the pans will work too.
Take one of the disks of dough out of the refrigerator. Working quickly (or else the dough will begin to stick to the work surface), roll the dough out into an oblong/rectangular shape on a lightly floured work surface.
The dough should be pretty thin, but not too thin, or else the filling will seep out. Roll out to approximately 12-13 inches x 9 inches. In a small bowl, vigorously stir 1/2 cup of jam to loosen. You might want to briefly heat it in the microwave (5 seconds) so that it is easily spreadable. Then spread out the jam using the back of a spoon. Come within 1/2 – 1 inch of the border.
Sprinkle half of the dough with 3/4 cup raisins.
Sprinkle the same half with a heaping 1/3 cup coconut. Scatter 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts if you like (I opted not to do that). Sprinkle ground cinnamon over top of the whole thing.
Carefully transfer to a prepared pan and seal the edge all around with a fork.
With a fork, lightly beat an egg white in a small bowl or tea-cup and, using a pastry brush, brush the top with the beaten egg white.
Sprinkle with red sugar crystals.
Sprinkle with green sugar crystals.
Repeat the process with the second disk of dough.
Bake both at the same time until lightly brown all around, about 15 minutes.
Let it cool in the pan for about 5 minutes. While still warm, slice into even portions, about 1 inch wide.
Let cool completely in pan before serving or storing.
Store then in aluminum foil at room temperature, in the refrigerator. Keeps for about 2-3 weeks. Keeps in the freezer for about 4 to 6 months.
A unique and tasty holiday pastry/cookie you’ve got to try!