Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Apricot Currant Filled Cookies


I like a good filled cookie. What I don’t like are filled cookies that have a mere smidge or swipe of the good stuff. I’m the sort of girl for whom the chips are the whole point of a chocolate chip cookie, and the cream cheese center is the whole point of the Danish. The filling is likewise the whole point of a filled cookie. If you’re just going to use a tiny dab, then why bother? Save yourself the trouble – make sugar cookies or shortbread and call it a day.

The problematic thing about filled cookies is the tendency of fillings to ooze in the oven. This has always made me hesitate to use jam or preserves, as they’re not made for sustained heat. They puddle and bake into translucent sugar sheets that have to be chipped off one’s bakeware.

I found a nice base recipe on allrecipes, but it called for a jam filling, so I went to my fridge to scope out alternatives. I had some currants that had been languishing in my fridge, waiting to be added to cream scones; the rest of them are still waiting. I also threw in some dried apricots for variety’s sake. My hope was that dried fruits would hold up to baking better than jam or fresh fruit.

You’d think that currants and apricots would suffice for a punchy filling, but I thought they needed some liquid – just as over-moist fillings tend to ooze, over-dry fillings are equally unpalatable. For liquid, I always turn to booze before water. The addition of whiskey and amaretto nicely softens the currants and apricots and makes the filling more of a goo than paste – but a goo that still withstands the oven.

My use of amaretto is probably a reflection of sentimental fondness from my early drinking days: an amaretto sour was the first mixed drink I had that tasted really good. One can nurse an amaretto sour at a party without having to worry about inadvertently grimacing at the cute guy in the corner every time one takes a sip. Amaretto is good stuff.

These cookies are good stuff, too.

Apricot Currant Filled Cookies
Dough:
2/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup ground almonds
1 tablespoon white wine
1 tablespoon whiskey
½ teaspoon vanilla
zest of ½ an orange
¼ teaspoon salt
2 ¼ cups flour

Filling:
2/3 cup currants
2/3 cup dried apricots
1-2 tablespoons ground almonds
¼ cup sugar (I used a mix of brown and white)
zest of the other half of the orange
2 tablespoons whiskey
¼ cup amaretto
dash salt

2 teaspoons butter, melted
1 egg, beaten and slightly diluted with water

Make dough: cream together butter and sugar. Add egg, almonds, wine, whiskey, vanilla, orange zest, and salt. Stir in flour (I didn’t bother to sift it, and it was fine). If dough is too wet, you can add more flour. Cover and chill for at least an hour.



Make filling: In a microwave-proof bowl, place currants, apricots, and whiskey. Microwave, covered, until fruit has soaked up most of the whiskey, 1 ½-2 minutes. Let cool, then pulverize in food processor. Add almonds, orange zest, sugar, salt, and amaretto and stir well.  It will look like so:



Preheat oven to 350. Roll out dough to between 1/8 and ¼” thick, then cut into triangles around 3” long.  You'll see that I was wayyyy careful about how I cut my triangles.  Right.


Brush with melted 2 tablespoons of butter. Place a good gob of filling in the center of each triangle – I think I averaged around ¾ teaspoon of filling per cookie. Pinch triangles together in center to make a little purse, as shown, and place on a cookie sheet lined with an Exopator parchment paper. Because roll cookies tend to overbrown more than drop cookies, I think lining the baking sheet is a good idea.


Brush with egg wash and bake for 15-20 minutes, until very lightly brown. I think this makes maybe 3-4 dozen cookies.



These are really delicious. The currant and apricot filling is redolent of figs to me, but even better. One could certainly substitute other dried fruits for the apricots and currants in the filling – figs themselves would probably work, or one could go with all apricots, or a mix of apricots or cherries. Blueberries would be nice, especially if one substituted lemon zest for orange. The possibilities, as they say, are endless.

Printable recipe here.


4 comments:

  1. Love how you shape the cookies! Lovely, very festive!

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  2. Those cookies are beautiful~Love the taste too:)

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