I still write my initial blog notes with pen and paper. And sometimes, I just can’t pick up that pen. The words just aren’t there. During the last ‘pen-less’ three weeks I also watched as a human rights revolution, and celebration, spread across the Mid-East and North Africa.
I thought I had nothing to say, but it was now obvious to me that this was the perfect time to re-visit, and bake, my Peace Cookies.
I explored the Peace Cookie in a recent post, and after researching options on the internet, I complied a list of variations. Since many blogs have been written about the Dorie Greenspan chocolate sable Peace Cookie, I decide to bake the Croatian Peace Cookie. This cookie was a cream cheese pastry with a jam filling. While staying in the spirit of the original, I did find myself redesigning this recipe.
I began by substituting my own cream cheese pastry for the original cookie pastry when I discovered the original recipe was incomplete. After making one batch I changed the size of the original cookie, a 3″ square was just a mouthful of pastry, trimming it down to a 2″ square which was the perfect two bite size.
But the most important change of all, and in solidarity with our Mid- Eastern/North African sisters and brothers, I changed the filling to a mixture of fig preserves, dates and almonds.
I rounded out this little cookie with a brush of egg glaze and sprinkle of sugar to hold it together, and give it shine after baking. A much prettier finish than just a dusting of powdered sugar, which is what the original recipe called for.
The original cookie was a Croatian family recipe. It was published along with the following notation: “Each cookie is a prayer for peace for all people living in war torn and repressed nations.”
I’m so happy I decided to double the recipe. Double the Peace!
‘Redesigned’ Croatian Peace Cookie
Makes 4-5 doz
Pastry: ( can be carefully rerolled two times)
1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
1 8- oz package cream cheese, room temp
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
Whisk salt and flour together.
Using stand or electric mixer, beat butter and cheese until light.
Beat in sugar until mixture is fluffy.
Mix in flour/salt until dough can be gathered together. It will be soft.
Divide the dough, forming into 2 equal square shapes, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for an hour, or can be made a day ahead and chilled overnight.
If chilling overnight leave out until soft enough to roll.
1 cup pitted chopped dates
2/3 cup fig jam
2/3 cup chopped roasted, unsalted almonds
2 tablespoons melted butter
Mix above together in a medium size bowl
1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 350°
Flour your rolling surface. I roll out this pastry on wide plastic wrap dusted with flour.
Roll out one chilled square of pastry to 1/8″. If pastry was chilled more than one hour, leave out to soften until it is soft enough to roll.
Cut pastry into 2″ squares. ‘Gently’ re-knead and re-roll scraps to prevent dough from getting tough.
Lay out the 2″ squares so you can fill them assembly line style. See photo below.
Place one scant teaspoon of filling in the center of each square.
Bring opposite corners of the square to the middle, pressing the first corner down sightly onto the base, and overlapping the second corner.
Brush with egg and sprinkle with sugar.
Repeat process with second square of rested pastry.
Bake on an unlined, ungreased baking sheet for 20-25 min, or until bottoms and edges are golden brown.