Traditions are fun. Every year I don’t read her The Little Lame Squirrel’s Thanksgiving and then somehow I wind up making a batch of “those cookies we like”. In the past, Christmas was held here but now that folks have moved, we’re spread over four cities and two states. So it’s time to reveal the “secret” recipe for “those cookies”.
Basically the cookies are shortbread topped with almond paste and fruit preserves. Cherry and apricot go particularly well with the almonds. To make them you’ll need:
- 2 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter (softened)
- 2/3 cups sugar
- 3 1/4 cups AP flour
- 8 oz can of almond paste
- jams or fruit preserves
Pre-heat oven to 325℉.
There are a couple ways to make the dough —
- If you’re using a mixer, combine the butter and sugar in a bowl. Beat until fluffy and pale. Then fold in the flour to make a soft dough.
- If you have a food processor. Put the flour and sugar in the work bowl and pulse to mix. Then add the butter (in chunks) to the work bowl and pulse to cut the butter in. It will look like coarse corn meal.
Turn out the dough onto a jelly roll pan lined with parchment paper. Press the dough out to form a giant cookie that’s about 3/8 inch thick.
Next, cover the shortbread with almond paste. It’s easiest to break up the almond paste into six or eight pieces and roll each piece out between sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper. Use a butter knife to score through the almond paste into the shortbread – make the cookie about 2 inches on a side.
Now add the fruit preserves. Make a small depression in the center of each cookie and then add a half teaspoon of preserves. Add more if you like — the food police won’t know. Keep in mind that it will tend to spread.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes. The shortbread part should be a pale gold. Transfer to a rack and cool completely.