If you made me choose a favorite cookie from Dorie Greenspan, I'd have to plead the Fifth. There are far too many delights to choose from — beginning with those classic, chocolatey World Peace Cookies to these Jammers. But if I had to pick a favorite Dorie Greenspan cookie story, this one would be it. Because these cookies — made with a vanilla sablé dough, topped with thick jam, surrounded by tender, crumbly streusel — came to Dorie in a dream. And I can't think of anything more marvelous than that.
A Cookie to Dream About
As the story goes, Dorie was in Paris and woke up from a dream with these cookies all but baked and ready to eat. She imagined how they would look and how they would taste and finally created them based on those visions.
As far as cookies go, they require a few more steps than a standard shortbread, but the final outcome — tender, and rich, and bursting with the intensity of the jam of your choice — is nothing but proof that dreams do come true.
3 Keys to Classic Jammers
There are three building blocks for making this cookie: the shortbread, the streusel and the jam. Here are a few points on each element.
- Vanilla sablé dough: Essentially a shortbread, these cookies are often round and boast a tender, crisp crumb rich with butter flavor. Dorie called the "crown jewel of the Beurre & Sel collection." You could make just the sablés alone, top them with a show of sanding sugar, and be on your merry way.
- The jam: For the classic jammers, an inky blackberry or blueberry jam will do, but expand your horizons and dollop apricot jam or strawberry preserves. Just make sure the jam is thick!
- The streusel: One batch of the this topper and you'll wonder why a do-anything streusel wasn't part of your repertoire. This recipe makes enough to top the jammers, but as Dorie suggests, use it to top everything from brownies to ice cream sundaes.
Dorie's Classic Jammers
For the cookies:
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into chunks and at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
Cooking spray or butter
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
About 1/2 cup thick jam, such as blueberry or raspberry
Make the dough: Place the butter, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on medium speed, scraping the bowl as needed, until smooth but not fluffy, about 3 minutes. (Alternatively, use a large bowl and an electric hand mixer.)
Reduce the mixer speed to low and beat in the yolks one at a time, followed by the vanilla. Turn off the mixer, pour in the flour all at once, and pulse the mixer until the risk of flying flour has passed. With the machine on low, mix just until the flour disappears into the dough. Give the dough a couple of turns with a sturdy rubber spatula.
Turn the dough out onto the counter, 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 1/4-inch thick between 2 sheets of parchment. Slide the parchment-sandwiched dough onto a baking sheet (you can stack the sheets of dough) and freeze for at least 1 hour or refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (Wrapped airtight, the dough can be frozen for up to 2 months or refrigerated for up to 2 days.) Meanwhile, make the streusel.
Make the streusel: Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt together in a clean stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (Alternatively, use a large bowl and your fingers.) Drop in the cubes of cold butter and toss all the ingredients together with your fingers until the butter is coated.
If you're continuing by hand, squeeze, mash, mush, or otherwise rub everything together until you have a bowl full of moist clumps and curds. Squeeze the streusel and it will hold together. Sprinkle over the vanilla and toss to blend.
If you're working with a mixer, 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. When the grainy crumbs have turned moist and form clumps and curds, sprinkle over the vanilla and mix until blended.
Pack the streusel into a covered container and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (3 would be better) before using.
Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 350°F. Coat the wells of a 12-well muffin tin with butter or cooking spray. (If you've got 2 tins, use both of them and arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds instead.) Have a 2-inch round biscuit or cookie cutter at hand.
Assemble the cookies: Working with one sheet of dough at a time (keep the other one refrigerated), peel away both sheets of parchment paper (it's hard to cut the dough otherwise); put the dough back on one sheet. Cut out rounds of dough with a 2-inch round cutter. Drop a round into each muffin well. (Save the scraps, combine, gather them together, re-roll, chill and cut.) Don't worry if the dough doesn't completely fill the molds, it will once it's baked.
Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon jam in the center of each cookie. Spoon or sprinkle streusel around the edges of each cookie – you want to cover the surface, but to leave the jam bare.
Bake for 11 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet from front to back (and between racks if baking 2 tins). Bake until the streusel and the edges of the cookies are golden brown, 9 to 11 minutes more. The jam may bubble and that's fine. Leave the cookies in the tins for about 15 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool to room temperature.
Repeat with the remaining dough, letting the tins cool between batches.
- Make ahead: Stored in a plastic zipper-lock bag (squeeze out as much of the air as you can) or a closed container, the streusel will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Packed airtight, you can freeze it for up to 2 months; thaw in the refrigerator. Alternatively, the cookies can be assembled, wrapped airtight, and baked straight from the freezer, in which case they might need another minute or so in the oven.
- Storage: The baked cookies will keep covered at room temperature for up to 2 days and frozen for up to 2 months.
Reprinted with permission from Dorie's Cookies by Dorie Greenspan, copyright (c) 2016. Published by Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.