My mother was a fantastic cook, but not much of a baker -- except for these cookies, although she accompanied their preparation with heavy sighs. I've carried forth the tradition, but without the heavy sighs. They' a labor of love and mean the holiday season to us, and our favorite cookie.
1Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2In a large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese until smooth. Combine flour and salt and gradually add with almond extract to creamed mixture and mix well. Divide the dough in half, form into balls, flatten to 5-inch circles, wrap in plastic film and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
3Place dried cherries in a small bowl, cover with boiling water; let stand 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
4On a flour board, roll one ball of dough into an 11-inch circle. Combine cherry jam and lemon juice, mix well. Spread the circle with 1/2 of the cherry jam, then spread with half of the pecans and half of the cherries, pressing down gently to adhere. Cut into 16 wedges. Roll each from the wide end and place, point side down 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Curve end to form a crescent. Repeat with the second ball of dough, cherry jam, almonds and dried cherries. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate 30 minutes before baking.
5Bake crescents for 18 to 22 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.