Prep and Cook Time: about 2 1/2 hours, plus at least 45 minutes to freeze dough. Notes: A trip to New York inspired Jeannie Lee of Marin County, California, to develop this rich, cranberry-filled cookie. Plan to make and chill the cranberry filling before beginning the cookie dough. If you have leftover filling, use it as you would a cranberry relish or jam. You can store the cookies airtight for up to 2 days.
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
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 an electric mixer on medium speed, beat 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 flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and the cloves. Stir or beat into butter mixture until well blended. Divide dough into thirds; flatten each into a disk. Wrap each in plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 45 minutes.
On a lightly floured surface, with a floured rolling pin, 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 (as you would cut a pie). 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 or cooking parchment-lined 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 (save remaining cinnamon sugar for other uses).
Bake cookies in a 350° oven until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes; if baking more than one pan at a time, switch pan 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 unpeeled orange (8 oz.), 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, at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 days.