Today was a cookie day, you see, because it's so close being Yule. Mother seems convinced my increased crabbiness stems from me being an Artiste, and this is the reason I chose to do one of the most complicated types of cookies. I just like challenges.. what's wrong with that? See, this is what happens when mom subscribes to magazines like BGH. It's worse when PBS airs its regular Saturday schedule of cooking shows.
Rather than going completely vanilla and doing my usual chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter blossoms, and ordinary sugar cookies, I decided to do something more complicated. The cookies in question were a sugar cookie version of linzer cookies, complete with raspberry jam and a dusting of powdered sugar; mom called it the Pastry Chef Challenge and was surprised when they came out as they did. I tweaked the recipe a little by changing the spices and omitting the ground nuts (sugar cookies, remember?), and adding some lemon oil along with the vanilla extract. Here's the recipe and a picture:
5 cups flour
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups unsalted butter, softened
2 whole eggs plus 3 yolks
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp lemon oil
powdered sugar for sprinkling
about 1/2 cup raspberry or other jam for the filling
Beat the butter, eggs, yolks, sugar, vanilla and lemon oil until fluffy, then start adding the flour about a cup at a time, then add the spices. Scrape the bowl down once everything is combined and still fairly fluffy. Divide the dough into quarters and wrap it in plastic to chill for about two hours before you roll it out. If it gets too warm and starts to get sticky, use cornstarch instead of flour on the board or whatever surface you're using; extra flour just makes the dough heavier. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and switch one of the racks to the middle position. Bake the cookies at 350 for 10 minutes, then let them cool before you start assembling the little sandwiches.
While they're cooling, put the jam in a small saucepan and warm it over low heat until it's melted and slightly thickened; put a small blob on the bottom cookie, then add the top layer. If necessary, add a little more jam to the cut-out opening, then sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Get creative! Use nifty cookie cutters! Get messy!
Happy Yule, kids. :P