The Cookie Enjoyed Around The World

December 24th, 2010 by Gretchen Homan

The headline here might be a bit misleading. This blog post isn’t actually about a single cookie, but instead about a single cookie dough that is used to create favorite cookies in many countries.

This story starts 2 years ago when we began planning recipe development for Wilton’s Cookie Exchange Book. Searching through cookbooks in our library, then doing internet searches for “Christmas Cookies,” it struck me how many of the cookies, quite a few with international roots, started with a cream cheese dough. Most of these cookies were shaped and filled!

Cream Cheese Cookies My “aha” moment started with Polish Kolacky, a cookie I felt needed to be included in the book. While traditional kolacky features apricot or raspberry jam, I found a blueberry preserves variation in a magazine that added lemon zest to the dough, which instead of being folded over on itself, was folded into a fan shape.

From there I discovered pineapple filled Mexican/Spanish Empanada cookies. They start with a similar rich cream cheese dough cut in a circle. Add pineapple preserve filling, and fold over the shape into a half circle. Top with cinnamon sugar and bake.

Next, I discovered Chocolate Triangle Tarts. They looked just like Hamantaschen, a classic Jewish cookie recognizable for its 3-cornered shape. It is eaten during the Jewish holiday of Purim, and is typically prepared with oil or vegetable shortening so they meet the requirements of a kosher diet. The classic fillings are poppy seed, prune or apricot; more modern versions also fill with chocolate.

Then, in looking through one of my grandmother’s cookbooks, I discovered Pfaffenhut (Pope’s Hat), a filled cookie which has 3 “corners” folded up to resemble a tri-corner hat. While I was pondering all this, one of my favorite cooking blogs featured a cream cheese version of Hamantaschen.

The decision was easy … develop a master Cream Cheese Cookie Dough, and offer shape and filling alternates. The variations we created were endless – cups, crescents, pinwheels, rounds filled with nuts, preserves, dried fruit, chocolate, sugars and so much more … we couldn’t stop with the ideas!

In the end, we decided to feature just 3 shapes with filling ideas. As they laid out the book, there were too many cookie projects and recipes, and cuts had to be made. Unfortunately, one of those was our “Cream Cheese Cookies Around The World” – but not before it was photographed!

Here is that recipe, as we planned for it to appear in the book. What suggestions for shapes and fillings do you have?

Gretchen Homan Gretchen Homan, Test Kitchen Director at Wilton, has been with the company almost 7 years. She is a home economist who has worked in test kitchens and for PR firms representing food clients since graduating from college, but her baking roots run much deeper. Her earliest recollections are regular Schneckenudel (cinnamon bun), cookie and kuchen baking sessions with her Oma (grandmother) who lived with the family while she was growing up. Now that her two youngest sons are off to college, the fruits of her baking sessions need to be mail-able!

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