Mom’s Apricot Jammies

published Nov 28, 2023
Holiday Cookies 2023
Mom’s Apricot Jammies Recipe

These buttery cookies use apricot jam and finely chopped pecans, and come together in a muffin tin.

Makes24 (2-inch) cookies

Prep40 minutes

Cook15 minutes

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Overhead view of apricot cookies scattered on a white surface.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Jason Schreiber

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The nutty smell of my mom’s apricot jammies permeates the air — it’s a familiar, comforting, and smile-inducing treat, even on the dreariest of days. These are one of my favorite cookies to make simply because they remind me of the love and care that my mom has always shown me and my sisters. 

When we were little, my mother would whip up her version of these South African treats — known as jam tertjies (Afrikaans for jam tarts) — in no time at all using the most basic of ingredients. Our pantry always had a can of jam and my mom could conjure up many meals, both sweet and savory, with apricot jam. We were always willing to help and often got tasked with sprinkling leftover pieces of dough around the edges of the cookie to form a streusel-like barrier for the jam. 

My recipe includes apricot jam and my mom’s favorite nuts, pecans, which are chopped and sprinkled around the edges. I harvest the pecans from my own tree at home in Mississippi where I live now, but you can of course buy them (see my note below!). The dough comes together very quickly in a food processor and makes use of muffin pans to shape the cookies, just like my mom did. The cookies are soft when they come out of the oven, but continue to firm up as they cool. They are buttery and rich with the flavor of vanilla and orange, just like many other South African recipes that I enjoy. I find that the apricot and vanilla in these cookies pair well with

South African rooibos tea

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Jason Schreiber

If You’re Making Apricot Jammies, a Few Tips

  • Be selective when purchasing pecans. Fresh pecans are light golden in color and very crunchy, so choose ones that are light golden in color for best results. Older pecans tend to be darker in color, less crunchy, and slightly bitter. The pecans also can be substituted with an equal weight of almonds or walnuts.
  • Try other fruit preserves. If apricot isn’t for you or you have other preserves on hand, feel free to use those here. 

Mom’s Apricot Jammies Recipe

These buttery cookies use apricot jam and finely chopped pecans, and come together in a muffin tin.

Prep time 40 minutes

Cook time 15 minutes

Makes 24 (2-inch) cookies

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 12 tablespoons

    (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter

  • Cooking spray

  • 1 1/2 cups

    pecan halves (about 6 ounces)

  • 2 cups

    all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup

    granulated sugar

  • 2

    large egg yolks

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • 1

    medium navel orange

  • 1/2 cup

    apricot preserves or jam

Instructions

  1. Let 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter sit at room temperature until softened.

  2. Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly coat 2 standard (12-well) muffin pans with cooking spray.

  3. Place 1 1/2 cups pecan halves in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Process until finely chopped, about 10 seconds. Transfer 1/2 cup of the pecans to a small bowl; leave the remaining in the food processor.

  4. Add the butter, 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 2 large egg yolks, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt to the food processor. Finely grate the zest of 1 medium navel orange into the food processor. Process until the dough comes together away from the sides of the food processor (there may be some loose flour at the bottom), about 20 seconds.

  5. Transfer the dough and any remaining crumbs left at the bottom of the processor to a work surface and gently knead until it comes together.

  6. Divide the dough into 24 (1-ounce or 1 heaping tablespoon) portions and place each portion into a muffin well. Using your hands or the bottom of a glass, flatten the dough evenly to cover the bottom of the muffin well until about 1/4-inch thick. Use the rounded part of a teaspoon to make an indentation in the center of each cookie. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of the reserved pecans around each indentation, pressing down gently to adhere if needed. Spoon 1 teaspoon apricot preserves into each indentation.

  7. Bake for 8 minutes. Rotate the muffin pans between racks and from front to back. Bake until the edges of the cookies are light golden-brown, 6 to 7 minutes more. Let the cookies cool in the pans for 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely.

Recipe Notes

Substitutions: Pecans can be substituted with almonds or walnuts. Any preserves can be used.

Make ahead: The dough can be made and refrigerated up to 1 day ahead. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or store in an airtight container. Let the dough sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before dividing and pressing into the muffin tins.

Storage: Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw for 1 to 2 hours, covered, at room temperature.

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