jam thumbprints

jam in the middle

I still miss Gourmet.

I know that it has been gone for more than a year, and I’m supposed to have moved on by now. And frankly, it’s not as if I had time to read every article those last couple of years, or even most of them. With a newborn, who became a toddler, my reading time has diminished to the point of thin sadness. Creating recipes on our own means that I have less time to cook in a leisurely fashion, from magazines cracked open on the counter, food stains on the pages. I should be grateful I have one fewer magazine that I cannot read, right?

I still miss Gourmet.

Everything about it appealed to me. The recipes always worked. The photographs inspired me, over and over again. And the writing? Ay god, the writing was incredible. Actually, I don’t want to talk about it anymore. I’m growing sad.

Thankfully, there’s a bit of Gourmet brightening this holiday season: The Gourmet Cookie Book: The Single Best Recipe from Each Year 1941–2009. This book is not only filled with ridiculously-good-looking cookies (shot in the magazine’s style), but it is a history of American baking from World War II until last year. You can learn a lot here.

Oh heck, who cares about their learning when there are date bars, chocolate meringue biscuits, Brazil nut crescents, and brandy snaps. Plus, these little jam tart cookies, from 1993, called Aunt Sis’s Strawberry Tart Cookies.

They are like little tarts, because you work with cold butter to form the dough, almost like you are making a pie crust. However, it’s a much more forgiving process. All you need is a stand mixer (or good biceps if you are doing this by hand). There are only a few ingredients and the dough takes about 6 minutes to put together. The hardest part is waiting for the dough to chill in the refrigerator. The wait is worth it, however.

(Just as an aside, every single cookie recipe we will be giving you in the next few weeks does well with some time in the refrigerator as a dough. The refrigeration gives the flavors to mix and meld and build fully. When you bake freshly made gluten-free cookie dough, sometimes all you can taste is the starches. Wait overnight and you taste the cinnamon and vanilla again.)

Also, there is jam in the middle.

candy cane thumbprints

However, if you want, you can follow Lu’s suggestion and fill the little well with crushed candy canes.

When she and I were in the grocery store, buying the ingredients for the baking extravaganza, she reached for the new display of candy canes hanging down. Last year, she was too little to take any of this in. This December, she recognizes Santa on gift bags. (Wait until she meets Santa tonight, at the island tree lighting ceremony!) So those candy canes called to her, like dangling jewels. I bought a few. And then she dropped one on the floor when we were unloading the bag at home.

No point in throwing it away. Let’s use it.

Good idea, kiddo. These may look a bit janky but they are delicious. The little butter tart cookies that melt in the mouth meet the crackly crunch of candy cane. Sign me up for more. Thank goodness it’s only the first week of December. There is still time to bake more of these jam tart cookies and linger with the goodness that is Gourmet.

Would you like more gluten-free holiday cookies to bake after this one? You are in luck. We’re baking at a hilarious, frantic piece around here. We have plans for you. Make up a batch of the all-purpose mix we published last night and start baking.

We’ll be publishing a new gluten-free baked good every weekday between now and December 23rd!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Jam tart cookies

Monday, December 6th

Gingerbread babies

Tuesday, December 7th

Pistachio cranberry cookies

Wednesday, December 8th

Chocolate roll-up cookies

Thursday, December 9th

Snickerdoodles

Friday, December 10th

Pine nut cookies

Monday, December 13

Honey-spice madeleines

Tuesday, December 14

Ginger lemon bars

Wednesday, December 15th

(we have a surprise for you this day)

Thursday, December 16th

Spritz cookies

Friday, December 17th

Cannoli

Saturday, December 18th

Shortbread

Monday, December 20th

Swedish cardamom cookies

Tuesday, December 21st

Russian tea cakes

Wednesday, December 22nd

Coconut spice fudge

Thursday, December 23rd

Round-up of all that we have done, plus a few surprises.

Sound good?

It grows better. We’re giving away a copy of our cookbook on each of those days. It’s the holidays. You’ll need crusty bread for sandwiches and breadcrumbs, curried red lentil dip for party appetizers, fresh pasta for a quick evening meal, and the blue cheese cheesecake with a fig crust for holiday celebrations.

Today, we’re also giving away a copy of The Gourmet Cookie Book: The Single Best Recipe from Each Year 1941–2009. You can use our all-purpose mix for any recipe in the book. Some of them are naturally gluten-free!

If you are interested in winning either of these, leave a comment here about what your favorite filling for these jam tart cookies! Or what you loved about Gourmet. Or why you would like a copy of our cookbook.

Then, start baking!

Winners of the giveaway, chosen at random:

Winner of a copy of our cookbook

Melissa Davlin, who wrote: “Nothing fancy here: I love raspberry jam in the middle of cookies. At the newspaper I work at, we’re running a cookie round-up next Wednesday with a recipe for shortbread cookies with raspberry jam in the middle, drizzled with white chocolate. They look divine.”

Winner of a copy of The Gourmet Cookie Book: The Single Best Recipe from Each Year 1941–2009

Mary Ann Wong, who wrote: “i wonder if it would be possible to make a matcha/black sesame paste to put in the centre of these cookies? nom.

thank you in advance for all those cookie recipes to come. i see a few there that i’ve been struggling to create, hurrah! my spouse will not thank you for the extra inches she’s going to acquire from my experiments, but I will :)

Gourmet was a part of my childhood, just as Julia Child was. the loss of each of these things hurt my heart. I’m glad for the cookie book, but still wish for the magazine back.

*le sigh*”

Can you two lovely ladies please send me an email with your name, address, and telephone number to glutenfreegirl@gmail.com? Thank you!

jam thumbprints

 

JAM TART COOKIES, GLUTEN-FREE, adapted from The Gourmet Cookie Book: The Single Best Recipe from Each Year 1941–2009

The beauty of these cookies is that you could make them again and again, with a different filling each time. Lemon-rosemary curd. Chocolate ganache. Strawberry jam. We were lucky enough to have Sean Timberlake’s apricot jam with bourbon and nougax. Oh my.

Since there are so few ingredients here, it helps to buy the best version of each that you can. Superfine bakers’ sugar rather than the grainy kind. Good European-style butter, with a higher butterfat content than the regular grocery store type. Organic farmers’ eggs.

If you don’t have access to any of that, however, these cookies are great with what you can find at the store. The point is to bake.

420 grams gluten-free all-purpose flour mix
1 teaspoon psyllium husk
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
345 grams (3 US sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 large egg yolks, beaten lightly
1 cup jam of your choice

Making the dough. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the AP flour, psyllium husk, sugar, and salt until they are well combined. Add the butter bits and turn on the stand mixer, at low speed. Mix the butter and dry ingredients until the mixture looks like coarse meal with pea-shaped pieces of butter. Pour in the egg yolks and mix until combined.

Refrigerating the dough. Take the dough out of the mixing bowl. Wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least two hours, preferably overnight.

Preparing to bake the cookies. Take the dough out of the refrigerator and let it soften a bit. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.

Baking the cookies. Measure out a teaspoon of dough. Roll it into a ball in the palm of your hands. Put it on the baking sheet and continue until the entire baking sheet is filled. (These cookies will spread just a bit, so leave about 2 inches of room between each cookie.) Make a small indentation in the center of each cookie with your thumb. If the outside edges of the cookie dough start to crack, start over. Do this gently.

Fill each center of the cookie with about 1/4 teaspoon of the jam. (I’ve yet to make one that didn’t spill over the edges in the baking, but I’d rather have more jam than less!) Bake the cookies on the middle rack of the oven until the edges are pale golden, about 12 minutes.

Let the cookies cool for 2 minutes, then transfer them to cookie racks. Let them cool to room temperature before eating.

Makes about 8 dozen cookies.