Thursday, May 19, 2005

Shortbread Rhubarb Sandwich Cookies

Shortbread Rhubarb Sandwich Cookies (Adapted from Martha Stewart)

For the rhubarb jam

18 ounces (1 pound plus 2 ounces, about 6 medium stalks) cleaned, trimmed and sliced into 1/4" thick pieces
1 cup granulated sugar
pinch salt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

For the cookies

16 tablespoons (1 cup or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

To prepare the jam

In a large bowl, add icy water and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, add rhubarb, sugar, salt and lemon juice. Cook over medium-low until the rhubarb breaks down and begins to thicken, about 10 to 14 minutes. Remove pan from the heat and submerge the bottom in the icy water to stop the rhubarb from continuing to cook. When the jam has cooled completely, refrigerate until cold and set, at least 2 hours.

To prepare the cookies

In a large bowl, beat together butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until smooth and creamy. Mix in flour just until combined. Divide dough in half, then flatten each into a disc and wrap well with saran wrap. Place into the refrigerator until firm, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Remove one dough disc from the refrigerator and unwrap. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to roughly 1/8" thick. Cut out as many cookies as you can with a 1 3/4" scalloped round cutter, transferring them to parchment lined baking sheets. Place cookies into the freezer until firm, about 15 to 30 minutes. Remove and stamp out small shapes from the center of half the cookies, then return to freezer for another 15 minutes. Repeat process with remaining dough disc. Gather dough scraps, chill them and re-rolling once more, repeating the same process as above.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place cookies into the oven and bake until they just begin to brown around the edges, about 12 to 14 minutes. Remove from the oven and carefully transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

Just before serving, spread a scant 1 teaspoon jam over the top of whole cookies, then gently top with cut-out cookies. Cookies can be assembled a few hours ahead of time - keep chilled until serving.

Makes about 36 sandwich cookies.

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