A trip to New York inspired Jeannie Lee to develop this cranberry-filled variation on the favorite flaky pastry. Use any leftover cranberry filling as you would a cranberry relish or jam.
About 1 cup (1/2 lb.) butter, at room temperature
6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
About 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Cranberry Filling (recipe follows)
1/3 cup chopped white chocolate (2 oz.)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon milk
How to Make It
In a large bowl, with a mixer on medium speed, beat 1 cup butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until smooth. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and the brown sugar and beat until very smooth.
In a medium bowl, mix 2 1/4 cups flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and cloves. Add to butter mixture, stir to mix, then beat until well blended. Divide dough into thirds and flatten each into a disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 45 minutes.
With a floured rolling pin, on a lightly floured surface, roll one disk at a time into a 1/8-inch-thick round about 12 inches in diameter. Spread each evenly with about 1/2 cup Cranberry Filling, then sprinkle with a third of the chopped white chocolate and a third of the walnuts. Cut each round into 16 wedges. Starting at the wide end, roll each wedge around filling; bend each roll slightly into a crescent. Place cookies about 1 inch apart on buttered 12- by 15-inch baking sheets.
In a small bowl, beat egg yolk and milk to blend. In another small bowl, mix remaining 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Brush cookies lightly with egg mixture and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar; discard any remaining egg mixture and save cinnamon sugar for other uses.
Bake cookies in a 350° regular or convection oven until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes; if baking two sheets at once in one oven, switch their positions halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then use a wide spatula to transfer to racks to cool completely.
Cranberry Filling: In a food processor, whirl 2 1/2 cups fresh cranberries (sorted and rinsed) or thawed frozen cranberries, 3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger, and 1 orange, rinsed and quartered (seeds discarded), until smooth. Scrape into a 3- to 4-quart pan and add 1/2 cup sugar; stir often over medium heat until sugar is dissolved and mixture is reduced to about 2 cups, about 10 minutes. Chill until cool, about 30 minutes.