(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)
Submitted by Michele Yockey of Arroyo Grande
"This recipe has been in the family for at least 115 years. 'My grandmother came from what is now the Czech Republic and all of her recipes were stored in her head.... At the age of 20, I decided that I would hang out with Grandma in the kitchen as she cooked, in order to preserve some of her wonderful recipes. These holiday cookies were one of the many that I wrote down and have since passed on to my children."
Total time: 1 ½ hours, plus chilling time
Servings: About 2 ½ dozen cookies
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1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 (3-ounce) packages of cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
3 1/2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup raisins
Grated peel of one lemon
1 egg white, beaten
Powdered sugar for dusting
1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Using a pastry cutter or fork, cut the cream cheese into the flour mixture, and then work in the butter. Add the whipping cream and vanilla and mix to make a smooth dough, being careful not to overmix.
2. Form the mixture into small walnut-size balls (about 2 teaspoons dough per ball). They may be a bit sticky, but don't add flour. Put them into a bowl, cover with plastic, and chill overnight.
3. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the walnuts, sugar, raisins, grated lemon peel and beaten egg white. Pulse to finely grind.
4. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Roll out the balls on a well-floured board to make 4-by-3-inch rectangles. Take a generous teaspoon of the nut mixture and form it into a pencil-shaped log, almost the length of the cookie dough. Place it along the edge of one of the wide sides of a rectangle and roll up the pastry around it. Form the pastry into a crescent shape and turn the ends under, sealing them closed. Continue this way until all balls are made into crescents. The balls should remain cool. Should they become warm, keep them in the refrigerator until you are ready to make the next ball.
5. Bake until set, 15 to 20 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar while still warm.
Each of 2 ½ dozen cookies: 169 calories; 2 grams protein; 13 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram fiber; 13 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 25 mg cholesterol; 7 grams sugar; 30 mg sodium.