Thursday, December 20, 2012

From the Kitchen: Apricot Jam Bars (aka Split-Second Cookies)

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My vanity found these lovely (and tasty) cookies to add to my Christmas collection this year. I was planning to send cookies to a meeting at my husband’s new job as an act of gratitude and goodwill, and I wanted them to be very very pretty. I same an image of these on Chow.com and had to investigate. I tweaked them a bit, adding some orange extract to the dough to enhance the fruit flavors, and they turned out great. It’s hard to find cookies that can compete with chocolate crinkles and sugar cookies in the raw appeal department, but these are certainly contenders.

Apricot Jam Bars

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup smooth jam (apricot was wonderful, but others would also work!)

Directions:

1. Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

2. Whisk the measured flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl to aerate and remove any lumps; set aside.

3. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed, about 3 minutes. Stop the mixer, scrape down the paddle and the sides of the bowl, and add the egg and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until incorporated, about 1 1/2 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl.

4. Add the flour mixture and beat on low speed until the dough just comes together, about 45 seconds.

5. Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and form it into a disk. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Using your hands, roll each portion into a 10-by-1-inch log. Carefully transfer 2 of the logs onto each prepared baking sheet.

6. Using the handle of a wooden spoon, make a 1/2-inch-wide and 1/2-inch-deep trough in the center of each log, leaving a 1/2-inch border at each end.

7. Place the jam in a resealable plastic bag (snip off one bottom corner of the plastic bag, if using) and pipe the jam into each of the troughs.

8. Place both baking sheets in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom and bake until the cookie logs are light golden brown around the bottom edges, about 10 to 12 minutes more. Place the baking sheets on wire racks and let the logs cool for 15 minutes.

9. Pick up 1 of the parchment sheets and carefully transfer the two logs to a cutting board. Cut each log on the diagonal into 1-inch-wide pieces. Transfer the cookies to the wire rack. Repeat with the remaining parchment sheet and cookie logs. Let the cookies cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

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