December 23, 2013

12 Days of Cookies
( + Apricot Sandwich Cookies )

I may have miscalculated here.  I've forgotten my seasons.

These aren't exactly wintertime cookies.  There's no red, no green.  No glitter or sprinkles.  No ginger or peppermint or rum.

There isn't even a token Santa hat posed idly in the background.

There's just sandy, buttery pecan wafers sandwiched with a fluorescent apricot jam.  It's like sunshine creeping through the blinds.  And to compound my error, I've cut them into little daisies.  These cookies say "Mother's Day" more than Christmas.

Which is exactly why they're perfect for the longest, darkest nights of the year, the nights when the air feels like razor blades going down and the only way to your car is through four inches of icy slush.  Take a nibble.  Spring is coming.  I promise.

Apricot Sandwich Cookies
barely adapted from Baking by Flavor
by Lisa Yockelson

Flour  [ 4 1/2 cups ]
Baking Soda  [ 1 teaspoon ]
Salt  [ 1 1/4 teaspoons ]
Cinnamon  [ 3/4 teaspoon ]
Freshly Grated Nutmeg  [ 3/4 teaspoon ]
Unsalted Butter  [ 2 cups, softened ]
Sugar  [ 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons ]
Vanilla Extract  [ 2 1/2 teaspoons ]
Pecans  [ coarsely ground, 2 cups ]

Apricot Preserves  [ 18 ounces ]
Lemon Juice  [ 2 teaspoons ]
Water  [ 1 tablespoon ]
Vanilla Extract  [ 1/2 teaspoon ]

Make Cookie Dough:
1.   Sift together Flour, Baking Soda, Salt, Cinnamon, and Nutmeg.
2.   In the bowl of a mixer, beat Butter on Low speed for 3 minutes.
3.   Raise speed to Medium.
4.   Add 1/3 of the Sugar.  Beat for 30 seconds, then add next 1/3 of the Sugar.  Repeat until all Sugar has 
         been added.
5.   Add Vanilla and Pecans and mix to blend.
6.   Decrease speed to Low; add in Flour, 1/3 at a time, mixing just until no white streaks are evident.
7.   Divide Dough into 4 portions.
8.   Set each portion between two sheets of waxed paper and roll to 1/4 inch thick.
9.   Stack sheets of Dough on a cookie sheet and refrigerate until firm  [ about 3-4 hours, or up to 3 days ].

Make Filling:
10.   In a medium pot, stir together Apricot Preserves, Lemon Juice, Water, and Vanilla Extract.
11.   Stirring frequently, bring to a boil over Medium-High heat.
12.   Boil slowly for 1 minute.
13.   Strain into a medium bowl through a fine-meshed sieve, pressing down on solids to extract all liquid.
14.   Set aside until ready to fill Cookies.      

Bake Cookies:
15.   Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
16.   Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
17.   Lightly flour a work surface.
18.   Remove waxed paper from one sheet of Dough and lay on floured work surface.  Using a 2-inch cookie 
            cutter, cut out Cookies with as little waste as possible.
19.   Transfer Cookies to cookie sheet, placing them 2 inches apart.
20.   Reroll scraps and cut additional Cookies until Dough has all been used.
21.   Repeat until all prepared Dough sheets have been used.
22.   Bake Cookies until  firm and light gold, but not browned  [ about 10-12 minutes ].
23.   Cool on sheet for 4 minutes, then transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.   

Finish Cookies:
24.   When Cookies are completely cool, reheat Apricot Filling over Medium-Low heat until bubbly.  Set 
             aside until merely warm.
25.   Using a butter knife or similar tool, spread a little of the warmed Filling over the bottom of one Cookie; 
             top with a second Cookie [ bottom down ] and press lightly to adhere.
26.   Place Cookie Sandwiches back on cooling rack to allow Filling to firm up.   

Makes about 48 cookies.

   Love Sandwich Cookies?
Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies

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