Thursday, December 22, 2016

White Chocolate Dipped Cranberry and Pistachio Biscotti

"It's not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving." (Mother Teresa) I have been known to agonize over choosing the 'right' gifts for friends and family. Getting it right sometimes means getting them what they really want. Unless, as is sometimes the case, they don't really know. Over the years I have learned it's not really the thought that counts, but rather it's the thoughtfulness behind the gift that matters most. To truly be thoughtful requires one to listen, observe, and/or pay close attention. For years I used to give my brother-in-law the white the chocolate Santa or white chocolate Easter Rabbit because I thought he loved white chocolate. How or where I came to think this I honestly don't remember. But then one year, I learned what I had believed to be true wasn't. In a single moment my thoughtfulness turned into thoughtlessness. Recently a group of my friends were reminiscing about the gifts they had received in recent years and as far back as their childhoods. In almost every case, the gifts most cherished weren't necessarily the most expensive ones. In a few cases had very little monetary value. What made them 'heartwarming' memorable was the fact they were the things they had wished for, had talked about, or had seen, but for various reasons didn't buy for themselves. Someone in their lives was paying very close attention.

If there are people in your life who love to drink coffee and have a bit of a sweet tooth, these White Chocolate Dipped Cranberry and Pistachio Biscotti may be a perfect aka most thoughtful gift. And beyond being incredibly delicious, they just happen to be relatively easy and quick to make.

Today's modern version of biscotti are generally associated with the Tuscan region of Italy. Although the biscotti's origin can be traced back to Roman times. There are essentially two types of biscotti: ones containing butter and often dipped in coffee and ones made without butter for dipping into wine (i.e., vin santo). Biscotti or 'biscotto' derives from the medieval Latin word 'biscoctus': 'bis' (meaning twice) and 'coctum' (meaning baked). While there is a fair amount of variability in their ingredients (nuts, spices, dried fruit, chocolate), they must be twice-baked to be called biscotti. For more history on biscotti, click here.

Bring your unsalted butter and eggs to room temperature before making the biscotti dough. Here in the midwest at this time of the year, I generally take butter and eggs out of the refrigerator the night before.

Use either a knife or food processor to coarsely chop the pistachios.

The dried cranberries and chopped pistachios are stirred in the biscotti dough by hand.

The original recipe called for shaping the dough into a 13 inch long by 3 inch wide log and I complied. By making some slight adjustments to the length and width of the shaped dough (a tad longer, a tad thinner) the yield of biscotti will increase. More biscotti is better than less biscotti.

To give the baked biscotti a beautiful golden finish, the dough was brushed with an egg white wash before being placed in the oven.

In a preheated 350 degree (F) oven, the first baking of the biscotti is approximately 40 minutes (or until it has a beautiful golden finish).

Before cutting the biscotti for the second baking, it needs to rests for 20 to 30 minutes. Although most recipes call for cutting the biscotti on a slight diagonal using a serrated knife to cut the biscotti, I found using a really sharp knife created cleaner cuts and didn't crumble the ends of the slices.

The cut slices are returned to the baking sheet and baked for 15-20 minutes (or until they are crisp and golden). My baking time was closer to 20 minutes. Midway through the baking process, flip the biscotti to ensure they have their signature crispy texture.

After the biscotti slices have completely cooled, dip in the melted white chocolate and sprinkle with white sanding sugar. Personally I like the elegant white on white finished look of these biscotti, but if you want a more festive look sprinkle with red and/or green sanding sugar.

Allow the chocolate to set before serving, plating, and/or packaging. 

The flavor of the lemon zest is subtle but an absolutely necessary ingredient as it perfectly compliments the dried cranberries, pistachios, and white chocolate. These White Chocolate Dipped Cranberry and Pistachio Biscotti are crunchy but not 'hard' due to the use of butter in the dough. Dipping them in a cup of hot coffee is optional. So I encourage you to first take a bite to savor the biscotti's lusciousness before deciding whether or not to dunk in your favorite cup of coffee.

Although these White Chocolate Dipped Cranberry and Pistachio Biscotti will retain their freshness for a couple of weeks (if stored well), I seriously doubt they will. More than likely they will be devoured long before their freshness 'expiration' date. Of all of the baked goods you make as gifts this holiday season or serve to friends/family, these biscotti may be the most memorable.

White Chocolate Dipped Cranberry and Pistachio Biscotti (slight adaption to Giada De Laurentiis's Holiday Biscotti recipe)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup dried cranberries (or dried cherries)
1 egg white, lightly beaten
12 ounces good quality white chocolate
White sanding sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a medium sized bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Whisk to blend.
3. In a medium-large bowl, beat butter, sugar, lemon zest, and salt until light and fluffy (approximately 3-4 minutes) in a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or with a handheld mixer.
4. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
5. Add the flour mixture, beating just until blended.
6. Stir in the pistachios and cranberries.
7. Form the dough into a 13 inch long-3 inches wide log on the prepared baking sheet. Note: Consider shaping the dough into a 15 inch long-2 1/2 inch wide log to increase the yield on the number of biscotti. 
8. Brush the dough with the lightly beaten egg white.
9. Bake until lightly golden, approximately 40 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 20-30 minutes.
10. Using a sharp knife, cut the log on the diagonal into 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch thick slices. 
11. Arrange the biscotti, cut side up on the baking sheet.
12. Bake the biscotti for approximately 20 minutes or until they biscotti are crisp and pale golden. Note: Turn the biscotti over at the midway baking point.
13. Transfer the biscotti to a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely.
14. Melt chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water.
15. Dip top half of the biscotti into the melted chocolate.
16. Sprinkle with sanding sugar before chocolate sets.
17. Allow chocolate to set before serving. 
18. Store biscotti in a tightly sealed container and/or wrap in cellophane bags.

Notes: (1) I dipped half of the biscotti in the melted white chocolate, but you can dip the entire top/flat side of the biscotti for a different look. (2) During the second bake, I placed the biscotti directly on the baking sheet (no parchment paper) to get an even golden crisp. (2) Cooling time between the first and second bakes is recommended to be 20 to 30 minutes. Would recommend cutting closer to 20 than to 30 minutes to get the cleanest cuts.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Holiday Breakfast and Brunch Recipe Roundup

Ready or not, the holidays are almost upon us. At some point we have to stop decorating, baking, shopping, wrapping, writing out holiday cards, ordering from Amazon, worrying about whether the presents we spent days searching for will be received with 'over the top' giddiness, sending out or hand delivering packages, and tinkering with the holiday dinner menu. Because we have to conserve enough energy to think about and plan the holiday and/or holiday weekend breakfasts. Recognizing there needs to be more to 'breakfast' than freshly brewed or pressed coffee and a platter of those holiday cookies you have spent days, even weeks, making.

Breakfast used to my least favorite meal. One I could easily do without. Long before McDonald's decided having breakfast menu items available all day was a 'genius' idea, my opinion of and craving for breakfast foods made a dramatic shift. Before the proverbial breakfast pendulum swung back to a midpoint, I went through a period where all I wanted to eat at every meal were breakfast foods, particularly pancakes, with or without blueberries, slathered in butter. While I am quite certain I will never tire of pancakes, there are a few other breakfast dishes that make for a perfect start to the day. And particularly the holiday.

So here are eight of my absolute favorites. Two of them (the Baked Praline French Toast Casserole and the Cheddar Cheese and Sausage Breakfast Casserole) can be completely assembled the night before and put into the oven while everyone is opening their gifts. The Pancakes (with or without blueberries) and the Swedish Pancakes come together easily and quickly. If you don't want to make your own crust, use a refrigerated pie dough crust for the quiche. The dough for the Liège Waffles needs to be made the night before, but they are relatively easy to make in the morning. Trust me when I say the effort you put into making these waffles pales in comparison to the giddiness everyone will experience when you taste them. (Psst, there's still time to ask for a Waffle Maker for Chrismukkah if you don't have one!) You can make the egg dishes while everyone is cleaning up the wrapping paper mess and/or reading the directions for those gifts requiring set-up or assembly. In other words, with a little pre-planning, everyone can have an incredibly delicious, memorable, perfect 'Martha Stewart, Ina Garten, Norman Rockwell-esq' start to the day holiday breakfast. In fact, it could be one of the best, most appreciated gifts you will give your friends and family over the holidays. In case you don't get the 'gift' reactions you hoped for (or the 'gift' you wished for), consider a great breakfast the back-up plan to not only help you take a deep breath and let it go, but one bringing some incredible, much needed joy (and peace) to your soul. Food, especially great breakfast food, has a way of making everything better.

Swedish Pancakes

Blueberry Pancakes

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Holiday Candies and Confections Roundup

The holidays wouldn't be the holidays without an (overabundance) of the modern day version of sugar plums. In other words, incredibly mouthwatering, decadent candies, cookies, cakes, and confections. Some made year round while others traditionally made only during the month of December. However, it's the candies and confections appearing on platters and in gift boxes once a year that seem to be the ones causing our eyes to widen, hearts to race, and mouths to drool. A twelve month wait can seem awfully long (even for those who pride themselves on having high levels of self-restraint). This may explain in part why we allow ourselves to (over) indulge in holiday sweets.

I thought I would again share, in no particular order, seven of my most favorite 'sweets' to make for the holidays. Although I will admit to being partial to the Sea Salted Chocolate Covered Caramels. With the exception of the marshmallows and caramels, everything else here are confections having limited run engagements around here. With a few exceptions, of course. The recipes range from easy to make to being a little on the tedious side (the orangettes win the time intensive but well worth the effort award). All but two of them involve either dark or milk chocolate. Only one requires the use of an oven. They are all wickedly, insanely delicious. However, most importantly nothing you buy at the store compares to holiday candies and confections made with love.

All of these holiday candies and confections are great travelers as they retain their freshness for weeks. Especially when packed well. This is especially important when your lovingly put together packages get temporarily lost in the mail or when the post office explains two day shipping actually means three or four day shipping in the weeks before Christmas.

Last weekend was holiday baking phase one around here. Phase two will happen sometime next week. Time enough for my chocolate dipping nightmares of being locked in a Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory, oh I mean dreams, to go away. What all this means is that you still have time to make something 'new' for the holidays. This could be the year you decide to start a few new holiday candy and confections traditions of your own.

You can link back to the recipes in the blog's archive by clicking on the descriptions below. How easy is that?

Monday, December 5, 2016

Glazed Poppy Seed Cake

The simplest and benign of occurrences can often evoke a past memory. Ones so deeply buried we sometimes wonder what triggered their resurfacing. The onset of the holidays almost always takes me back to other points and places in time. Feelings of nostalgia are often brought on when putting together the list of confections to be made in the weeks ahead. Which is how I came to remembering a cake from my childhood. One I had not thought about, made, or eaten in a very, very long time. Apparently my brain is hardwired to recall all things associated with the smells and tastes of food. Many of the memories I have of my father revolve around, yes, food. Especially Sunday and holiday dinners. The meals usually made by most of the mothers of my small circle of childhood friends. Yet, for some reason it didn't seem unusual that our family dinners were prepared by my father. Nor did it seem odd that he did most of the holiday baking. It was our normal. Nowadays the lines between the roles of mothers and fathers are gray, blurred versions of the more traditional parental roles I observed growing up. With few exceptions Sunday dinners were served around noon. Every once in awhile or when we had company we didn't eat until one in the afternoon. Meats were always cooked medium-rare, actually closer to rare than to medium. To this day I still can't imagine eating prime rib, beef tenderloin, steaks, and, even hamburgers any other way.

While most of my siblings never had any difficulty cleaning our plates, we weren't allowed to leave the table until there wasn't a morsel left on them. 'Eat your vegetables' could be heard with predictable regularity at the kitchen table. My father sometimes pretended to be oblivious to my strategy of spreading mashed potatoes ever so thinly across my plate, almost making them appear invisible. Of course, I believed I was getting way with something.

Almost everything I learned about cooking and baking growing up I learned from my father. From making a white sauce (creamed tuna on toast was one of my favorite lunches), to making a smooth, flavorful gravy (as good as it was it I still couldn't swallow mashed potatoes), to whipping egg whites to stiff peaks and folding them into cakes. In retrospect, this early culinary education had a significant impact on me. Everything was made from scratch when my father was cooking and baking. A Poppy Seed Cake dusted with confectionary sugar was one of his favorites. And because it was his favorite, it was mine too.

In my traveling back in time moment, I seemed to recall the recipe for this cake was on the back of the Solo Poppy Seed Filling can. The packaging of the can for this filling has changed over the years. No longer is the recipe, one with directions beginning with the words 'follow recipe carefully and slowly', printed on the label. Fortunately in a Google search I found a copy of that original label, the one with the recipe for the Poppy Seed Cake. Within a few days of finding this recipe, I was making 'the' Poppy Seed Cake from my childhood. Except instead of a sifted confectionary sugar finish, I decided a confectionary sugar glaze would be its' finishing touch. And rather than use a tube pan with a removable bottom (otherwise known as the Angel Food cake pan in our house), I chose to use a recently purchased gorgeous Nordic Ware pan. Two changes my father would have at least pretended to approve. Being the oldest of four, I believed being the favorite meant I could do no wrong. Although my siblings might have conflicting opinions.

There was a reason the recipe started with the cautionary 'read carefully' words. Unlike many cakes, the eggs are separated. The egg yolks are added into the batter one at a time, while the egg whites are beaten to stiff peaks and folded in to the finished batter. 

Like most cakes, the dry ingredients are sifted before they are added to the batter. 

Truth: It's easier to separate eggs while they are still cold. However, there are two points of view relative to an egg white's temperature when a recipe calls for them to be beaten. Either beat them cold or beat them at room temperature. Beating egg whites cold produces smaller, tighter bubbles not easily deflated when folded into a batter. The volume of whipped egg whites increases significantly when they are room temperature. However, their larger bubbles slightly reduces the stability of the beaten egg whites. The size and stability of the bubble matters more for some baking applications. For this cake, either option would work. If you have a copper bowl to beat your eggs in, great. But it's not an egg beating deal breaker. Note: My separated egg whites sat out for about an hour before I started baking. They weren't cold and they weren't room temperature, just somewhere in between.

Use a spatula to gently fold the beaten egg whites into the batter.

Having had a few unmolding bundt pan disasters in my baking lifetime, I am extra careful about preparing the pan with vegetable spray and a dusting of flour. Once all of the batter has been spooned into the bundt pan, smooth the top with the back of a spoon or off-set spatula.

The Poppy Seed Cake bakes in a preheated 350 degree (F) oven for 60 to 75 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted in the deepest part of the cake. Note: My baking time for this bundt pan was 65 minutes. Once removed the oven the cake pan should be placed on a cooling rack and allowed to rest for 25 minutes before the cake is unmolded. Removing it too early or leaving it in the pan too long could result in an umolding disaster. 

To ensure your confectionary sugar glaze is smooth, always sift the confectionary sugar. The amount of liquid (whole milk) used to make this glaze will range from 2 to 4 tablespoons. Three (3) Tablespoons gave me the consistency I wanted. Just remember to add in additional milk 1 Tablespoon at a time. To give the glaze a purer white look, I used a clear vanilla extract.

Wait at least 30 to 45 minutes before spooning glaze over the top of the Poppy Seed Cake.

No matter how old we are, parental approval almost always causes us to feel happy, proud, loved. I wished my father were still here to tell me what he thought of my version of 'his' cake. 

A wave of emotions came over me as I took a bite of this Glazed Poppy Seed Cake. The kind simultaneously causing me to be both happy and sad weepy. Making of this cake not only reminded me of my father, but it reaffirmed the power memories can have on maintaining and strengthening the relationships we have with the people in our lives we love, we want to keep close. Life can, at times, be hectic. Giving us reasons or excuses to let it get it in the way of letting memory making opportunities slip away. Remembrances, those photographs forever imprinted in our minds and on our hearts, might well be one of the most endearing gifts we can both give and receive. And, if by chance food is somehow involved, well that would be the proverbial 'icing on the cake'.

And oh yes, this Glazed Poppy Seed Cake was as moist, as dense, as flavorful, and as good as I remembered. 

Glazed Poppy Seed Cake (several adaptations to the original recipe printed on the Solo Poppy Seed filling can)

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 can (12.5 ounce) Solo Poppy Seed Cake and Pastry Filling
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, separated 
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sour cream
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt

Confectionary Sugar Glaze
1 1/2 cups confectionary sugar, sifted
2 to 4 Tablespoons whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch of kosher salt

Optional: Edible glitter flakes to sprinkle over the confectionary glaze. 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
3. In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy (approximately 3 to 5 minutes).
4 Mix in the can of Solo poppy seed cake and pastry filling.
5. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
6. Mix in sour cream and vanilla.
7. Gradually add sifted flour, baking soda and kosher salt keeping mixer on low and beating until fully incorporated.
8. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form, but be careful not to dry out.
9. Fold egg whites into cake batter. 
10. Pour batter into a prepared bundt pan or 9-10 inch tube pan. 
11. Baking time is 60 to 75 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the cake.
12. Transfer cake to wire rack and allow to cool for 25 minutes. Note: Baking time may be slightly longer if baked in a tube pan or if cake mold is very deep.
13. Invert and transfer to a cake stand or platter. Allow to cool for at least 30-45 minutes before pouring Confectionary Sugar Glaze over the top.
14. Slice and serve. Store cake tightly covered. Flavor continues to improve on the second day.

1. In a medium bowl, combine confectionary sugar, 2 Tablespoons of milk, vanilla and salt. Using either a hand mixer or whisk, blend ingredients until the icing is smooth. If too thick, add milk, 1 Tablespoon at a time.
2. Pour glaze over cake. Allow to set.

Notes: (1) Cake can be made in two 9" cake pan. Reduce baking time to 45 minutes or until done. (2) For a pure white icing use clear vanilla. (3) The flavor of the cake further develops if you make the day/night before serving. (4) Instead of the Confectionary Sugar Glaze, simply dust with confectionary sugar. (5) The original recipe printed on the Solo can called for the use of shortening instead of unsalted butter. (6) This is the perfect cake to serve with coffee or tea, to eat for breakfast, to eat as a snack. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Swedish Butter Cookies

"The first fall of snow is not only an event, but it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of world and wake up to find yourself in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment, 'where is it to be found?' J.B.Priestley Wreaths are on the house windows, cedar roping is draped around the front door, urns are filled with greens, Christmas stockings hung by the fireplace, and holiday pillows scattered in rooms throughout the house. The extent of my holiday decorating efforts this past weekend. The trees, lights, ornaments, chalkware Santa collection, indoor wreaths, and goodness knows how many other holiday items are still up in the attic waiting. Waiting for me to get in the decorating spirit. Not yet sure when that will happen. Quite possibly I am waiting for the first snowfall. While I may not yet be inspired to get the house dressed in all of its' Christmas finery, I have had an overwhelming urge to begin making an assortment of cookies, chocolate covered caramels, marshmallows, chocolate covered coconut balls, toffee, chocolate bark, orangettes, and of course, candied walnuts and pecans. There is only one problem with all of this unbridled enthusiasm. I need to reign my baking desires in as its' still too early and too dangerous (at least in my world) to begin putting the boxes of homemade confections together.

Sometime next week I will put together a recipe recap of some of my favorite cookies and candies while interspersing my blog posts with a couple of new holiday cookie recipes. Like this one. On Thanksgiving, my sister had made these Swedish Butter Cookies (Vaniljkakor), only she called them her version of a Kolachke. I suppose it's because these Swedish Butter Cookies closely resembled a Kolachke. Like the apricot and/or poppy seed filled ones my Polish father lovingly made every Christmas. The Kolachke is usually made with a cream cheese or yeast rolled out dough and filled with either a jam/preserve or cream cheese filling. These cookies are made with butter. While I am calling these bites of deliciousness Swedish Butter Cookies (Vaniljkakor) they are actually missing an ingredient found in the genuine, bona fide, official ones. My apologies to those of you who treasure your grandmother's Swedish Butter Cookie recipe, the family heirloom passed down through the generations, and are a little concerned this derivation lacks some authenticity due to the missing egg yolk. But whether I named these cookies Swedish Butter Cookies or Kolachkes I would be a little bit right and little bit wrong, invariably upsetting someone. Although less wrong on one of them. Seriously though, I am not convinced anyone would notice the missing egg yolk. Heck, if their centers weren't filled with jam, they might easily pass as Scottish or Irish Shortbread cookies.

We all need these cookies in our lives.

The cookie batter has only five ingredients: unsalted butter, confectionary sugar, vanilla, kosher salt and sifted all-purpose flour. Having room temperature butter is key when assembling the batter.

While I usually prefer to make a cookie dough in my standing mixer (with paddle attachment), the dense cookie batter came together perfectly using a hand held mixer.

I used a 1 1/4" ice cream scoop to form the dough balls, although once scooped I didn't roll them into balls. If I had, the finished edges of my cookies would have been smoother. Personally I wanted a more 'rustic, ragged edge, homemade' versus 'bakery finish' look to my cookies. I used a glass to flatten them to approximately 1/3" thickness and a shot glass (instead of my thumb or a spoon) to make the indentations to hold the preserves.

I used apricot and raspberry jams for these cookies. But feel free to use any of your favorite preserve flavors. The Bonne Maman preserves are my store-bought go-tos. Crane's Orchard's preserves are my new favorite small batch go-tos. The well of each cookie will hold about 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of preserves.

In a preheated 325 degree (F) oven, the cookies bake for 18-22 minutes or until set and very lightly brown on the bottom.

The Swedish Butter Cookies are sprinkled with confectionary sugar once they have cooled to room temperature. If sprinkled while still warm, the sugar will melt.

The melt in mouth buttery richness of these crisp, vanilla and preserve flavored cookies is what makes them addictively delicious. They are destined to be your new favorite cookie! How good are these cookies? Well if cookie maven Dorie Greenspan, cooking goddess Ina Garten, or pastry chef extraordinaire Mindy Segal read my blog, I would secretly be wishing they would invite me to bake with them someday after they make and taste these cookies. They are that kind of good.

Of all of the cookies I make for the holidays, these by far are one of the easiest. Additionally, I would rank them really high on the best tasting cookie list. If you are looking for one of those 'gets rave reviews' cookies, make a batch of these Swedish Butter Cookies. Like now. Then make another batch or two when you are putting your cookie exchange or holiday cookie platter/packages together. You need these Christmukkah cookies in your life sooner rather than later. Just like I need a little snow, sooner rather than later, to get me started on decorating the house for the holidays.

Swedish Butter Cookies 
Makes about 18 cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup confectionary sugar
2 to 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Approximately 1/2 cup of Apricot, Cherry, Mixed Berry, Peach, and/or Raspberry Preserves, divided
Additional sifted confectionary sugar for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees (F). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or with a hand mixer, beat butter, confectionary sugar and vanilla at medium speed until light and fluffy. 
3. Beat in flour and salt on low speed. Mix until blended.
4. Using an ice cream scoop, create generous 1" balls of dough. Flatten to about 1/3" thick. Using the bottom of a flat bottomed shot glass, press dough down in center to make a well. Note: If you want a more finished edge to your cookies, roll the balls of dough before pressing down with the glass.
5. Fill each well with 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons of preserves.
6. Bake 18-22 minutes until set, but not browned. Remove cookies from pan and transfer to a cooling rack. Allow cookies to cool. Note: Rotate cookie sheet halfway through baking.
7. When cool, sift with confectionary sugar. Serve immediately.
8. Store in a tightly covered container. Note: May need to re-sprinkle with confectionary sugar to refresh if covered for more than 24 hours.

Barager Pines, a Christmas Tree Farm in Fennville, Michigan (November 2016)