Friday, December 28, 2007

Jeweled Cookies

I hope that you all had a wonderful time celebrating with your families and being off of work (if you were able to be off!). If you haven't noticed, there is still one recipe from my Christmas tins that I haven't given. I guess that it's better late than never! This recipe was one of the Food Network 12 Days of Christmas cookies. I thought it looked pretty and would be something fun and different, so I gave it a try. These bar cookies called Mazurkas are from Poland. The wonderful shortbread crust is topped with a delicious glaze filled with dried fruits and pistacios. They are easily packaged and would be a good addition to a bake sale...something a little more nutritionally redeemable, ;-)! One of my tin recipients commented specifically about these, so I think they were a success. I don't know if I'll directly do these again, but I think I probably WILL use the shortbread recipe. It was perfectly tender. So, with no more ado...here are the Mazurkas...the last cookie in my (apparently international) cookie tin, with a few changes (for the original recipe, use the link).Cookie:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 cup unsalted butter, soft, but still cool
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Fruit:
4 teaspoons cornstarch
4 teaspoons sugar
1 cup orange juice
3/4 cup dried apricots, quartered
3/4 cup craisins
1/2 cup raw peeled pistachios

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with butter or nonstick spray. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper (this will make it easy to lift out of the pan and cut later on)
For the cookie: Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl, with an electric mixer, at medium-high speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and add the egg and vanilla extract. Beat well, and then scrape down the sides.
While mixing on low speed, add the dry ingredients in 3 batches. Scrape down the bowl between each addition, and mix until just blended.
Transfer the dough to the prepared pan and spread evenly with a spatula. Bake until light golden brown with spots of darker golden brown and darker edges, about 30 minutes. Cool completely, about 45 minutes.
While the crust cools, prepare the fruit. Whisk the cornstarch and sugar together in a small saucepan. Whisk in orange juice until mixture dissolves. Stir in the fruits. Bring to a simmer over medium, stirring often; continue to cook, stirring until thickened into a compote, about 3 minutes more. You should be able to draw the spoon along the bottom of pan and see the pan with no liquid seeping back. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Stir in the nuts. Spread fruit evenly over the top of the cooled crust.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake mazurkas until golden brown around edges and fruit sets but is still slightly glossy and jewel-like, about 10 minutes. Cool in pan on rack.
Cut, using an oiled knife, into 24 bars. Serve.
Busy baker's tips: When double-wrapped, the cookie base keeps at room temperature for 3 days or frozen for 1 month. The fruit compote can be made up to 1 week ahead and refrigerated. Store completed cookies in an airtight container, layers separated with parchment paper, for up to 5 days.

4 comments:

Alisha said...

Those look like they would be great in an assortment. Something different than the norm but not too "weird". I'll have to give them a try next year.

Merry (slightly belated) Christmas and have a wonderful, blessed New Year!

Jerry said...

I saw this recipe in my e-mail but just didn't have the time to make them. They look great. I shall have to bookmark this recipe for next year.

kellypea said...

I love the color in these cookies. They're so beautiful. Definitely something I need to bookmark, as they sound yummy, too!

Claire said...

Alisha - I got several compliments on them. Hope you had a great new year as well.

Jerry - The base for these is great! You should try it.

Kelly - The color, I must admit, is why I tried it.