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Selecting a package of Pepperidge Farm cookies was one of the greatest thrills when I was little. Rarely was this privilege bestowed upon me; when it was my choice, I'd carefully weigh my options. There were nubby, cobbled Brussels cookies with their thin layer of bittersweet chocolate. Milanos were a classic choice, and I loved the buttery Chessmen, shiny with an egg wash finish. But, usually ,I'd pick the crumbly, sweet Verona circles, which sported jammy centers of strawberry preserves.
The combination of a crunchy, buttery cookie and sweet jam is still irresistible to me. So I was happy to discover this excellent recipe, from the Nielsen-Massey archives, for traditional Polish holiday cookies (called kolackzi). The addition of cream cheese makes the dough tender and less crumbly than most cookies.
I filled mine with apricot and raspberry jam, but you could use any flavor you like. Or, try frangipane or chocolate hazelnut spread.
This being said, using jam makes the cookies look like pretty little jewels. They're the perfect addition to a dessert platter or holiday cookie swap. Just dust them lightly with confectioners' sugar, if you like, before serving.
Be sure to roll your dough out very thinly. It will be sticky when you mix it up, but don't worry: Rolling the dough in a blend of flour and confectioners' sugar to prevents it from clinging to the work surface.
For successful cookies, don't add too much filling (it's tempting, I know!), or they won't hold their shape during baking. It's also important to press the edges of the dough together firmly when you roll it up around the jam, to make sure the little "envelopes" stay closed.
In the world of Christmas cookies, these are, as the saying goes, most certainly my jam.
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided into 2 3/4 cups and 1/2 cup
- 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1/2 cup jam
What would you fill these little envelopes with? Let us know in the comments below!