You should know about those cookies that were worthy of making their own jam for. Which isn’t to say you need to follow suit – there’s no requirement to make jam from scratch in order to make these cookies, only that you have the best possible jam to put on these buttery pedestals.
They come from Dorie Greenspan, whom I met a few years ago in Austin; after a brief introduction in the lounge on Friday night (I was there for IACP for the weekend) she spotted me a few yards away at a party the following evening, and came through the crowd to ask how my day was. Yes she did. And then Jacques Pepin came over to talk to her, and said hi to me in doing so, and then suddenly the three of us were standing there chatting – or more likely, I was standing there open mouthed and speechless with Dorie Greenspan and Jacques Pepin. It was brief, but it happened.
These cookies are made with (impeccable) shortbread dough, topped with a generous spoonful of jam (note to self: try mincemeat at Christmas) and a crumble of butter, sugar and flour, which you sort of sprinkle around; in the oven they meld together, so there’s no risk of tipping cookie crumbs down your shirt with each bite.
Dorie knows her stuff, no question. But I did take some shortcuts, it being summer and all; the original recipe instructed to roll out the dough and freeze it, then cut it into rounds with a cookie cutter or glass rim and fit into the bottom of muffin tins. I did this with half, and with the other half pressed a walnut-sized lump of dough into the bottoms, and once baked, no one could tell the difference.
I used the blackberry-apricot jam, mostly, and did a few with chokecherry. I meant to make some peach-ginger jam just for this cause, but went to the beach instead. Next time. I added some chopped pecans to a few, just to see. It worked. Sliced almonds would do well too.
These are substantial cookies, and I get an odd satisfaction out of the fact that they’re perfectly, evenly round, and structurally able to contain so much jam. And it turns out they’re perfect for stacking, wrapping and taking to the beach to eat while sitting on a rock.
Beurre & Sel Jammers
adapted from Dorie Greenspan via Bon Appétit, December 2012
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup icing sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 large egg yolks
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
Streusel and filling:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
5 Tbsp. chilled butter, cut into bits
3/4 cup thick, chunky jam, such as blackberry, peach, apricot or marmalade
Make the cookie dough first – in a large bowl beat the butter, sugars and salt for a few minutes, until pale and creamy. Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla. Add the flour and beat on low speed or stir just to combine. Take walnut-sized chunks of dough and press into the bottom of muffin tins; alternatively, roll between sheets of parchment 1/4″ thick, freeze and then cut into rounds the same size as your muffin tin (I used a small glass rim).
To make the streusel, in a small bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and salt, then rub in the butter with a fork or your fingertips until well blended. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Drop a small spoonful of jam into the middle of each round of dough. Using your fingers or a small spoon, sprinkle 1-1 1/2 Tbsp streusel around edges of each cookie, trying not to get any in the jam.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the sides and streusel are golden; cool until warm enough to handle, then use a thin knife to remove the cookies from the pan.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies.