Kiffles, made from a light, rich cream cheese dough, are part of the eastern European baking tradition of cookies and small pastries with a fruit filling, including the popular kolache of the Czech Republic. Here, I fill the cookies with cinnamon-spiked apricots, but you could use a fruit jam or even a poppy seed filling. These cookies are best when eaten the day they are baked.
- Sift the flour into a bowl, then whisk in the salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter, and 1⁄4 cup of the granulated sugar and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until light and creamy. On low speed, add the flour mixture and beat just until incorporated and the dough starts to come together.
- Scrape the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and divide in half. Shape each half into a disk 3⁄4 to 1 inch thick, then wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the apricots and water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer for about 8 minutes, until the apricots are soft. Add the remaining 1⁄4 cup granulated sugar and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly, then add the cinnamon and, using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. (Alternatively, puree in a food processor with the cinnamon.)
- Position two oven racks, evenly spaced, in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out one dough disk 1⁄8 inch thick. Using the pastry wheel and ruler, trim the edges to create an 11-inch square, then cut the square into 16 squares, each about 23⁄4 inches. Repeat with the remaining dough disk.
- Dollop 1 teaspoon of the apricot filling in the middle of each square, then fold two opposite corners toward the center, overlapping them slightly and pinching them together. Transfer half of the cookies to each prepared baking sheet, spacing them evenly.
- Bake the cookies for 16 to 18 minutes, until the corners start to turn golden, switching the baking sheets between the racks about halfway through the baking time. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks and let cool for 5 minutes, then carefully transfer the cookies to the racks and let cool completely.
- Using a small sifter or fine-mesh sieve, dust the cookies with the confectioners’ sugar just before serving.