Let me preface this post by stating that I woke up at 2 am and realized that I didn't post this, nor did I send my link in to be added to the round up. But that's not why I woke up that early. Lately I sleep about 4 hours a night, and wake up at 2-ish and am up the rest of the night. One day I was up for 25 hours straight, but that's another story. On to the cookies!
I did something I normally don't do. I participated in something. I joined a cookie swap and baked three dozen cookies, mailed them, and waited for cookies to arrive. Three dozen.
I wanted to do something a little different than what I've baked in the previous years. I also wanted to send something a little special; something festive and fancy for the occasion. I made Spiced Cookies with Cranberry Jam drizzled with Jivara Milk Chocolate, an adapted a recipe, from Epicurious. You can get the original recipe here. Instead of sandwiching the cookies with Jivara ganache as usual, I decided that cranberry jam would be more seasonal and festive. I added the chocolate drizzle as an additional component, as well as to make them pretty.
Unfortunately, on the day of mailing, I was in a huge rush to get the cookies shipped. Usually I'm off on Sundays and Mondays, but this particular week I worked on a Monday. I figured I would have time to get home, pack the cookies and get to the post office. Haha, the joke was on me, because the plan went a way off course. We had a dinner party of 300+ and the tart shells weren't delivered until the afternoon, causing me to have to stay an extra hour to get the desserts done and plated. Then, there was some sort of problem on the red line so they had to shut down the line, and provide shuttle service for certain stops. There was a SWAT team involved (found out later that one suspect was apprehended, but I can't remember if they caught the other guy). We stopped at each station for about 10 minutes, and just before my stop, we were in the tunnel for some time, which meant I got home at 6:00, when it's usually a 7 minute commute! Flustered, I rushed home to pack the cookies, only to find that the tins were a little smaller than my dozen cookies, so I went to Walgreens to buy substitutes. Ended up shipping from the UPS store just as they were closing. I won't go into itemizing, but I have to say, I was in sticker shock!
I had a couple of cookies left over, and I have to say that they are better the next day. The cookies are softer and the flavors get to know each other.
Spiced Cookies with Cranberry Jam and Jivara Chocolate
226 grams butter
164 grams sugar
20 grams egg yolk (1 each)
4 grams spices*
6 grams salt
324 grams flour
30 grams cream
Cream together room temperature butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the yolk and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl.
Sift dries and add while mixing on low. Add cream and mix until dough comes together. Scrape dough onto plastic and flatten into a disc. This helps when rolling out the dough.
Let chill for about half an hour.
Roll out the dough between parchment paper and cut shapes. Bake 350º F until lightly golden on the edges. Let cool.
*I created my own spice mix for the holidays and used it for this recipe. I didn't measure, but I used cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom, ground black pepper (you can use white, I just didn't have any on hand). You can create your own spice mix or buy one.
340 grams cranberries
166 grams sugar
128 grams water
zest of one medium orange (peel in strips with a vegetable peeler)
Combine in a pot and cook on medium heat until the water simmers and the berries start to pop. Reduce heat until all berries are soft. Remove the zest and blend with an immersion blender or use your blender until smooth. Pour into a dish and cover the surface with plastic and let cool.
Once cookies and jam are cooled, turn over half of the cookies and pipe on the jam. Spread with an offset spatula or a knife and top with another cookie.
Melt milk chocolate and thin it out with a little flavorless oil, such as canola or vegetable, until it is thin enough to drizzle. Fill a piping bag and drizzle over cookies in a zig-zag pattern. Let set.
I honestly don't know the shelf-life of these cookies.