January 5, 2009

blackberry walnut cookies

There is nothing quite like the perfect sandwich cookie. You can smear a bunch of things between two cookies and call it good, but in reality, not all sandwich cookies are created equal. Think of the oreo. It's an insult to the sandwich cookie if you think about it. Like the famous linzer cookie with its heart-shaped cut-out reminiscent of the holidays. Those are pretty darn perfect.

And the cookie in question: two buttery, nutty shortbread cookies with tart berry jam in between, dusted with powdered sugar. mmmmmm.

I am a fan of this cookie recipe, not only because it looks so pretty, dusted as it is with powdered sugar as if to say 'this was just an after-thought, nothing more, nothing less' but because it is such an easy recipe. If you have a food processor or nut grinder for the walnuts, even better. But if not, finely chopping the walnuts is the hardest thing you'll have to do.

I served them as a simple ending to a holiday meal. It was a Hanukkah dinner I gave for my b.f.'s family. I made potato latkes and topped them with smoked salmon and horseradish cream, as well as a homemade spicy apple chutney. I got inspired to try them after seeing the beautiful spread in the December issue of Gourmet.

I have to say, for a 'shiksa' (is that the correct spelling?) I make a pretty damn good latke. I have become quite fond of embracing my non-Jewish Jewish side and for two years now I've made latkes for the family so we can say we celebrated Hanukkah, even though the Catholic girl is the only one who really gets into the tradition. What can I say? I love food traditions revolving around holidays --religious or otherwise-- and any excuse is a good excuse to throw a dinner party.

Blackberry Walnut Cookies (from Gourmet magazine, Dec. 2008)

2 sticks unsalted butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup a.p. flour
1 cup walnuts, toasted, cooled and finely chopped
about 1/2 cup blackberry or raspberry jam
garnish: confectioner's sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350. Blend together butters, sugar, vanilla and 3/4 t salt in a bowl. Stir in flour and nuts (dough will be sticky). Form level tablespoons of dough, or use a cookie or ice cream scoop, into balls (40 total) and arrange 2 in. apart on 2 large, ungreased baking sheets. Flatten balls to 1/3 in thick with the back of a water glass dipped in flour. Bake, until edges are golden about 20 minutes. Cool completely.
Spoon 1 tsp jam into flat sides of 20 cookies, then sandwich with remaining cookies.
Dust with confectioner's sugar.


  1. you could totally pass... really good job. beautiful food. the jews are lucky to have you on their side...

    tradition matters.

  2. You make a great Shiksa...hahaha
    the cookies look amazing, I wrote down the recipe for both. What a great idea on the latkes
    It's ok. I celebrated my first Christmas this year, and I made some "goyishi" food for my Christian husband.
    Enjoy both holidays. Red, White and
    Esther. Las Vegas

  3. those cookies look so good. i'm sitting here with Noodle, he thinks so also...the Jews are lucky...

  4. About the shiksa thing, same thing here; I have a Jewish husband who could not care less about traditional celebrations, and I, Catholic-raised and agnostic that I am, went as far as personally drilling holes in a broken branch to make our own personal menorah this year... :-) just like you, I love winter celebrations and all things around Christmas season.

    Great job!