Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Sneak Peek: Stolen Tarts - With Recipe!
How lovely are these?!?!? This is how JoyofBaking.com dresses up their linzer-style shortbreads - with raspberry and white chocolate. It was this recipe I altered last December for my cookie exchange contribution. Remember these gorgeous stained-glass looking beauties:
They were time consuming, but a HUGE hit - and I think I can handle it again provided I'm not making 12 DOZEN this time :) So, these are what I'm planning to make for part of my Halloween spread - the Queen of Heart's stolen tarts!
I know these are not tarts. But seriously, when you think of the nursery rhyme, do you really picture a tart? Tarts are kind of annoying, they aren't stackable, they fall apart when you bite into them...These seem much more appropriate. Here's the recipe, based on JoyofBaking's but co-opted with my own commentary as necessary:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup salted butter, room temperature
(they listed the recipe as unsalted butter + 1/4 tsp of salt...but of course I had salted butter, so I used that and omitted the salt and they were just great - so I'd save the step).
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Jam for filling
To make: In one bowl whisk the flour with the salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of your electric mixer (who loves their kitchen aid? Mine is harvest gold and from 1963, but I'm in LOVE! Or you can also mix with a hand mixer, if you're more patient), cream the butter until smooth - about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat until smooth - about 2 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract. Gently stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated. Flatten the dough into a disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill the dough for at least an hour. Don't skip this, or the dough will be sticky and too hard to work with.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the middle of the oven. Line baking sheets with parchment paper - if you haven't used parchment paper before, it's awesome - saves you a lot of scrubbing, especially of you are making a ton of cookies and have to re-use cookie sheets over and over. LIFESAVER!
On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough until it is about 1/4 inch or 1 cm thick. Using a 2 to 3 inch cookie cutter (I used stars for Christmas, will use hearts for Halloween) cut out the dough. Place the cookies about 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets. Use a smaller cookie cutter to cut out the centers of HALF of the cookies on the baking sheet. You will be sandwiching two cookies together and there will be a small 'window or cut out' in the top cookie so you can see the jam underneath. Don't make the top cookie with the cut out too thin by using a big cut out, or it'll break too easily. Mine were borderline - I might go with a smaller cut out this time. Place the unbaked cookies on the baking sheet, in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. This will firm up the dough so the cookies will maintain their shape when baked. I actually followed this, and yeah, it worked. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until cookies are lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.
Make more than you think you want - these suckers are fragile, and you have a lot of handling to do.
JoyofBaking has a fancy schmancy recipe for filling, but I just used organic jam and it got great reviews. I chose based on what colors looked prettiest, as I am want to do - and ended up with apricot and raspberry. For Halloween I'll probably stick with raspberry and maybe a blueberry or blackberry for a black looking heart.
You can figure out the sandwiching, right? Full cookie, pretty side up - then slap on some jam, then carefully set the cookie with the cut out on top. Poof! You'll want to steal these pretty "tarts" too :)