The shape of these jam-filled almond cookie sandwiches is limited only by your choice of cookie cutters, circles, rectangles, heart and stars are all good choice. If no cookies cutters, just cut the dough into neat rectangules or squares. The top cookie has a hole cut of its centre and is sprinkled with powdered sugar, so the bright jam shines though a white sugar-dusted top. Seedless rasberry, blueberry or blackberry jam make other good filling choices.
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup powdered sugar, plus extra for dusting
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (monin syrup)
3/4 teasppon almond extract (monin syrup)
1 cup (about 4 ounces) whole blanched almonds toasted and finely ground
6 tablespoons strawberry jam
Sift the flour and salt into a medium bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and 3/4 cup powdered sugar until smooth and slightly lightened in color, about 1 minue. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl as needed during mixing. On slow speed, mix in the vanilla, almond extract, and ground almonds. Mix in the flour mixture just until the flour is incorporated and the dough holds together.
Divide the dough in half and form into two 6-inch disks. Warp each one in plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough until it is cold and firm enough to roll, about 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Remove one piece of dough from the refrigerator. Put the dough between 2 large sheets of wax paper and roll it into a rectangle about 12 by 8 inches and 1/4 inch thick. Remove the top piece of wax paper and discard it. Use a cookie cutter to cut out 3 1/2 inch circles (or any shape you like) from the dough, leaving the cookies on the wax paper. Turn the wax paper over, peel off the paper and use a metal spatula to help palce the circles 1 inch apart on one of the preparedbaking sheets. (The cookies do not spread much.) Set aside the dough scraps. Using 2 clean pieces of wax paper, roll and cut the second piece of dough. Gather together all of the dough scraps, forming a smooth disk, and repeat the rolling and cutting process. You should have 20 cookies.
Cut a 1 inch circle (or other shape) from the centre of half of the cookies and remove these circles from the cookies (the wide end of a pastry tube works well for cutting the circles). The dough "holes" can be baked along with the cookies for snacks.
Bake the cookies one sheet at a time until the edges are light brown and the tops firm, about 18 minutes. Cool the cookies for 15 minutes on the baking sheets, then use a wide metal spatula to transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Turn the cookies without the holes botttom side up. Leaving a 1/4 inch edge, spread a rounded teaspoon of jam over each one. Sift powdered sugar over the cookies with the hole and place them on top of the jam-covered cookies.
The cookie sandwiches can be stored in a tightly covered container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
I love and adore this cookies as the scent of almond will bring the freshness in you and sweetness of jam makes you feel so divine. I hope you will give it a go soon as festive season is just so near.
Big Boys Oven