Blackcurrant Jammers from Beurre & Sel

Beurre & Sel was the pop-up cookie boutique brainchild of Dorie Greenspan, a renowned cookbook author and baker who writes grounded but beautifully complex recipes. Though she makes no bones about the fact that she has no “formal” training, Greenspan casually mentions Pierre Hermé and Julia Child as two of her closest dessert confidants and dear friends. Talk about life envy! Apparently, the idea for these cookies came to her in a dream, and she promptly set about recreating them the next day (much to Pierre Hermé’s delight).

These jammers caught my eye because they reminded me of upscale Jammie Dodgers, one of my favorite snacks from a stint of living in London. I also just loved the idea of a slender biscuit dotted with inky jam, wreathed with cinnamon-brown sugar streusel.  The recipe was slightly intimidating at first due to its length, but it’s really just a few stages of straightforward preparation with some resting time in between. The cookies are made in a muffin tin, which holds their shape together nicely. Although they seem dubiously flimsy when they go in the oven (a thin circle of dough as a base, a dollop of jam, and a sprinkle of streusel), they bake into a solid, crisp disk that holds together perfectly.

The main stages of the jammers are: 1) make the dough, roll it out, freeze or chill for a couple of hours; 2) make the streusel and chill for roughly the same time as the dough; and 3) assemble and bake the cookies.

Directions

You’ll need one or more muffin tins for this recipe. If you use one, make sure to let it cool before the next batch of cookies. The recipe originally yields around 30 cookies, but mine yielded closer to 40 from a tin this size.

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For the Dough

  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into chunks and at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Butter, to grease the muffin tin

Use a food processor, stand mixer, or electric hand mixer to beat the butter and two sugars together for a few minutes on medium high, until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl/mixer as needed with a spatula so the butter can get aerated. On low speed (or pulsing with a processor), add the yolks one at a time, then the vanilla. Turn off the mixer, add the flour, then pulse until the flour starts to absorb. Continue to mix on low until the flour is completely absorbed into the dough, scraping down the bowl if needed.

Divide the dough in two, and roll each half between two sheets of parchment paper until it is roughly 1/4″ thick. This will be the thickness of two quarters stacked together (easier for me to visualize than a ruler!). Slide the parchmented dough onto a baking sheet and chill in the fridge for at least two hours, or freeze for one hour.

For the Streusel 

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 5 1/2 tablespoons (2 3/4 ounces) unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

A food processor is easiest for this, but you can use your hands as well. Combine all ingredients except the flour and vanilla in the processor or in a medium bowl. Stir or pulse together. Next, add the butter slowly, crumbling with your fingers as if making pie dough, or pulsing in the processor. Continue until the streusel starts to clump together like damp sand, with some larger lumps visible. Sprinkle the vanilla over the mixture. Place in a covered container and chill or freeze for at least an hour.

To Assemble

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease the muffin tins with butter or cooking spray. Use a 2″ cookie cutter or whatever you have on hand…and place the dough circles into the muffin tins. Put the remaining dough back into the fridge between batches, and save the dough scraps to re-roll.

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Using a piping bag or a 1/4tsp, place a small amount of the jam of your choice in the center of each dough circle. I used blackcurrant, but blackberry or blueberry would give the same look as well. I also think they’d be beautiful with quince or apricot jam.

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Carefully sprinkle the streusel around just the edges of the muffin cups, leaving the jam uncovered. The streusel will meld the jam and the base to form a solid disk, even though the cookies will look disjointed pre-baking. Bake for 11 minutes, rotate the tin, and bake for 9 more minutes, until the streusel is browned and the jam is bubbling. Let cool for 15 minutes before using an offset spatula to pop the cookies out of the muffin cups. Once the tin is cool, continue with the next batch.

The cookies are delicate and crisp, with a chewy pull from the jam center. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

 

Till next time,

Pies & Pinups

 

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