Saturday, February 19, 2011


These Jewish cookies remind me of the time I had them in Boston, where a large community of Jews resided (more precisely in Brookline, Massachusetts). I still remember on my way to the subway station, there were a few Jewish bakeries that had these little cookies on display. Many times I would wander into one of the shops and buy a few to nibble on my walk and on the train. They are flaky, tender and filled with walnuts and cinnamon sugar.

There are other recipes that use cream cheese instead of sour cream. Sour cream will produce lighter and crispier cookies. They are usually enjoyed during Christmas. They have been on my mind since then, just did not get a chance to make them.

Some classify these as cookies and some call this pastry. It doesn't matter what it is called, as long as it is yummy!

Makes 36 cookies

Dough Ingredients:

2 cups/283g unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks/ 226g unsalted cold butter cut into 1 inch chunks
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup/170g sour cream

Filling Ingredients:

1/4 cup/50g sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup/92g chopped, toasted walnuts

A) To make the dough first:
1)  Put the flour and salt in a food processor and pulse to mix. (if using your hands, cut the butter in with a knife until they look like small peas; if using a stand mixer, use the paddle attachment in low speed)
2)  Add the cold butter cubes and pulse 10-15 times.
3)  Add the egg yolk and sour cream and pulse another 15-20 times until it looks like coarse breadcrumbs or crumbled topping.
4)  Take the mixture out and use your hands to make the dough come together. Then divide it into 3 discs. Wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

B) To make the filling: combine all the ingredients and set aside.

C) To shape the cookies:
1)  Take the dough out from the refrigerator and roll it into a circle about 10-11 inch in diameter between two sheets of wrap.

2)  Sprinkle some of the filling evenly onto the dough and cut it into 8 wedges for large cookies or 12 for smaller ones.

3)  Roll each wedge from the wide end into a log.

4)  Repeat for the rest of the dough.

5)  Refrigerate for 30 minutes, then brush with egg wash and bake for 20-25 minutes in a preheated 350 F oven.

1)  I found it easier to shape the cookies if I cut it into wedges first and then sprinkle the filling on. It's not as messy.
2)  Alternatively you can roll out the dough into a rectangle, sprinkle the filling and roll it up like a cinnamon roll, then cut it out into individual cookies.
3)  For the filling, there are a lot of  other choices. Raisins, other nuts, chocolate chips or fruit jam can be used according to your taste.

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