Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bow Tie Cookies with Apricot Jam

It's been a while since I've added a new post, but this past month has been crazy. I've moved back to the US and have been unpacking and repacking for my move to San Francisco. Luckily, there's been some time to try out new recipes even with all the commotion. When I got to my parent's house, I knew I wanted to bake something for my dad. He's the kind of guy who loves having a pastry or cookie with his morning coffee. But he doesn't like things to be overly sweet and dislikes anything with frosting or icing.

I was browsing recipes at Fine Cooking when I came across this cookie recipe and knew it would be perfect. The cookie itself is not too sweet and is the perfect coffee or tea cookie. The flavor is simple yet the cookies are extremely addictive. We managed to finish the entire batch within 4 days (there were only 3 of us at home at the time). You can use any jam you want for these. I made half of the cookies with apricot jam and half with strawberry rhubarb jam and both were delicious. The apricot ones were a little more tart since the jam isn't as sweet. You can fill them with whatever flavor you like, but choose a firm jam. A thin, runny jam will seep out of the cookies more so than a thicker one (this was the case with my apricot jam cookie). Best of all, the original recipe claims you can freeze these cookies in a freezer bag for up to 3 month, so if you don't plan on going on a cookie binge you can save them. But seeing as how these cookies seem to magically disappear, that might not be necessary.

Adapted from Fine Cooking
Makes around 70 cookies

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 ounces (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 lemon, zested
11 1/4 ounces (2 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour, sifted
1 12 ounce jar of apricot preserves or jam (around 3/4 cup)
1 egg, beaten
powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Set up your stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. In the bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed until fluffy. This takes about 3 minutes. Use a spatula to make sure everything on the side of the bowl is incorporated. Add the lemon zest and mix again. Run the mixer on low and slowly ass the flour until the dough comes together.

Out the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead to form the dough into a ball. Divide this into 3 sections and wrap each in plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or leave it in overnight.

Begin by putting you oven rack in the center of your oven and heat to 400ºF/200ºC. Line at least 3 cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Take the dough out of the fridge. Roll the first section out on a lightly floured surface. Try to keep the shape as square or rectangular while rolling. Roll until the dough is 1/8" thick. Use a knife or pizza cutter and cut the uneven edges away from the dough, making the edges straight. Cut the dough into 2" squares and put about 1/2 teaspoon to 3/4 teaspoon of jam in the center of the dough. Fold one of the corners into the middle and put a dab of the egg onto the top of this corner. Then take the opposite corner and fold it on top of the egg covered corner and press firmly to seal the two corners together. Gently place the cookie on your lined baking sheet, using a thin spatula to help you if needed. Repeat this with the remaining dough.

Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the cookies are golden and lightly brown. They will puff up slightly too. This took my cookies about 15 minutes, though the original recipe says 10 to 12 minutes. Start with 10 minutes since each oven bakes differently. Once baked, let the them cool and then dust with powdered sugar if desires. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days, or freeze prior to dusting with sugar.

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