Happy Christmas in July! I know, I know, I know! It’s only July but it’s never too early to think about Christmas cookies! So, as I continue on with my Cookie of the Month series in 2013, I am sharing an old family favourite – Brown Sugar Jam-Filled Cookies – as the July cookie.
This recipe was shared with me by a neighbour lady 36 years ago. It has long been a favourite cookie in our household. It is not too sweet but is very tasty….bite into one of these cookies and you’ll find that one will not be enough!
You can also vary the flavour by using different jams and jellies in the center, although red jam is always the most showy. I have used some of my fresh batch of strawberry jam as the filler in the cookies in these photos.
When my neighbour made the cookies, she never added cherries or nuts; however, I think these additions make the cookies a bit more special, particularly around holiday time.
I do a lot of special baking around the holidays but have discovered that not everyone wants gooey squares and rich decadent cookies, balls, and candy that always seem to adorn sweet trays during the holiday season. For some, they are just too rich and sweet. These cookies are the perfect alternative. They are what I would class as a ‘substantial’ cookie yet the nuts and cherries still keep them within the Christmas ‘zone’.
But don’t reserve them just for the holidays! They are good any time of the year and are especially good picnic fare and lunch box treats. They also make a great tea-time snack (yes, I took my Christmas China to the beach for a mid-evening tea and had to watch out for the seagulls who were eying the cookies pretty well!).
The Brown Sugar Jam-Filled Cookies are easy to make and don’t take uncommon ingredients. They also freeze well so are great to have on hand.
Brown Sugar Jam-Filled Cookies
½ cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp milk
½ tsp vanilla
1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cardamom
½ cup chopped macadamia nuts
¼ cup chopped maraschino cherries
Favorite jam or jelly
Preheat oven to 350C.
In medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, soda, salt, and cardamom. Set aside.
Chop well-drained cherries. I drain them on, and dry them with, paper towel. The cherries need to be very well-drained and dried as, otherwise, they will color the dough pink. Chop macadamia nuts. Set both the cherries and nuts aside.
In bowl of stand mixer, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, milk, and vanilla.
On slow “stir” speed, stir in dry ingredients just until combined. Do not overmix.
Stir in cherries and nuts by hand.
On parchment-lined baking sheet, drop dough by teaspoonfuls. With thumb, press indent into center of each cookie. Fill with ¼ – ½ tsp of favorite jam or jelly.
Bake for 12-14 minutes. Do not overbake. Let cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes then transfer to wire rack to finish cooling.
Yield: Apx. 30 cookies (depending on the size you choose to make)
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