Monday, December 20, 2010

Jam Sandwiches

I have a confession to make -- I don't really like Christmas cookies. I love cutting them out, decorating them with my mom and sister, making the goopy colored frosting, but at the end of the day, they taste like straight butter and flour. I had given up on Christmas cookies until, on a whim, I opened up my Baking Illustrated cookbook and, lo and behold, I found the greatest Christmas cookies of all time: jam sandwiches.

It turns out the secret ingredients for the perfect sugar cookie are a) superfine sugar, b) two sticks of butter, and c) cream cheese. As always a stand mixer takes all of the guess work out of making these, and liberal use of parchment paper makes rolling/cutting/cleanup incredibly easy. Be sure to refrigerate the dough in between steps and to eat one of the cookie holes right when it comes out of the oven. I think I've found my favorite cookie recipe ever.

Jam Sandwiches
  • 2 1/2 c (12 1/2 oz) AP flour
  • 3/4 c (5 1/2 oz) superfine sugar (granulated sugar, pulverized in the food processor for 30 sec)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 16 Tbsp (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool, cut into sixteen 1/2" pieces
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 Tbsp turbinado, Demerara, or white decorating sugar
  • 1 1/4 c (12 oz) raspberry jam, strained
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix the flour, sugar, and salt at low speed until combined. With the mixer running on low, add the butter a piece at a time. Continue to mix until the mixture looks crumbly and slighty wet. Add the vanilla and cream cheese and mix for another 30 seconds.
  2. Knead the dough by hand in the bowl for a few turns, then turn the dough out onto the countertop. divide in half and wrap each half in plastic and refrigerate for at least half an hour.
  3. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Roll out one half of the dough to an even 1/8" thickness between 2 large sheets of parchment paper. Slide the rolled tough, still on the parchment, onto a baking sheet and refrigerate until firm, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, repeat with the rest of the dough.
  4. Cut out the cookies with a 2" round cookie cutter and transfer to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, rotating the sheet halfway through, until the cookies are golden brown. Roll out the the remaining dough, sprinkle the sugar over the dough, and use a 3/4" round cookie cutter to cut out the centers of the rounds. Bake as before.
  5. When the cookies have cooled, add about 1 tsp of jam on the base cookies and put the cut-out cookies on top. Let stand until set, about 30 minutes.

Secret bonus song I made on my Kaossilator while making these this weekend:

1 comment:

christina said...

Looks so delicious!!!! You take great foodo photos too!