Thursday, December 7, 2017
I was told this recipe was handed down from the Hungarian side of the family, although I've seen them claimed from Croatia and Yugoslavia as well. The sugar in the filling is hotly debated. I'm pro-sugar.
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups flour
9 ounces cream cheese, softened (awkward amount today, but this recipe goes back to the day when cream cheese was sold in 3 ounce packages)
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter, cream cheese, and egg. Add flour. Do not over-mix.
Form dough into a ball and refrigerate overnight.
Filling: (makes enough for multiple batches)
2 cups finely ground walnuts (Grandma used a meat grinder. I use a grinder attachment to my mixer. I’d imagine a food processor would work too.)
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 egg whites
juice of one lemon, about 1/4 cup
2 tsp cinnamon
Mix all ingredients. If made ahead, refrigerate. Extra can also be frozen and kept for other purposes. It makes a great filling for nut rolls (instead of cinnamon rolls) or in quick breads and coffee cakes.
On baking day:
2 egg whites, beaten
Roll out dough onto a well floured surface, to a thickness of less than an eighth of an inch. (The dough will incorporate more flour as you roll.) Cut into circles with a round glass or large cookie cutter. (You want a diameter of around 3 3/4 to 4 inches.)
Put a little less than a teaspoon of the filling on the edge of the cookie. (You’ll be tempted to use more, but the cookie will burst while cooking if you do.) Starting at that side, roll loosely, then curve into a crescent. Use egg whites to seal edges shut. Brush tops with egg whites, then place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes. Remove carefully from cookie sheet and sprinkle with powdered sugar while still warm. (I put my sugar into a wire mesh strainer and shake it over the top.) Allow to cool completely, then sprinkle with sugar again.
This is a time-consuming, artisan cookie, and it can take a bit of practice to get them to look nice. But absolutely scrumptious, and well worth the effort. I recommend making extra and eating the mistakes.