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OK, shameless attempt to draw visitors to the site. These cookies ARE poetry.

Here they are, going into the oven. They will be prettier at the end, but you will have some scraps to sample right away.

This recipe came from my mother-in-law, Ariadne Ocone, with whom I have also collaborated on some Russian translations. The cookies were finalists in the Baltimore Sun holiday cookie contest in 2017. They are addictive, but at least have very little sugar, so when your tongue begins to hurt, it’s the walnuts, not the sugar.




1 c. sour cream

1 c. good quality unsalted butter

2 c. flour

About 1/3 cup raspberry or apricot jam

Approx. 1 cup each walnuts, raisins, dried apricots


Mix the sour cream and softened butter together with strong strokes of a wooden spoon or with an electric beater. Work in the flour with a spoon. Form the dough into a ball, wrap in wax paper and let sit overnight in the refrigerator. 


The next day, preheat the oven to 350. Warm the jam in a small saucepan. Put about a half cup each of walnuts, raisins, and apricots on a cutting board and chop them together into small pieces (about 1/4-raisin-sized). Divide the dough into 4 portions, and roll one out into a rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Using a pastry brush, spread a thin layer of jam onto the pastry, leaving a margin of about 3/4 inch on one long side. Sprinkle a thin layer of chopped nuts and fruits over the jam. Roll the pastry, starting with the side opposite the margin, and place the roll seam side down on a rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pastry, chopping new nuts and fruit as needed, until you have 4 rolls. With a sharp, substantial knife, cut each roll 1/2 way through in horizontal cuts, 1/2 inch apart. You may stop at this point and refrigerate or freeze the rolls to bake later.


Bake 45-60 minutes, until golden brown. Finish the cutting of each roll into cookies. Lay them flat, and return to the oven for another 15 minutes or so. The crust will finish baking, and the dried fruits will caramelize slightly. Mmmm.


Yield: about 4 dozen.

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