These simple cookies are very popular in Israel, and can be made with a variety of fillings such as chocolate, chocolate-hazelnut or date and walnut. Try them with different fillings and see which one is your favorite.
For the poppy seed filling:
- ¾ cup whole or low-fat milk
- 6 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 3 oz finely ground poppy seeds (see note above)
- 3 Tbsp ground almonds (or ground-up cookies)
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- zest of 1 lemon
For the dough:
- 2¾ cups (14 oz) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg yolk
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- To make the filling: Put the milk, sugar and poppy seeds in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring frequently, until the milk is absorbed and the mixture has thickened. Stir in the ground almonds, butter, vanilla and lemon zest until well incorporated, then remove from heat. Cool completely.
- To make the dough: Put flour, powdered sugar, baking powder and diced butter in the bowl of a food processor and mix until you get crumbs (alternatively, you can make the dough in a large bowl with your hands or with a pastry blender.) Add egg, yolk and salt and mix until you get a dough. If the mixture is too dry, you can add water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Wrap dough in plastic wrap, flatten it to a disk, and cool in the fridge for 30 minutes.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Have two large parchment paper pieces ready (about the size of a baking sheet.) work with a third of the dough at a time. Put dough between the two parchment papers and use a rolling pin to roll it into a 12” x 9” rectangle.
- Use an icing spatula to spread a third of the poppy seed filling all over the dough. Starting from the long side, roll the dough rectangle into a log and transfer into the baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
- Transfer the baking sheet to the fridge for 30-60 minutes. Preheat oven to 325 F degrees.
- Use a knife to slice the logs into 1-inch thick pieces, but do not separate them from each other. Bake for 25 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely, for a couple of hours.
- Once the rolls are completely cold, use a knife to slice the cookies all the way and separate them. Dust with powdered sugar. The cookies keep in a sealed container at room temperature for up to 4 days, or longer in the fridge.