Jam Buttons from My Cookie Cookbook
For most college students, the ideal birthday present is either beer or money to buy beer. But me, I’ve always preferred cookies. In fact, many of my fond birthday memories center around cookies. My freshman year, my friend ordered the Cookie Guy – a genius service that delivers hot, freshly baked cookies to your door (or dorm room) with cold milk to wash it down. (Hillary has expressed similar love for the University of Illinois version.)
Other birthdays always included a large, chocolate chip-oatmeal cookie cake adorned with sickly sweet frosting. And so it probably shouldn’t have come as a big surprise when my friends got me a cookie cookbook for my birthday during our senior year – how perfect!?
The cookbook, Got Milk? The Cookie Book, by Peggy Cullen is a wonderful collection of basic recipes with some special twists. With entire sections devoted to Chocolate Chip Cookies, – affectionately referred to as CCCs in the book – Mostly Chocolate Cookies, and Twice-Baked Cookies, Cullen does a marvelous job of breaking down the basics and making them fabulous.
The recipes are generally for a small amount of cookies, – less than 25 – which can be good or bad, depending on the occasion. Last week, when I wanted to bake something sweet, but not elaborate after dinner, a small amount was perfect. I chose Jam Buttons mostly because I had the ingredients on-hand and it looked simple. Generally, I was very pleased with the recipe. I think my cookies were a little thin, so they got browner than I would have liked, but they still tasted great! I also don’t have a cookie cutter – let alone a 1-inch circle as the recipe calls for – but I used a shot glass and they turned out larger, but just fine.
The best part about this recipe is that the dough doesn’t have to chill before you cut out the shapes and bake. Chilling would have been one of my deal breakers that day and this made the recipe especially simple.
Next time I’ll try to experiment with jam flavors and maybe add a bit of orange zest to the dough. Yum!
4 oz. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 C. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
Finely grated zest of 1 orange (optional)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
1 C. all-purpose flour
Raspberry and/or apricot jam
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
With an electric mixer, beat butter, sugar, salt, orange zest and vanilla until well combined. Do not overmix. Beat in yolk. Sift the flour and add into the mixture until just combined. Scrape the bowl and mix again. Turn dough onto work surface and knead together until smooth.
On a lightly floured surface, press the dough into a 1/2-inch thick patty. Dip a 1-inch round cutter into flour and cut out circles. Place cookies on an ungreased baking sheet at least 1 inch apart. Gather up scraps, form another patty and repeat until all the dough is used up.
Using your thumb or the end of a large wooden spoon, make an impression in the center of each cookie without going through. Fill each impression with about 1/4 tsp. jam.
Bake for 22 minutes or just until the jam bubbles. Let the cookies cool on a baking sheet for 20 minutes, then cool completely on wire rack.