Thursday, April 29, 2010

Swedish Almond Jam Strips

I always find it fascinating to read about recipes brought to this country from America's immigrant bakers. The fabulous stories of women and men, who learned from mothers and grandmothers, how to bake wonderful pastries, cakes, cookies and breads from their homeland.

While out shopping yesterday, I came upon this beautiful book, "A Baker's Odyssey" by Greg Patent. It's a cookbook filled with the most delicious recipes from the kitchens of dozens of master bakers all around the country. The recipes come from Italy, Hungary, Spain, Mexico and Sweden just to name a few.
I can't wait to try many more of them, but today I chose this cookie that sounded great..and it is!
This classic buttery Swedish cookie is, to me, kind of a cross between and linzer cookie, in that it uses an almond shortbread type base filled with raspberry jam and a thumbprint cookie, also because it's filled with jam.

It was easy to make and the taste is amazing! It's rich and buttery and the combo of the almond and raspberry is so wonderful. This would be a great Holiday cookie to make.

You need to grind the almonds first. I chose to do this in my food processor with a little bit of sugar.

Then beat the butter and sugar and add the ground almonds.
Then beat in the flour.
Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface.

Divide the dough into 4 sections and roll out into 4 thin logs.
The recipe didn't say to chill the dough but my cookies spread and I'm wondering if chilling the dough would have kept them thicker ( although I kind of liked the thin, delicate cookie).
Take the end of a wooden spoon and make an indent down the center of each log, being careful not to make it too wide or too deep.
Fill the depressions with the jam, using only a tiny bit, just slightly higher than the rims.

Let them cool in the baking sheet placed on a wire rack.

Make the glaze a few minutes before they come out of the oven so you can glaze them while they're warm.

Spoon the glaze on top of the jam and let them cool a few minutes.

Transfer the logs to a wire rack and cut 1 1/4" on the diagonal. Let them cool completely.

Swedish Almond Jam Strips

3/4 cup blanched almonds
15 tbsp. unsalted butter, room temp.
1/4 cup plus 3 tbsp. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 2/3 cups unbleached AP flour ( spooned and leveled)
3/4 - 1 cup seedless raspberry jam
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. boiling water, plus more if needed ( I needed more)
Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
1. Place almonds in food processor with 3 tbsp. sugar and pulse til finely chopped. ( Or grind almonds using a nut grinder).
2. In a mixer bowl, beat butter about 1 minute, til smooth. Add sugar and salt and beat for 2 to 3 minutes, til fluffy. Scrape the bottom and sides of mixer bowl.
3. On low speed, beat in the almonds.
4. Gradually beat in the flour, beating only til incorporated.
5. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and shape into a disc. Divide the disc into 4 sections. Roll each piece into a log about 12" long and 1" wide. Place logs onto baking sheet.
6. Using your finger or handle of a wooden spoon, make a shallow depression down the center of each log. You may need to go up and down the log a few times. Be careful not to make the depression too wide or too deep. ( At this point you may want to refridgerate them so keep them from spreading).
7. Using a small spoon, fill the depression with a little jam. The jam should be only a tiny bit higher than the rims of the troughs.
8. Bake for about 25 minutes, or til the rolls are a light golden brown. Rotate the baking sheet once, halfway through baking.
9. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack.
Glaze: Whisk confectioners sugar, vanilla and hot water to a consistency like heavy cream.
Spoon the icing over the jam, you may not need all the glaze.
Cool for 5 minutes, then transfer the rolls to a cutting surface. Using a sharp heavy knife, cut 1 1/4" wide on the diagonal. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Store airtight at room temp.. The cookies will remain fresh for a few days.

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