Thursday, July 16, 2009

[Cookie 026] Striped Icebox Cookies

Striped Icebox Cookies

I am going to divulge a secret about my personal life right now. I love Harry Potter. Not really his character in particular, but the story in general. The books, a few of the movies, you know. And I don't think this should be at all surprising given my age demographic and that I essentially grew up with it.

New Cookie Jar

Now unless you live under a rock or have more important things to do (the latter of which is highly probable and quite understandable), you would know that the 6th cinematic installment of the HP series has just recently graced American movie theaters. So, my friends and I went to see the movie opening night at 12:01 am. Big nerds, yeah whatEVer! We had a little pregame party as well, and this is when the cookies come in. I needed a good recipe that somehow related to Harry Potter. I considered the Magic Blondies, but other than their name, they weren't Harry Potter at all. I decided on the Striped Icebox Cookies because I thought they looked like Griffendor Scarves, what with their stripes and maroon-gold color pallette. Yeah, might be a stretch, but they were really delicious!

CherryBLOOODDD
Sinister looking!

Now onto the recipe. The first thing it has you do is make the filling, which is comprised of dried cherries, a red jam, sugar, and a bit of Almond Extract. Initially, while adding in the tablespoon of sugar to this already sweet sticky mess, I was certain that the filling would be way too sweet, but in the end it has a great tartness to it that compliments the rest of the cookie very nicely. I went with raspberry jam, because of the color, and also because of all the seeds (which lend a nice texture to the cookie).

Cherry-Raspberry-Almond Filling
Cherry/Raspberry/Almond Spread

After you run it through a food processor, you heat up with mixture in a pot until it boils. Note how in the first picture the filling looks pretty hefty and solid. I was sure that it would be impossible to boil, but if you are patient and don't heat it too fast (it can burn/caramelize easily), it will eventually bubble--albeit quite slowly and stickily. I was about to make some sort of nerdy Harry Potter reference here, but I can't think of one that isn't completely cringe-inducing.

Please excuse the next two ugly, horribly lit photos!

Rolling Dough into 9" x 3.5"
Spreading the Cherry/Raspberry Filling

So, after you whip up the simple cornmeal dough, Martha has you roll it out into a 9" by 3.5" rectangle of about 1/4" thickness. I though that this would be the only time I would have a chance to shape the dough, so I made a quick stencil and rolled the dough into it so it would have the correct dimensions. This isn't necessary, because after you freeze all the layers, she has you cut them down to size anyways.

Then you freeze the four 9" x 3.5" layers for a bit, and then you spread the cooled filling onto them. This can be a tad frustrating, because the filling is really really really thick and sticky and very hard to manipulate without rubbing bits of the dough off. I used the very tip of a butter knife to slowly move the filling across the expanse of dough. Just take your time!

Cleaning the edges of the Striped Icebox Cookies

Moving along. Then, after sandwiching the layers together and freezing them, you are supposed to cut off the edges and essentially trim the brick of dough down significantly. I suppose she thinks you are going to just throw out these perfectly delicious pieces of cookie dough, but don't. Eat them. Or bake them and make a few ugly cookies. They taste great either way...just don't waste them!

Cherry-Raspberry-Almond Stratum!DSC_0108.JPG
Slice, slice, slice!

Striped Icebox Cookies, baking
Bake, bake, bake!

That's about it! They taste pretty good out of the oven, but once again I'd recommend you let these sit and cool completely before diving in. They need time to get crunchy! Either way, though, the tart cherry filling is just right, and the cornmeal in the dough is a really unique touch. A top notch cookie, even though it's hardly Harry Potter themed. Sorry, I just didn't have a lightening-shaped cookie cutter!

Striped Icebox Cookies
Striped Icebox Cookies in New Jar
P.S. How much do you love my new cookie jar?? Perfection!


Striped Icebox Cookies
Makes 3 dozen

Ingredients
  • FOR THE FILLING
  • 3/4 cup dried cherries
  • 1/3 cup sour cherry jam, or preserves (I used raspberry jam--very good choice!)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • FOR THE DOUGH
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Directions
  1. Make the filling: In a food processor, combine dried cherries, jam, and sugar. Process until coarsely pureed. Transfer to a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat, and stir in almond extract. Let stand until cool.
  2. Make the dough: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 4 minutes. Add egg and vanilla; incorporate. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture to butter mixture; mix to combine.
  4. Transfer dough to a clean work surface, and divide into four equal portions. Place one portion between two pieces of parchment paper that are at least 12 inches square. Roll out dough to a 3 1/2-by-9-inch rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Repeat with the remaining three portions dough. Transfer to a baking sheet and freeze for about 30 minutes.
  5. Assemble the cookies: Remove dough from freezer. Remove top pieces of parchment from dough. Spread one-third of the filling evenly over one portion of dough. Invert second rectangle over the first; remove parchment on top. Repeat layering process, leaving the top rectangle uncoated. Wrap in plastic wrap and transfer to freezer for 1 hour.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with Silpats (French nonstick baking mats). Trim dough to a 3 1/4-by-8 1/2-inch brick. Cut the brick into 1/4-inch-thick rectangles; place on baking sheets, spaced 2 1/2 inches apart.
  7. Bake until light golden around the edges, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
****

{End Results}
Baking Difficultly: 4/5
Ingredient Accessibility: 3.5/5 (Don't substitute raisins or something for the dried cherries!)
Tastiness: 4.5/5
Attractiveness: 4/5 (A really unusual looking cooking--impressive design)
Is it worth it?: Definitely! If you have a bit of time to devote to these, they will win you many compliments!

{Pairings}
Drink: A black breakfast tea
Song: Red and Purple -- The Dodos
Activity: Outdoor picnic--these cookies travel well

(Trying something new with this whole "pairings" business. Let me know what you think!)

16 comments:

Sophie said...

These are very pretty, goes to show that icing isn't the only cookie beautifier :). Awesome photos too!

Lizzie said...

Sophie- Thanks! I agree about the icing...plus I don't think icing ever tastes as great as it looks anyway.

Kim said...

I love the look of these and I also love the cookie jar. I hear cookies make a great midnight snack : )oughts

Barbara E said...

I ate more of these than I should have and they are wonderful! Thank you Harry Potter, Martha, and Lizzie!

ZarpandiT said...

sophieee :) looks delicious!!!

Miakoda said...

Beautiful stripes! I can just imagine how this will crumble when you bite into it..mmmm.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Hi, Lizzie! I have just found your blog (can't remember if it was through FoodGawker or Tastespotting, sorry!) and loved it! I'm an absolute cookie junkie and you have got great recipes here!

Lizzie said...

Kim- I most definitely agree! The best part about snacking on these in the wee hours is the fact that no one catches you pigging out!

ZarpandiT- Thanks!!

Miakoda- Yeah they crunch perfectly, but the stripes are super chewy--a great contrast.

Patricia- Glad you like the blog! As a matter of fact, I've been reading yours for some time and I love it too!

oneordinaryday said...

Look delicious.... nicely done!

comfycook said...

I like the look of this. Call it sophisticated. A mature cookie for the little girls inside of us and for the guys too.

Jo from Eat Love Jump said...

I love your new cookie jar! I noticed it straight away! aND i AM IMPRESSED - you are a lady on a mission...

Lizzie said...

Oneordinaryday- Thanks so much!

Comfycook- I agree! Sophisticated like a pin-stripe suit, maybe...or not.

Jo- Glad you noticed the jar! I just figured that as long as I'm on this cookie mission, I better have the right/best supplies.

Anonymous said...

I don't know about you guys, but I'm a man trapped inside a woman's body

Anonymous said...

Simply divine. I particularly appreciate your note forewarning the substitution of raisins for the dried cherries.
Those edible jewels with their fleshy and delicately resistant texture, warm insides, and heavy odor. The way they weigh down the branches as the men walk by in the morning... It makes me shudder. Simpletons, like me, carrying ourselves at dawn to the factories, and then back home to our fat, wholesome, whole milk drinking, pale bitches. And our either sickly children, or old dog.
At 5 o'clock, those red, tiny round sluts offer themselves to us. They say "Pit me" and sway and shine.
No no, they shan't be excluded from this recipe.

Lizzie said...

shan't they?

Olga said...

LOVE dried cherries. Your photos are gorgeous!