We are one day away from December and this past weekend has thrown me completely into Christmas mode. To be honest, it really doesn’t take much, but two days of Black Friday shopping and a few Christmas carols, and I am ready to dive head first into the shopping, gift wrapping, and holiday baking. My grandma has made empire cookies around the holidays for as long as I can remember, and they have always been one of my favorites. My loving them is a bit surprising since I usually prefer rich desserts, but I can never get enough of the buttery shortbread-type cookies with jam sandwiched between them and topped with a simple icing. I can’t believe they haven’t been on the site prior to this, so I’m thrilled to share them with you. Let the holiday baking begin!
I love coloring the icing to reflect the festive season, so these are topped with red icing. I didn’t have green food coloring or I would have used that as well. You could always use the regular white icing plain, or top the white icing with red and/or green sprinkles.
You can use your favorite type of jam in these cookies and while I typically use raspberry jam, I was able to try a set of Crofter’s Superfruit Spreads recently and used the South America spread, which is Maqui berries and passionfruit blended with red grapes and morello cherries. This stuff is seriously good. So good. These spreads are 100% organic and include four unique fruit combinations from different regions of the world and are sweetened with fair-trade sugar. The variations include:
♦ Asia – Raspberries and yumberries blended with morello cherries and red grapes.
♦ Europe – Pomegranates and black currants blended with red grapes and morello cherries.
♦ North America – Wild cranberries and blueberries blended with red grapes and morello cherries.
♦ South America – Maqui berries and passionfruit blended with red grapes and morello cherries.
These spreads are perfect for any recipe that calls for your favorite jam, and will liven up your breakfast toast or PB&J sandwich.
I love these spreads and love that the company was founded by an immigrant family, so I’m thrilled to give away sets of Crofter’s Superfruit Spreads to TWO lucky readers, who will be selected at random. Each set includes the four spreads pictured and described above. The giveaway guidelines:
Deadline: Wednesday, December 3, 2009 11:59pm EST
Required: Your email address. You must fill out the email address portion of the comment form (it will not be published) or I will not be able to contact you should you win.
Restrictions: Due to shipping restrictions, this giveaway is only for those with U.S. and Canada mailing addresses. My apologies to international readers!
How to Enter: It’s simple! Leave a comment on this post and answer the following question: What is your favorite recipe using jam?
For an Extra Entry: Tweet about this giveaway, post about it on your blog, or post about it on Facebook. Then come back and leave a link to your Tweet, blog post, or Facebook post for a possible 3 extra entries.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
The giveaway is now closed and the two winners have been selected by Random.org.
Congratulations to commenter #61, Jennifer! Her favorite recipe using jam:
“my favorite recipe with jam has to be caramelized onions. you cook some little pearl onions in a couple teaspoons of Currant jam/jelly, among other things…unfortunately I’m blanking on what else goes in there, oops! but anyway, they’re SO GOOD. I love having them as part of a holiday meal.”
And congratulations to commenter #218, Annie! Her favorite recipe using jam:
“I love Italian plum crostata. The recipe uses my parents’ backyard plums . Because there is an overbundance, and we are unable to eat them all at once, my Mom makes plum jam which she uses in the recipe.“
For the Cookies:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup of your favorite jam
For the Icing:
1 cup powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon milk
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mat; set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour and baking powder; set aside.
3. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. On low speed, beat in the flour mixture just until combined.
4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a little less than ¼-inch thick. Using a 1¾-inch round or fluted cookie cutter, cut out rounds. Place about one inch apart on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes, just until the edges start to color. Watch closely, as they can get too dark rather quickly! Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
5. Spread bottom side of half of the cookies with about ¼ teaspoon of jam. Top with remaining cookies.
6. To make icing, whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla extract and milk, adjusting the milk and powdered sugar to reach the desired consistency. Spread over the tops of the cookies. Let stand until icing is completely dry. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature.