Baking on Friday (Saturday Edition): Cherry Tart Cookies

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Well, if these are not the cutest Christmas cookie for gift-giving, I don't know what is.  I told you I would come back and tell you about these.  They weren't quite finished when I blogged about my Baking on Friday projects.  This recipe was published in the December/January 2012 issue of Cook's Country.  They won a Christmas Cookies contest and a $1,000 grand prize!  That's good enough for me to want to try them.  Sara Cowley created them and had this to say:

I got this recipe from a friend over 30 years ago.  My mom is the expert cookie baker in the family, but one year I brought these cookies as my contribution to the family's Christmas cookie tray.  Everyone loved them, and my mom asked for the recipe.  For a little while they were known as Sara's Cherry Cookies, but then a couple of years in a row, we both made them for the Christmas tray.  I took the hint and let her make them from then on.
So, while they look complicated, they really are not difficult.  You'll need to flour your hands and your work surfaces well to keep them from sticking.  Also, flour your rolling pin and your cookie-cutter.  I'll admit that mine were a little underbaked, and so I increased the baking time I'm about to give you just a little bit.  I encourage you to watch them carefully to accommodate for differences in our respective ovens.  Also, I added a little instruction about assembling them.  I found that if I just put the top cookie over the cherry preserves, the preserves wanted to leak out.  I gently pressed the edges with my fingers to seal them before crimping them with a fork, and that worked much better for me.  Also, don't overstuff them.  Experiment a little bit before plopping down all the cherry preserves on all the cookies.  Finally, I used Smucker's cherry preserves, but you can use whatever you like.  They are really quite tasty and would make a sweet gift at Christmas.  Here is the recipe.

Cherry Tart Cookies

Recipe By Sara Cowley and adapted from Cook's Country
2 1/2 cups  all-purpose flour (12.5 oz.)
1/4 teaspoon  baking soda
1/4 teaspoon  table salt
12 tablespoons  unsalted butter -- softened
3/4 cup  granulated sugar (5.25 oz.)
1/4 cup  milk -- divided
1 large egg plus 1 large egg white -- divided
1 teaspoon  almond extract
3/4 cup  cherry preserves
1 cup  confectioners sugar (4 oz.)
1/2 teaspoon  vanilla extract

Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350°F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl.

Using a stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat butter and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Add 2 tablespoons milk, whole egg, and almond extract and beat until incorporated.  Reduce speed to low, add flour mixture in 3 additions, and mix until just combined, scraping down bowl as needed.

Lightly beat egg white in bowl.  Working on lightly floured counter, divide dough in half and form each into a 4-inch disk.  Roll each disk into 1/4-inch-thick circle.  Using 2 1/2-inch cookie cutter, cut out rounds, gathering and rerolling dough as necessary.  Transfer half of rounds to prepared sheets, 1 inch apart.  Place heaping teaspoon of preserves in center of each round.  Top with remaining rounds and gently press rounds together to seal, then crimp with a fork.  Brush filled rounds with beaten egg white and cut 1/2-inch "X" into center of each.

Bake until edges are lightly browned, 14 - 16 minutes, switching and rotating sheets halfway through baking.  Let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes, and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.  Whisk confectioners' sugar, remaining 2 tablespoons milk, and vanilla in bowl until smooth.  Brush cookies with glaze and let sit for 30 minutes.  Serve.  (Tarts may be stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.)

2 comments from clever and witty friends:

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Scrump-dili-icious sounding tender bites of cherry yumyum. Barb, if I ate all the recipes that sound delectable from this delightful blog, you'd be rolling me down the walkway to the walking track as we exercised off all that poundage...

When can you start :)

Snoodles said...

LOL I love Lynda's comment above! The cookies do look scrumptious! Were they what made you sit down and have a cry, or was it the creative fallout (mess) you created? :)