Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Jam-Filled Orange Cookies

This recipe caught my eye as I paged through an old 2002 cookbook, KCTS Cooks: Desserts. Citrus zest always gets my vote as a flavor high note, providing a welcome balance to the heavy, overly-sweet punch of some baked goods. I'm not a big dessert fan, but the occasional cookie is always a welcome treat.

The cookies do resemble traditional thumbprint cookies but adding cream cheese and orange flavoring creates a very different dough. Better? not really, just different. It might take a side-by-side taste test to determine which version is the favorite. The original recipe specified raspberry jam, but instead I filled half of today's batch with blackberry preserves and the remaining half with fig jam. Both were tasty, though I'm ready to try some other choices. The drizzled glaze was both decorative and delicious so don't skip that finishing step. 

We practiced restraint and only sampled a few... and then a few more. No need to freeze part of this batch, there won't be any left by the end of the week. I know the cookies are a hit when "you can't eat just one". 

Jam-Filled Orange Cookies
based on a recipe in KCTS Cooks: Desserts
Yields 3+ dozen

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1 teaspoon orange extract
1 large egg
2 1/4 cups AP flour
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup seedless jam or preserves

1/2 cup white chocolate chips
2 teaspoons oil

Cream together the sugar, butter and cream cheese until well mixed. Add the orange extract, orange zest and egg: mix until creamy. Sift together the flour and baking powder; add to the bowl and mix well.

Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheets about 2 inches apart. Press a thumbprint into the center of each cookie. Spoon 1/4 teaspoon jam into each hole.

Bake the cookies for 12-13 minutes at 350 degrees F. (Note: they won't brown or even turn golden so don't overcook them waiting for some color to show.) Let cool for several minutes on the cookie sheet, then use a spatula to transfer each cookie to a wire rack to cool completely.

Use a microwaveable bowl to hold the white chocolate chips and oil; heat and stir, repeat until smooth. Drizzle the warm glaze over the cookies; let cool before serving or storing.

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