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The holidays are here again. It’s hard to believe that another year is coming to a close, but here we are finishing up our gift shopping, starting to wrap gifts, and getting started on our holiday baking. I love to bake for the holidays and since I love to have a variety of cookies to choose from, we always end up with way too many. I don’t mind though because we freeze them and give a lot of cookies away.
One of my favorite cookies of the season are what I always knew as tea cookies. I always thought they were Italian because back when we lived in Connecticut we had some Italian friends who brought these fruit-filled cream cheese cookies to holiday gatherings. Come to find out, I think they might actually be Hungarian kiffles or kolaches. Either way, they’re absolutely delicious and I love to make them for the holidays. They are soft, fruity, cream cheesy, and just perfect.
Fruit & Cream Cheese Tea Cookies
I will call them fruit filled cream cheese cookies, because why not? The ingredients are very simple – butter, cream cheese, sugar, salt, sour cream, and flour. For the filling, I typically use a canned pastry or pie filling because they work really well for these cookies. I am usually a scratch baker all the way, but I tried to make the filling myself by making a real fruit compote. Every time it was too thick and sticky, so I switched to pie filling.
To make the cookies, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Once combined, add cold butter and cream cheese and work it into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter until crumbly. Once you have a crumbly consistency, add the sour cream to bring it all together into a dough.
Now that you have your ball of delicious dough, it’s time to fill them. You can use whatever flavor you like, but the flavors that I use are apricot, almond (when I can find it), apple, and strawberry cream cheese. Yes, one variety also has cream cheese.
Roll out your dough until it’s pretty thin and cut it into squares. Mine are about two-inch squares but you can make them whatever size you prefer. When you have your squares cut out, fill with the fruit filling on a diagonal then fold then corners over and pinch to keep them closed. If using the cream cheese filling, and I highly suggest you do with strawberry or cherry, put a layer of that on the dough first then add the fruit filling on top. Bake at 325 degrees until the corners are golden brown, about 20 minutes. These cookies will be soft and light in color so be careful not to overcook them. The full recipe is at the bottom of this post for you to print.
DIY Ribbon Gift Bow
To make a DIY ribbon gift bow I like to use wired ribbon. It is easier to fold over onto itself and is easier to shape into a gift bow.
- Fold the ribbon accordion style
- Cut two triangle notches in the center of the ribbon
- Secure with a smaller piece of ribbon or string
- Shape the ribbon into a bow
To secure the bow to a package, I like to wrap some ribbon around and tape it to the bottom of the package. With the second piece of ribbon, I feed it through one of the loops in the bow to help secure it. Once the ribbon is on the box I then secure the bow with some tape.
Voila! Now you have a beautiful ribbon gift bow that you can make yourself for pennies instead of paying a few dollars each at the store.
Now that everything is wrapped and ready to go under the tree, you can’t forget to leave out some cookies for Santa. I have it on good authority that when Santa visits our house, these cookies are his favorite treat. Mrs. Claus also agrees.
Since we always have so many cookies left over from my holiday baking extravaganza, my husband likes to
pawn some off on bring some to his coworkers. For this, we use Rubbermaid TakeAlongs containers since they are lightweight, have a tight snapping Quik Clik Seal™ lid, and come in a wide variety of sizes for any of our food storage needs.
I realized that I didn’t have very many TakeAlongs left that are the right size for cookies, so I went to my local Walmart store to stock back up on them. I found Rubbermaid TakeAlongs in the food storage aisle. When purchasing your own Rubbermaid TakeAlongs at Walmart, be sure to use the $1.00 off two Rubbermaid TakeAlongs products rebate offer through the Ibotta app.
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1 cup 2 sticks cold butter, cubed
- 2 tablespoon sour cream
- Pie and pastry filling
- CREAM CHEESE FILLING
- 8 ozs cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup powdered sugar, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt.
- Cut in cream cheese and butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Add sour cream, tossing with a fork until dough forms a ball.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- Divide dough in half.
- On a well-floured surface, roll out each portion into a 10-in. square; cut each into 2-in. squares. Place about 1/2 teaspoon of pie or pastry filling in the center of each square.
- Bring two opposite corners of square to the center; pinch firmly to seal.
- Place on greased baking sheets.
- Bake at 325° for 18-20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
- Remove to wire racks to cool.
- Dust with powdered sugar if desired.
- Yield: About 4 dozen depending on cookie size
- CREAM CHEESE FILLING
- Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until creamy.
This recipe is doubled as written for sharing with friends and coworkers. Recipe source: http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/apricot-tea-cookies