I’m back! I apologize for the extended holiday absence. I had every intention of blogging this season, but I got carried away with festivities, family, and friends. I will detail all the things we did in a later post.
Our holiday consisted mostly of hanging out, taking care of the chickens and the next door neighbor kitty, watching DVDs, and eating. Very nice. Girlfriend didn’t really want to get together with any pals for official play dates. After I got over the guilt of not scheduling any playdates, I settled into our routine. We went to bed late and slept in late. We ate whenever we were hungry. We encouraged pals to stop by for chats and cocktails (or hot cocoa). My pal Carrie gave us a really neat electric fireplace (Love.It.), which was very nice to curl up by. I can’t tell you how much I love that kind of schedule.
Today is the first day that we are all back to our normal schedules. Girlfriend went back to school and dAhub went back to work. Unfortunately, the weather couldn’t be worse–it’s very grey and rainy. More rainy than it’s been for awhile. On the bright side, this means that it’s a perfect day to bake. One of the recipes I meant to post during the holidays was a recipe for jam-filled shortbread cookies. Yes, again with the jam. I found the original inspiration for this recipe in Ina Garten’s The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again–Ina Garten’s cookbooks are my favorite. If stuck on the desert island that somehow contained a full kitchen, I would bring her cookbooks along. If forced to choose one, I would choose The original Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. The thing about her cookbooks is that all of the recipes work well and are delicious. I have not found a recipe of hers that I don’t like. Sigh. I just love her.
I’ve been going through her books lately with an eye towards her yummy baked goods. I’ve already adapted her chocolate chip cookie recipe from Barefoot Contessa Parties, and they’ve become my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe and one of my most popular recipes.
For the holidays, I went to the open house of Kathy Casey’s Food Studios. It was a very nice gathering–she had drinks and snacks from her newest book, Sips and Apps (which is awesome, by the way). Anyway, she had some of her jams, preserves, and conserves for sale. I had the privilege of participating in a canning session with her and her staff this summer and was lucky enough to walk away with some jam. At her party, she had her Apricot Wine Preserve out for sampling. I’m telling you, this preserve is out of this world. Wow. It is definitely summer in a jar. I immediately bought some, knowing that I would be making many holiday cookies with jam.
The recipe I immediately thought of for use with the jam is one I developed based on Ina Garten’s “Linzer Cookies.” The title of these cookies is in quotes because the cookies don’t have any nuts in them–which is the case with true Linzer Cookies. She developed this recipe as a variation of a shortbread cookie made by Eli Zabar (of Zabar’s in New York City).
This recipe makes a simple shortbread dough that you can cut into shapes. They are very versitile, and since the dough can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days, you always have dough on had to make cookies. I like to follow Garten’s lead and make them as pretty sandwich cookies with a jam filling. And the jam I used this holiday season was–of course–Kathy Casey’s Apricot Wine Preserve. Delish. These are the cookies we set out for Santa this year. Also, they are egg-free.
Jam-Filled Shortbread Cookies, Gluten-Free
-adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
Note: This recipe uses my gluten-free flour mix:
Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix (mix together and store in fridge):
1 1/4 C. brown rice flour
1 1/4 C. white rice flour
1 C. tapioca flour
1 C. sweet rice flour (also known as Mochiko)
2 scant tsp. xanthan gum
(you can also use the gluten-free flour mixture of your choice–just be sure it contains xanthan gum. Or, you can add 1/4-1/2 tsp. xanthan gum per cup of gluten-free flour. If you use bean flour, it will add a bean taste to the cookies)
3 1/2 C Jeanne’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour Mix
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 lb (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 C granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 C jam or preserves of your choice (optional)
extra tapioca flour for dusting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-in a medium bowl, combine flour and salt, set aside
-in the bowl of a mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until it is light and fluffy
-add the sugar, continue to beat
-add the vanilla extract
-add the flour and salt mixture to the butter mixture, beat until just combined
-remove bowl from mixer and do the final mixing of the dough with your hands
-divide into two lumps
-shape each lump into a flat disk and wrap each disk in plastic wrap
-put into refrigerator to chill (for about 15-20 minutes)
When you’re ready to make the cookies, take out your first disk from the refrigerator and set onto counter to warm up a bit
-when dough is soft enough to roll out, place dough onto a Silpat mat (or between two sheets of plastic wrap)and roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness. If you’re using Silpat mat method, you may need to sprinkle some tapioca flour onto the dough and onto the rolling pin so the dough doesn’t stick to them
-with a cookie cutter, cut out cookies and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet.
-if you are making jam-filled window cookies, you will need to choose a cookie cutter in the same shape but in two different sizes. I use my square set:
-if making the window cookies, be sure to separate the window frame from the inner part
Repeat this process until all the dough is used (or all the dough you want to use is used)
-place cookie sheet back into refrigerator for about 10 minutes to firm up
-bake at 350 for about 25 minutes–until the edges begin to brown
-remove cookie sheet from oven and let cookies cool on sheet for several minutes (they are quite delicate) before moving to a cooling rack
-once cool, you may spread jam on your cookies (if you’re making the sandwiches)–be careful–they are delicate and will break if handled too roughly
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