Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Cranberry Jam Cookies

We have a lot of desserts here at Fritter, don't we? It's no secret that I would eat dessert first if I could. Even when I have a lovely eggplant salad or savory rainbow trout on my plate, I've got one eye trained on the platter back there in the kitchen, hiding under a tent of aluminum foil. I know what's under there; it's dessert.

And it's waiting to be tasted.

If I really had to choose (don't make me), cookies would be high on my "can't live without" list of desserts. Except for the saturated fat and the calories, cookies are--in many ways--a perfect food item.

Think about it. When someone hosts a potluck party and they ask you to bring a dessert, what should you bring? Not cake, wonderful as it is, because cake is so high-maintenance. It requires additional plates, additional silverware, and some kind of serving piece. The same goes for pie and pudding. Plus, you worry about smudged icing and collapsing interiors as you nervously drive over to your friend's house.

Cookies, on the other hand, require no such concierging. Cookies are a one-bite wonder. You can stack them in a container and go. You can pass a plate of them around without the need for anything other than a napkin.

I made these cookies twice in the last week, once for a get-together at my friend Lauren's and again for last night's Rosh Hashanah dinner at my in-laws. They were a hit both times, so I decided to share them with you.

My friend Sara enjoyed them so much she decided to experiment with the filling. She reports that you can fill the cookies with chocolate if you melt it first, then add it to the indentations.

Cranberry Jam Cookies
Adapted from this recipe at Epicurious

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons of cranberry jam (I used FiordiFrutta, which has a smooth texture free of large fruit)

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. In a separate mixer, beat the butter and sugar until very pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes, then beat in egg and vanilla. At low speed, mix in the flour mixture in 3 batches just until a crumbly dough forms. Divide the dough in half and form two well-packed logs, then chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, about 1 hour.

When the dough is thoroughly chilled, preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or aluminum foil.

Slice a 1/2-inch piece of dough from the end of one of the logs and roll the dough into a ball in the palm of your hand. Then, flatten the ball slightly into a disk (to 1 inch wide and less than 1/2 inch thick). Make a deep indentation in center of the round with wooden spoon handle. Make more cookies, arranging them 1 inch apart on baking sheets.

Fill the indentations in each cookie with about 3/4 teaspoon of the cranberry jam, then place both cookie sheets in the oven.

Bake until the cookies are baked through and golden-brown on edges, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on baking sheets 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

Makes: 18 cookies


StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

You just can't beat a tasty little cookie! I love these! Thumbprint cookies are one of my faves, but I've never tried them with cranberry. Sounds great!

Foodycat said...

They sound delicious but I just can't view a cookie as a dessert. A cookie is a snack, a mini-meal in itself, not a dessert!

Aggie said...

Love these cookies! I bet that cranberry filling was delicious!

Sarah said...

Stickygooey: Thanks! They are truly yummy.

Foodycat: I agree 100%, with my entire heart and soul. This is why cookies are the perfect food ;)

Aggie: Thanks! They are easy to make, too!