Striped Icebox Cookies

The beauty of icebox cookies is that the dough keeps for up to a month, if tightly wrapped in the freezer, so you can have cookies anytime at a moment's notice. If you're baking them for use today, prepare a double batch and freeze half the dough for later. The stripes of jam make these treats look especially festive -- perfect for serving to guests or to give as a gift.

  • Yield: Makes 3 dozen
Striped Icebox Cookies

Source: Holiday Cookies 2005, December 2004

Ingredients

For the Filling

  • 3/4 cup dried sour cherries
  • 1/3 cup sour cherry jam, or preserves
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract

For the Dough

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Make the filling: In a food processor, combine dried sour cherries, jam, and sugar. Process until coarsely pureed. Transfer to a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat, and stir in almond extract. Let stand until cool.

  2. Make the dough: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 4 minutes. Add egg and vanilla; incorporate. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture to butter mixture; mix to combine.

  4. Transfer dough to a clean work surface, and divide into four equal portions. Place one portion between two pieces of parchment paper that are at least 12 inches square. Roll out dough to a 3 1/2-by-9-inch rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Repeat with the remaining three portions dough. Transfer to a baking sheet and freeze for about 30 minutes.

  5. Assemble the cookies: Remove dough from freezer. Remove top pieces of parchment from dough. Spread one-third of the filling evenly over one portion of dough. Invert second rectangle over the first; remove parchment on top. Repeat layering process, leaving the top rectangle uncoated. Trim to a 3 1/4-by-8 1/2-inch brick. Wrap in plastic wrap and transfer to freezer for 1 hour.

  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with Silpats (French nonstick baking mats). Cut the brick into 1/4-inch-thick rectangles; place on baking sheets, spaced 2 1/2 inches apart.

  7. Bake until light golden around the edges, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

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