Tuesday, December 16, 2008

TWD: Buttery Jam Cookies



I know that there ought to be a law against this, but here I am blogging at close to midnight on Monday night after having spent the past two hours at Toys R Us. Yes, as a matter of fact it WAS as bad as it sounds. I thought I'd be the only poor fool there at that hour, but oh no. I actually had to dodge crowds of people while wandering through the aisles past things like the Tini Puppini (I saw "Toffee," who is billed as the "Hollywood Trendsetter" of Tini Puppini dogs; she comes with a monogrammed Tini Puppini brush, a sparkly tiara hair accessory, a ruby red necklace, and gold puppy bling). And I can dutifully report that Elmo is STILL VERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRY TICKLISH, because he yelled it at me every time I walked past him on aisle 14. I passed a veritable ocean of saucy hoochie mama dolls, and I was a slightly happier person before I ever knew that a board game called "Toss Your Cookies -- The Chunk-a-licious Card Game" even existed.

So forgive me if I seem a little bit surly tonight.

But moving on to cookies! It's a regular cookie-baking bonanza this month for weekly bakers and occasional bakers alike, and we're right in the thick of the action here at TWD with our third cookie in as many weeks -- this time, it's Buttery Jam Cookies, chosen by Heather of Randomosity and the Girl. And to celebrate the majesty of the cookie, last week Slate treated us to a fascinating discussion between David Lebovitz, Sara Dickerman and our own beloved Dorie Greenspan on The State of the Cookie. We all love to eat cookies, love to bake cookies, and love to share cookies with our family and friends -- but how often do we really ponder the cookie? Well, Dorie, David and Sara have done just that, so even if you have to wait until your schedule calms down in January, it is definitely worth visiting Slate for a peek as Dorie, David and Sara chew on nearly every aspect of the cookie, asking the big questions, like What makes a cookie a cookie? What makes a cookie more "American" as opposed to "European?" What is the optimal cookie size? And what does the future hold for our friend the cookie?

When the conversation turns to possible future cutting edge cookie technologies, Dorie says that she thinks that cookies are almost "too basic" to be brought into the techno age, and in her view that is a good thing. I wholeheartedly agree with her, and I think that pretty much strikes at the heart of why I love to bake. Because while technology has radically changed so much about so many aspects of the way we live -- how we communicate, how we gather and share information, how we are entertained -- cookie baking is essentially the same today as it has always been. Our pans and ovens may be more high tech, and we do have Silpat now, as Dorie notes (an innovation that I do not begrudge, and in fact have asked for for Christmas) but the fundamentals of baking remain largely unaffected by technology. When I bake with my kids, I'm instantly transported back twenty-five years to when my sister and I would bake with my mother -- the dough tastes the same, the kitchen smells the same, the bickering over who gets to use the big snowman cookie cutter is the same, the first bite of that warm "just out of the oven" cookie is just as magical. There is something deeply comforting in knowing that ten, twenty, and one hundred years from now, butter and sugar will still have to be creamed, dry ingredients will still have to be slowly mixed in until "just combined," and those suckers will still have to bake for 9 to 11 minutes.

Of course, just as the cookie-baking process is one constant in an otherwise rapidly changing world, so is my knack for screwing up the cookie-baking process. Dorie warns about overmixing this dough, and when I get warned not to overmix, you can pretty much count on me to undermix:



See that flour? Yeah, you could kind of taste it, too.

I made my cookies with apricot jam, which was really tasty, once you got past that vague flourish feeling in your mouth. Actually, David said that he liked these and did not mention the flour issue, and I can usually count on him to be brutally honest with me. Here they are out of the oven:



In the true Christmas spirit, I decided to do something extra special with a few of my cookies, and in order to do that I had to conjure up the ghost of Marley. No, not that Marley, the other one:



That's right -- it's your favorite Rastafarian, and mine too, Bob Marley. Once I could feel Bob's presence in my kitchen, I proceeded to make some cookies that were not just jammin', but

Ooh, yeah! all right!
Were jammin:
I wanna jam it wid you.
Were jammin, jammin,
And I hope you like jammin, too.


My "not just jammin', but jammin' jammin'" cookies:




These were made with the same apricot jam dough as the rest of the cookies, but I made them into thumbprint cookies and filled the thumbprints with some blackberry jam that we brought home from a recent vacation. If you like jam in your cookies, you'll really enjoy these. We liked them so much that I might do them all the jammin' jammin' way next time. And I hope this jam is gonna last.

My little one year old had to get her shots the day that I made these cookies, and afterwards the poor thing was about as miserable as I've ever seen her (and that's saying something, as this is the same child who screamed bloody murder for the first three months of her life). But as soon as I gave her one of these cookies, her mood instantly turned around. It was a miracle! I might just keep a batch of these in the freezer for all of our pediatrician visits!



Anyway, to recap, I liked these but thought they were a little flourish due to my undermixing, Caroline happily licked the same cookie for 45 minutes, and David claimed to enjoy them and said nothing about the flour situation. I tried to get Jacob and Elizabeth to try these, but they heard "jam cookie" and immediately announced that they don't like jam. I generally do not waste my limited "you must eat this!!" energy trying to persuade my kids to eat desserts, but in that great Ralphie holiday tradition, I dared them, double dared them, double dog dared them and then pulled out the mighty TRIPLE DOG DARE in an effort to get them to try these cookies, but no dice. But somehow the cookies still disappeared within a day or two even with only three of us eating them. Oh well, nothing that some double Spanx can't handle. That's how Gwyneth does it -- she says so herself.

You can find the recipe for these yummy cookies over at Heather's website. And thank you, Heather, for this great pick!

39 comments:

Cristine said...

Great looking cookies! Your daughter is ADORABLE!!!

natalia said...

Ciao ! I like the jammed ones !!!

Natashya said...

The jam was a great idea, I found the cookies otherwise a little drab - even hubby looked a little uncomfortable eating one and realizing he had a whole tin of these boring cookies to bring into work!

Jamie said...

Ohhh I love the jam idea! I have not made these yet, but I just might steal your idea when I do! I have come to realize Toys R Us is insane at any time of day or night.

Melissa said...

My one year old liked these cookies too. Not a big surprise though, he'll eat anything sweet, but nothing with a vegetable in it.

I love the idea of putting jam in the centers. They look delicious!

Laura said...

Cathy, your idea of putting jam in these sounds great! And what kind of rookie mom am I that I didn't know about the concept of giving a crabby toddler a cookie after they get their shots to calm them down - brilliant!

I just couldn't muster any kind of excitement for these cookies and, since time is at a premium these days, I just skipped them. I really need to get back on the blogging bandwagon! Unfortunately I have also fallen into the facebook black hole (that @*&$ scramble game is evil I tell you, pure evil!).

Megan said...

A+ mother of the year award for braving Toys R Us. Last time my husband went there a group of people tried to steal his car - as he was walking out of the store. Now I'm not allowed to go there at all.

But the cookies - adding extra jam was a stroke of genius.

Peggy said...

well now we can call these miracle cookies! I think the blackberry jam looks delicious. I hope you are all feeling better and hope to see you in the office today? Believe me, I still remember those Toys R Us days. But enjoy them - they pass too quickly!

Maria said...

I love your jammin cookies! They look great:) I am glad you are still alive after going into Toys R Us! You are brave!!!

chocolatechic said...

Sorry you had to spend so long in Toys-r-us...what a nightmare!

So glad the chips are older now, and I don't have to do that anymore.


These cookies were fabulous.

Engineer Baker said...

Your daughter is just too cute! And seriously, 2 hrs at Toys'R'Us?!? That's just scary.

Kayte said...

LOL on the Toys R Us trip...I remember those days...now as teens, it's one stop shopping as you can park yourself at any electronics place and just start pointing...clerks run right and left to line it all up for you...LOL. Love Slate (must be that lawyer husband thing we share that makes Slate a regular around here, too). Too cute on the miracle cookie for the little sweetie...so cute. Your cookies look great, and if you think I am not stealing that blackberry jam idea, you would be wrong. Am so going there next. Great post...love stopping by each week.

Pam said...

I am sorry you had to go through "midnight at Toys R Us" that is my kind of nightmare.

The cookies look amazing! I am with you - he's my favorite Marley too.

leanne said...

I hate the Toys R Us trips close to Christmas. I tried blackberry jam and loved them. I will have to try thumbprints next them. I did not mention the jam to my kids until they had tried them. They just looked like purple cookies and then they were sold. I too should be wearing double spanx if I don't stop eating cookies.

kim said...

oh you poor thing, i'm glad you made it out of toys r us alive! the cookies look yummy, especially the ones with the extra "jammin" on top :)

Dawn said...

I think I would cry being at Toys R Us for that long. I'd be jammin now too.

SUGAR B said...

What a great blog entry! That is awesome, referencing Bob Marley. You are too cool.

Flourchild said...

I have to say Im thankful we moved to a town where the Toys R Us is 45 minutes away. I only have one child out of three that is still interested in it. When we lived in Boise my girls were of age to live at Toys R Us, if I'd let them! Now we go to places like Hollister, Areopostle and well you know any girlie place with clothes and shoes!
I love your cookies with the jam on top. I thought these were super easy to make and tasty. I used grape jam on mine..mainly cus it was the only thing in my fridge. I liked the flavor and my girls really liked adding the vanilla frosting to the top. The boys in my family did NOT like them. Steven is such a trooper and will always give my TWD a try and tell me the truth. I could tell by the look on his face after the first bite is was not his cup of tea! My boy Samuel said mom I don't want to hurt your feelings..but I don't like them..so there you have it..im writing a book here! Merry Christmas..we leave for NJ on the 24th!

Mary Ann said...

I totally feel for you about the Toys R us. We haven't even gotten it together yet to go, but strep has taken over the house-fun! I did brave it and go to the post office, but somehow missed out on the fact that dec. 15th is the busiest day of the year. fun!
Anyway, back to the cookies. They look yummy and I like what you did with the jam in the center. Looks like something any kid would love.

Katrina said...

Great post. Love it.
Glad you liked the cookies, I thought they were dri-ish, floury-ish, too. This may be one where we should have weighed the flour to get exactly 4 1/2 oz. or something.
I jam thumbprinted a bunch of mine, too. The plain ones are just TOO plain.

MacDuff said...

I LIVE in Spanx, but Gwynneth is hardcore. I heard her say once that she wore two pairs to a premier, after her baby was born. That is Spanx commitment.

And for your kids, if the triple dog dares don't work, then say "Show mommy how the piggy eats!" I honestly say that to myself when I feel myself getting full and there's still food on my plate.

Your cookies, and your children, are perfect.

Jess said...

Miracle toddler-calming cookies! I'll have to remember this for the next round of shots. They look great with the jam thumbprint. I'm impressed that you could bake after a trip to Toys R Us - I'd be drinking instead.

Heather said...

you'd think elmo would have lost some of his tickle sensitivity in the last few years! guess not, though. toys r us makes me shudder. i always shop online for my niece. toy stores are just torture. the cookies look good, though :)

oh, and hoochie mama dolls?! why not?! you don't want your daughter being influenced to join the world's oldest profession??

Audrey said...

Oh, I'm so glad I could come by for my (1) surly (2) sweet (3) musical metaphor (4) funny kitchen mistake (5) Hollywood gossip fix. I loved your post as always and I didn't mind the slightly floury taste at ALL. Love the double jam thumbprints. :)

Pamela said...

That Bob Marley song ALWAYS makes me think about summer! Thanks for taking me there. :o)
Your daughter is SO CUTE! Hope she is feeling better. Oh yeah...nice cookies!

Julie said...

You shut the kids up with cookies, I shut the dog up with cookies. Great minds.... I wish I had tried a few as thumbprints.

Jacque said...

LOL, well, you covered a lot of ground there lady! Too funny about Bob... perfect jam cookie song, I'd say. Maybe he was making jam cookies when he made up that song?

Glad you, or at least your hubs and cranky baby liked the cookies.

P.S. I don't envy you having to navigate the "pink aisles" at Toys R Us (this coming from a mother of boys only). Pokemon and Legos just seem so much more striaghtforward. Maybe?

Di said...

Lol at the description of the Toys R Us trip! And it's always nice to hear of an antidote for shots visits. Caroline is a cutie. =)

Debbie said...

Your blog is so stinkin cute. Your cookies look great and I loved the picture of your little one enjoying them.

Enjoy ToysRUs... those days go by so fast!

The Food Librarian said...

Brave, Brave, Brave for going to Toys R Us! Your post cracked me up and gave me warm fuzzies when you talked about making cookies with your mom - yeah, we might have kitchenaids now, but things are kinda the same. :) Great job with the additional thumbprint jam!! Yum!

Amanda said...

Ah gone are the days of shopping at Toys R us for me, at least for now. Now it's electronics and clothes LOL! Your one year old is darling!

Kimberly said...

Yet another reason kids scare me (I don't have any of those yet): they just decide they don't like things. I did it, so I definitely have it coming to me should we decide to sprout one.

Your jammin' cookies look yummy!

bakingwiththeboys said...

You are a braver mom than me. I just can't go to Toys R Us at christmas. Of course, that means I had to leave my office lugging a spiderman skateboard through the halls last week. So, I guess there are trade-offs.

You were right on with the cookie talk. I love that is the same process...

The Blonde Duck said...

Your cookies put me in such a baking mood I baked a ton for the office party tommororow!

Melissa said...

These look soo good, I wonder how they would taste if you used peanut butter cookie dough.

Teanna said...

Double Spanxx and Bob Marley? You're my kind of girl!!! LOVE that these were the perfect remedy to a crying child!!! They look great!

Heather B said...

I'm glad you liked my pick! The jam in the center is a great idea!

Liz said...

Hee hee, the Marley reference slays me. Making them into thumbprint cookies is a genius idea, because I thought they could use more jam flavor. Love it!

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