The Joy of Holiday Cookies

Nothing sweetens the season like holiday cookies! The name comes from the Dutch koejke which translates to "little cake" -- the perfect single serving treat. Cookies have been part of cooking history for more than a thousand years and nearly every culture has a bite sized sweet that qualifies as a cookie.

Every year I try to come up with a new twist on an old favorite to celebrate the season for my annual cookie swap. These tasty morsels are my version of rugelach, a traditional Jewish pastry filled with nuts, raisins or apricots, cinnamon and sugar wrapped in a flaky crust. A few good friends sharing a bottle of bubbly then going home with the bounty of a platter full of homemade cookies and the recipes. Lots of fun and yumminess, too!

2 cups all-purpose flour
Dash of salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1/3 cup plain or lemon flavored yogurt

1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dried cranberries (chopped coarsely or cut into halves)
1 tablespoon white sugar

Cut cold butter or margarine and cream cheese into bits. In food processor pulse flour, salt, butter or margarine, white sugar, cream cheese and yogurt until dough forms a loosely pliable ball. Add one drop of water at a time if needed. Shape mixture into four equal dough balls ... wrap each ball in plastic wrap (I prefer zip loc bags) and chill a minimum of 2 hours on up to 4 days.

When you are ready to bake your cookies, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Roll each dough ball into an 8 inch square keeping the other dough balls chilled until ready to roll them.

Combine sugar, cinnamon, chopped walnuts, and dried cranberries. Sprinkle rolled dough with brown sugar/nut mixture. Press lightly into dough. Roll the dough round into a cylinder. Using a chef's knife or other very sharp blade, cut the cylinder on an angle into 8 pieces. Set each piece flat on one side so that one spiral side is flat on an ungreased cookie sheet and one spiral side is facing up. The positionong allows for the cookie bottom to carmelize into a crunchy, tasty and almost candylike base. Sprinkle the tops lightly with white sugar.

Bake in the center rack of your oven 20-22 minutes until lightly golden. Cool on wire racks. Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies. Store in airtight containers...these cookies also freeze well.


  1. anything with dough and sugar (and sometimes cinnamon) i love !!!! thanks for the simple idea. this can def be made on a sunday night when you are home and want something to snack on, but did not plan anything.

  2. They look and sound yummy--like all your food!


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