Monday, June 15, 2009
IGA Item of the Week
It was Sunday night, I didn’t have a lot of time or a lot of ingredients on hand, and I had promised to bake cookies for a class party. So I turned to this IGA Item of the Week, which you can find right next to the Smuckers Grape Jelly at Schiavoni’s, to make some simple bar cookies. Unlike a lot of jams, Sarabeth’s jams really taste like fruit. That’s important when it’s the jam that’s going to give your cookies character and flavor. I used strawberry-rhubarb, but I also like orange-apricot, plum-cherry, and pineapple mango.
Jam and Shortbread Squares
Makes 16 squares
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup sugar
1 large egg
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons best-quality jam
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place an oven rack in the bottom third and the top third of the oven. Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil, tucking the foil into the corners and leaving about 1 inch overhanging the top of the pan. Spray the bottom and sides with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
3. Cream together the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stir in the egg and vanilla. Use a small metal spatula to spread half of the dough evenly over the bottom of the pan. Place the pan and the remaining dough, still in the mixing bowl, in the freezer for 20 minutes to firm up.
4. Spread the jam on top of the dough in the pan. Drop pea-size pieces of the remaining dough evenly over the jam.
5. Place the pan on the bottom rack of the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to the top rack and continue to bake until the top is golden, another 10 minutes.
6. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool completely.
7. Grasp the overhanging foil on either side of the pan, lift out the squares and place them on a cutting board. Cut into 16 squares. Jam and Shortbread Squares will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days.
Photo credit: Eve Bishop