Swedish Jelly Cookies
Source: Maida Heatter's Book of Great Desserts (Andrews & McMeel Publishing, 1999 ed.), pg. 247.
Making these cookies was not my finest moment in the kitchen. It is not that the recipe is that hard but you have to do a number of steps after they come out of the oven and you have to be quick or the dough will crack. Which is what happened to me. Then again, I was also trying to get photos. Multi-tasking is not my strong point! The next time I make these, I will be sure and have someone helping me. An extra pair of hands is recommended. I also slightly burned the first batch on the bottom because I thought they were not browning properly on top. The second batch turned out perfect.
These have a shortbread-like taste. I'm not really a big fan of shortbread but Michael is and he raved about these. He thinks they are some of the best cookies I've ever made. Maida recommends adding nuts to make them fancier and the next time I will do this.
Here is the recipe exactly as written -
1/2 lb. (2 sticks) butter
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
2 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
Thick apricot preserves, or currant jelly
Adjust oven rack to top position. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In large bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter, salt and almond extract. Beat in the sugar and then the egg yolk. On lowest speed gradually add the flour, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula, and beating only until mixture holds together.
Using about 1 tablespoon of dough for each cookie (or a bit less for daintier cookies), roll into even balls 1 inch or less in diameter. Place the cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. After shaping the dough balls, make a shallow depression in the top of each, using a blunt instrument about 1/2 inch in diameter, e.g., the end of the handle of a wooden spoon or spatula. Form the depressions quickly before the cookies dry out, or they will crack.
After shaping and denting all the cookies, fill the hollows with preserves or jelly. This is best done with a small paper cone, in which case the preserves should be strained first. Alternatively, the preserves or jelly may be applied with the tip of a small knife, in which case they would not have to be strained. Either way, fill the hollows level.
Bake only one sheet at a time, reversing position of pan during baking to insure even browning. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes until cookies are golden-colored.
While cookies are baking, prepare the following glaze:
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 TBS boiling water (approx.)
Mix sugar and water until smooth, using enough water to make it consistency similar to heavy cream. The glaze should not be too thick; it should be thin enough to flow easily when brushed on. Cover airtight when not in use.
When cookie sheet is removed from the oven, immediately brush the glaze over each cookie, using a soft brush and brushing over both jelly and cookie. Glaze will set immediately and then cookies may be transferred with a metal spatula to a rack to cool.
Note: To make these fancier, sprinkle a very little bit of coarsely chopped green pistachio nuts or chopped toasted almonds on cookies before glaze dries. It would be best if someone could help with this, since glaze must be applied while cookies are hot.