These cookies, which are inspired by rugelach, wrap a flaky pastry dough around a warmly spiced filling of dried cranberries. If the cutting and folding technique seems too bothersome, just spread the filling over rounds of dough, then cut each round into triangles. Each triangle then can be rolled up and baked, as in traditional rugelach recipes.
SPICED CRANBERRY STARS
Start to finish: 4 hours (1 hour active)
Makes 32 cookies
For the dough:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup powdered sugar
For the filling:
1/2 cup dried cranberries, plus 32 for topping
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
For the glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon water
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Add the flour and powdered sugar and mix until they produce a smooth, sticky dough.
Divide the dough into 3 pieces. Form each piece into a circle, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 3 hours, or overnight.
For the filling, in a small saucepan over medium-high combine the cranberries, water, cardamom, allspice and cloves. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and let cool.
When you are ready to bake the cookies, heat the oven to 325 F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
On a floured surface, roll one piece of dough into a 12-by-12-inch square. Using a pizza wheel or a sharp knife, cut the square into sixteen 3-inch squares. One square at a time, cut 1 1/2-inch diagonal slits from each corner toward the center. The slits should not meet at the center. There should be about 1 inch of uncut cookie dough at the center of the square.
Place 1 teaspoon of the filling in the middle of the square. Working clockwise, bring one corner of each side to the middle. Once you have 4 points meeting in the middle, anchor with a dried cranberry so that the cookie resembles a flower or a pinwheel. Repeat with remaining dough.
Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the tips of the stars start to color. Allow to cool on the baking sheets. Once cool, mix the powdered sugar and the water together and drizzle over the stars with a fork. Store in an airtight container for 1 week.