Despite their origin, these traditional Jewish cookies are always made for Christmas at chef Messina's home.
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter 8 ounces cream cheese 2 cups (9 ounces) all-purpose flour 1/3 cup (2 3/4 ounces) sugar 1 tablespoon cinnamon 1/2 cup (3 ounces) chopped walnuts 1/2 cup raisins (optional) 1 cup raspberry jam
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and cream cheese on low for about 3 minutes, until creamy and fluffy. Add flour and mix just until a dough forms. Divide the dough evenly into 4 balls, wrap each in plastic, press into disks and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. While dough is chilling, combine in another bowl the sugar, cinnamon, walnuts and, if using, raisins.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Working with 1 disk of dough at a time, on a lightly floured surface, roll into a 10-inch round about 1/4 inch thick. Spread a thin layer of jam on each disk of dough, then sprinkle on 1/4 of the sugar-walnut mixture. Using a knife or pizza wheel, cut dough into 12 even wedges. Roll up each cookie from the wide to the narrow end, and place 1 inch apart, seam side down, on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or Silpats.
3. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Before taking cookies out, check one to make sure it is cooked through. Place pan on wire rack and when cookies are cool, dust with confectioners' sugar. Makes 4 dozen cookies.