Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Pretty Addition to Your Holiday Cookie Plate

photo by Anthony Palatta

Thursday, December 16, I'm going to be teaching my second baking class at Whole Foods, Holiday Cookies Made Easy, so I've been practicing a few of the recipes recently, including this one for jam-filled cream cheese dough cookies.  (Click the link above to get the exact recipe, but be sure to read the notes below, as I've modified the process somewhat.)

Last year, when I was making my holiday cookies, I realized that though I'd made a variety of flavors, they'd all turned out the same color: brown! So at the last minute, I made these, to add a bit of color and to add a fruit theme to my chocolate/butter heavy mix.

They were a hit. The cookie tastes rich, yet not too sweet, complimented by a raspberry or apricot filling.

I also love the fact that with one recipe, you can get several different flavors and two different shapes, the square and then the round one with stripes of jam showing through.

And though they look fancy, they're actually quite easy to make, with only a few ingredients. After you've assembled the dough, rolled it out, and chilled it, cut out circles or star-shaped cookies.

Dollop the centers with just the right amount of jam, not too much or it'll overflow, but not too little, or all you'll taste is the cookie. It's somewhere in the neighborhood of 1/2 a teaspoon, but you'll see as you start forming the cookies. You want them to be just bursting with jam, but not exploding.

Next, brush the edges with egg wash. I learned from the blog Culinary Covers (which tries out recipes on the covers of cooking magazines) that this step is crucial, or your cookies will burst open while baking.

For circles, pinch at opposite egg-washed ends of the circle, then pinch again at the other ends, and you get a square. For stars, fold in all the egg-washed points of the star to the center to get the striped effect.

A few other things to keep in mind. The Culinary Covers post recommends rolling the extremely sticky dough in flour rather than on parchment, as recommended by the recipe.

I tried a compromise. After mixing the dough, I rolled it between parchment and chilled in the fridge as directed by the recipe. Then I peeled off the parchment and dusted the dough in flour, and after cutting out shapes, continued to re-roll the dough in flour.

And though the recipe called for baking at 375, I found that way too hot. 350 was just fine for me. I also increased the amount of sugar in the dough from 1/3 cup to a heaping 1/2.

Do NOT brush the tops with egg wash as recommended by the recipe. You'll end up with a cookie that has a weird pale yellow splotch on top. Yuck!

Options: You may want to mix mini chocolate chips into the dough. Also, you might want to dust the top with sanding sugar. I happened to have yellow in the house, so I used that this time. But clear might be pretty, or maybe green?


  1. With some geometric adjustment, could be hamentaschen as well, I'm sure.