One of the things I love best about the Holidays is the excuse to spoil my family and friends with freshly baked goodies. This recipe is one I created when our son was little, wanting to incorporate his two favorite sweet things – marzipan and strawberry jam – into one cookie. He’s 27 now, and these are still his favorite – hands down. I do half the batch with strawberry jam, and half with raspberry, but pretty much any jam that goes with almond flavoring would work well. These cookies are small bites of rich, buttery goodness that have become a main staple of my holiday baking. Friends and family start asking me in November if I’m planning on making those ‘awesome jam cookies’ in the next few weeks. They all love them, and I hope you enjoy as well.
3 sticks unsalted butter (grass-fed, organic butter is best)
1 cup almond paste, or one tube Odense brand almond paste.
1 1/3 c sugar
1 T almond extract
2t baking powder
5 c flour
1 jar each Strawberry and Raspberry Jam – not preserves or low-sugar jam. Real jam is the only one that will gel properly.
Melt butter. Mix butter, almond paste and sugar in a food processor or blender until smooth. Add eggs, baking powder, almond extract and salt. Process until smooth. Pour into large mixing bowl. Add flour and stir gently until all is incorporated. Pour into a plastic bag, form a flat disc, and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.
When ready, spray cookie sheets with oil spray. Preheat oven to 375 F. Shape balls of dough about 1 – 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Space dough balls 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake for 5 minutes on 2 racks in the top and middle third of the oven.
Take sheets out and dig out a well in the center of each ball with your thumb or finger. Fill well with either Strawberry or Raspberry Jam.
Return to oven and cook for about 8 minutes, or until cookie is turning golden on the bottom, rotating sheets on the racks once after 4 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Store for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Be sure to save some for yourself. They’re wonderful with coffee or afternoon tea.