Tuesday, November 29, 2011

C is for cookie, that's good enough for me!

After finally giving up on Thanksgiving leftovers, I have decided that it's time for me to start work on the long list of Christmas cookies for this year.  These lovely jam sandwich cookies have been on my list every year that I've been on my own and were made every year that I can remember either by my mother or my Oma when I was growing up.  Surprisingly, I don't have their recipe for these and quite frankly can't remember ever seeing one.  Instead I use a recipe from The Best of Baking which is absolutely amazing and tastes just like theirs.

Austrian Jam Rings
2 2/3 cups flour
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla sugar
grated peel of one lemon
1/2 cup finely ground hazelnuts
1/3 to 1/2 cup jam (red currant, seedless raspberry, or the like)
powdered sugar

Put flour in a large bowl and cut in butter.  Make a well in the center of flour mixture and add in egg yolks, sugars, lemon peel and hazelnuts.  Knead all together until dough sticks together and can be formed into a disk (if the dough is not coming together gently knead in another egg yolk).  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Roll out dough 1/4 inch thick on a floured surface.  Using a round, fluted cookie cutter approximately 2 1/2 inches in diameter, cut dough into rounds.  Using the the clean top of a round lipstick tube (hey, don't laugh, it's the best thing ever), cut a hole in the center of an even number of those rounds.  Use a spatula to move the rounds and rings to the baking sheets.  Bake for 10 minutes, or until browned.  Remove from sheet and place on a wire rack to cool completely.  Repeat with remaining dough.

Using the tip of a butter knife, place about 1/2 teaspoon of jam in the center of a round.  Top it with a ring and press slightly together.  Repeat with remaining rounds and rings, lining them up on a wire rack.  Heavily sift powdered sugar over the tops of the cookies.  Let sit until powdered sugar is absorbed by the jam in the middle of the cookies.  Store in an airtight container.

a note on filling:  If you use red currant, don't use jelly.  You really need the jam to get the correct flavour and texture.  If you can't find red currant then I would suggest seedless raspberry or if you have homemade jams, any tangy red jam will work beautifully. 

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