A Hunky “Dorie” Classic Cookie
In late 2016 you could not pick up a holiday magazine without seeing a cookie recipe by Dorie Greenspan or reading about her new compendium of cookies, “Dorie’s Cookies.” I had no sooner read a review in the LA Times when Tom was invited by Melissa’s Produce to attend a demonstration featuring Dorie.
Despite my Nana’s best efforts, other than the occasional drop cookie and Bundt cake, I am not a baker (nor do I play one on TV). That having been said, I told Tom to take copious notes and maybe I would give one of these recipes a whirl.
Tom came home from Melissa’s Produce with a bag of tasty cookies, a page scrawled with notes of what he had gleaned that day and an autographed Dorie’s Cookies cookbook!
I quizzed Tom on his woeful notes. Fortunately for me, Dorie covered the same topics in the introduction where she discusses techniques, ingredients and gear. (MaiTaiTom’s Pathetic Apology Note: OK, my notes could have been better, but I was too busy scarfing down all the cookies at this event…my note-taking abilities obviously suffered from my gluttony.)
I had leftover jam from my jamming frenzy earlier this year that I wanted to use in a cookie or a crumble. I was leaning toward the Barefoot Contessa’s crumble recipe, but decided to give Dorie a spin. Her recipe for Classic Jammers intrigued me. I thought my Strawberry Grand Marnier Fig Jam or Cinnamon Pear Jam would be perfect for this cookie. I popped into Gelson’s to pick up the Dorie-recommended fine sea salt (Baleine) and butter (Kerrygold). BTW that butter is yummy!
The Classic Jammers recipe is on page 350 of her book and incorporates the French Vanilla Sablé recipe on page 332 plus the streusel recipe on page 500. I forged ahead on the Sablé recipe as it needed to be frozen for at least an hour before baking. Flipping back and forth between recipes I failed to note that the streusel is best refrigerated for three hours prior to use. (Note to self: Read the recipe … twice!)
Once I had the Sablé dough rolled out in the parchment paper and in the freezer, I turned to the streusel.
The recipe said you could use a mixer or your fingers, and, not having a mixer, I plunged in with my fingers squishing the butter flour sugar mixture to make the streusel. Unfortunately, my mixture never crumbled. It went straight to creamed. That was weird. How hard is it to make streusel?
I called up a friend who is a professional baker for an emergency consult. We decided I must not have had the butter cold enough before starting. I tossed the butter in the freezer for a few minutes and started over…this time with success. I covered the streusel and tucked it into the refrigerator for three hours to chill.
Three hours later I pulled the Sablé dough from the freezer and started on the cookies. It was at this point I realized my muffin tins kind of suck as they are no longer really non-stick. Instead, I put the cookies in paper baking cups thinking I would peel the paper off after they cooled. I topped the Sablés with my jam, sprinkled on the streusel and into the oven they went.
Once the cookies are golden brown, remove from the oven and let them rest in the muffin tins for 15 minutes before moving them to a cookie rack to cool. After 15 minutes, the batch in the greased muffin tin popped right out. Unfortunately, the ones in the paper baking cups sort of stuck to the paper. (Another note to self: Buy new muffin tins.)
So, was this recipe worth it? Keeping in mind my motto that if a recipe is a lot of work it had better be really good,…then the answer is “yes.” Tom says they are terrific. I think they are really rich and next time I would put more jam in the center and more cinnamon in my streusel. But overall, and especially if you like to bake, I think these cookies will impress your family and friends. I am already thinking of what my next jam is going to be and using it in this recipe. I am also really intrigued by the savory section of Dorie’s book and will be trying one or more of those recipes as my new favorite dinner party starter … the amuse bouche.
Ingredients for Streusel
(Make the streusel first as it is best refrigerated for three hours)
¾ c. all-purpose flour
3 T. sugar
1 T. brown sugar
¼ t. ground cinnamon
¼ t. fine sea salt
5 ½ T. COLD unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
½ t. pure vanilla extract
Whisk the flour, both sugars, cinnamon and salt together in a large bowl. Drop in the cubes of cold butter and toss all of the ingredients together with your fingers until the butter is coated. Squeeze, mash, mush or otherwise rub everything together until you have a bowlful of moist clumps and curds. Sprinkle over the vanilla and mix until blended.
If working with a mixer, fit it with the paddle attachment and mix on medium-low speed until the ingredients form moist, clumpy crumbs. Squeeze the streusel, and it will hold together. Reaching this stage takes longer than you think it will – you might have to mix for 10 minutes or more. Sprinkle over the vanilla and mix until blended.
Pack the streusel into a covered container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (3 hours would be better) before using.
Ingredients for French Vanilla Sablé Dough:
2 sticks (8 oz.) unsalted butter, cut into chunks at room temperature
½ c. sugar
¼ c. confectioners’ sugar, sifted
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
2 c. all-purpose flour
½ c. thick jam of your choice (Dorie recommends blueberry or raspberry)
Working with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter, both sugars and salt on medium speed for about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed. The mixture should be smooth but not fluffy. Reduce the mixer speed to low and, one by one, beat in the yolks followed by the vanilla. Turn the mixer off and add the flour all at once. With the machine on low, mix just until the flour disappears into the dough. Give the dough a couple of turns with a sturdy flexible spatula.
Turn the dough out onto the counter and divide it in half. Gather each piece into a ball and shape into a disk.
Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll the dough ¼” thick between pieces of parchment. Slide the parchment-sandwiched dough onto a baking sheet – you can stack the slabs – and freeze them for a least 1 hour, or refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter or spray a regular muffin tin. Have a 2” round cookie cutter at hand.
Working with one sheet of dough at a time, peel away both pieces of parchment paper and put the dough back on one piece of the paper. Cut the dough and drop the rounds into the muffin tin. Save the scraps from both pieces of dough, then gather them together, re-roll, chill and cut. Don’t worry if the dough doesn’t completely fill the tins – it will once it is baked.
Bake the cookies for 20 to 22 minutes, rotating the tin after 11 minutes, or until the streusel and the edges of the cookies are golden brown. The jam may bubble and that’s fine. Leave the cookies in the tin for about 15 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool.
Repeat with the remaining dough, making certain the tins are cool. [Don’t forget to return the streusel to the refrigerator and to put the dough back into the freezer until you are ready to make the next batch.]
Makes about 30 cookies.