Friday, December 21, 2012

Cream Cheese Cookies with Apricot Filling

I am not a cookie person, especially when it comes to these soft chocolate chip cookies that my son loves so much. Therefore, today, I will share a recipe for the cookies that I like.

They come from Poland. It is an easy recipe and it always works. Last time I made them was decades ago, when I was making my first steps in the kitchen.

I made them at that time with the slightly sour white farmers' cheese and different home-made sour cherry or plum preserves, or poppy seeds filling. I loved the taste of these cookies as the slightly sour dough nicely complimented the sweet filling from fruits preserves.

Recently, I found a version of the same cookies calling for cream cheese instead of farmers' cheese. I also learned that this recipe originally comes from the Jewish culinary tradition, which I was not aware of since, over the years, it blended strongly into the Polish cuisine.

A couple of weeks ago, when I made bow-tie cookies, I used my favorite apricot preserves. But for Christmas I am planning on using an exquisite and aromatic rose petal preserve which a friend of mine brought me from Poland. Any preserves of your choice can be used in this recipe, and they would not be too sweet, as the dough does not have any sugar and you just dust them them with icing sugar at the end.

Cream Cheese Cookies with Apricot Filling

8oz cream cheese or farmers' cheese (Polish "twarog"), at room temperature,
2 sticks (about 250 g) butter, room temperature,
2 and 1/2 cup all purpose flour,
1 cup of preserves of your choice,
1 tsp vanilla extract,
icing sugar for dusting,

1. In a stand up mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter until soft and well combined. Add the vanilla extract, flour, and beat slowly until a smooth dough forms.
2. Wrap the dough in a plastic foil and chill for two hours or preferably overnight.
3. Take out the dough from a refrigerator and let it stand in room temperature for 1/2 hour.
4. Preheat oven to 400F.
5. Roll out the dough on a large surface, slightly dusted with flour. Cut 2-inch squares. Place a teaspoon of preserve in a middle of each square and bring the opposite corners together slightly squeezing them. Put them on a buttered cookie sheet.

6. Bake the cookies for 15-20 minutes, until puffed and gold.
7. Cool down the cookies and dust them with icing sugar.