We got snowed in and I couldn’t be happier.
I love snow; always have. I grew up next door to a small park that is probably a whole lot bigger in my memory than it actually is, but memories do that as we get older, don’t they?
It was big enough to have a basketball court, a small playground, a Little League-sized baseball field tucked into one of the corners and a large hill that was just perfect for sledding down. It was pretty steep and if you got enough momentum going, it was entirely possible to end up down in the middle of the park, between the basketball court and the slide.
And it was right next door to the house. True, I probably would have preferred living next door to the local library, but since I had a tendency to be on the, ahem, chunky side as a kid, I was probably better off living next door to Woodland Park.
It was always great fun to have school cancelled, drag the sled out of the garage and take it next door for a couple of hours. And it was always more fun to come back home, get out of the wet stuff and into dry clothes. With some hot chocolate and cookies, natch.
Here in Philly, we ended up with around two feet of snow. Of course, now when it snows I have to make sure we have enough cat food and people food and baking supplies and tea. I remember when wine and cigarettes were on that list, but no more.
But the makings for lasagna and apricot linzer torte bars were. And cookies are always good, blizzard or no blizzard.
I found this recipe on the Betty Crocker website when I was craving thumbprint cookies. You know those; you usually see recipes for them around the holidays. They’re a butter cookie that’s dipped in beaten egg white and then rolled around in finely chopped nuts. Then you take your thumb, make an indentation and fill it with jam before you bake them. They’re beautiful to look at and absolutely delicious, but a bit of a “do” to make. I’ve made them for the holidays and I’ll be honest; the older I get, the less fuss I want to deal with, cookies included.
I make mine just a bit differently from the recipe though (of course I do). For some reason, there’s no salt in the cookie base part of the recipe and you need salt to bring out the subtle flavors of the butter and ground nuts. And I like less “base” and more topping too, so mine’s more like a filled cookie bar.
The only other suggestion I’d make is to use a really good jam or fruit spread for the filling, and warm it up a bit before you spread it on the base. Sprinkle a bit of confectioner’s sugar on top if you’d like, and you’re ready for tea.
Apricot Shortbread Cookies
- 1 cup of unbleached white flour
- 1 cup of confectioner’s sugar
- 1 cup ground walnuts
- ¼ tsp of salt
- 1/2 cup of unsalted butter, softened
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 2/3 cup of fruit jam, preserves, conserves or spread (please promise me you won’t use grape)
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- In a large bowl, mix everything but the jam together until it looks like coarse crumbs. You can use a fork, two knives or a pastry cutter, but your fingers work best for this. Besides, it’s fun!
- Put half of the mixture into a 9”x9” pan. Press it evenly into the bottom of the pan and then press down into the corners to make sure it’s nice and firm.
- Warm up the jam a bit in the microwave. Spread it over the base evenly and out to the corners. Sprinkle the rest of the cookie mixture evenly and lightly press into the fruit filling.
- Let it bake for about 25 minutes or until it’s nice and golden. Let it cool completely before you cut into these; the filling is crazy hot.