Friday, December 17, 2010

Poppy Seed Ribbon Cookies

Cookie season is in high gear. Chocolate, vanilla, nuts. Crunchy, chewy, crispy. Plain and adorned. Sliced, rolled, dropped and scooped. Sandwiched and thumbprinted, dipped and dusted. As the flour flies and the mixer whirs happily, oh what fun to share so much abundance.

These cookies are a little riff on Nancy Baggett’s Cranberry-Cherry Icebox Ribbons. I threw some poppy seeds into the cookie dough and used mixed berry preserves in the filling to produce these striped and polka dot gems.

Cookies are always a welcome ritual in this season. I hope your holiday baking fills your kitchen with wonderful aromas, family and friends.

Bench notes:
- The filling can be made and stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- The dough is frozen so the cookies are easy to slice and hold their shape.
- Frozen cookie dough will keep for up to 1 month. Transfer to an airtight container.
- One test for doneness for cookies is to gently nudge one with your fingertip. If the cookie slides easily, they are done. If you feel a lot of resistance, bake for another minute or so. Once removed from the oven, most cookies will need to firm up for a minute or two before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Lots more cookies in my Recipe Index.

Poppy Seed Ribbon Cookies

based on Cranberry-Cherry Icebox Ribbons from The All-American Cookie Book by Nancy Baggett
Makes about 30 cookies

generous 3/4 C (3 oz) dried cranberries
generous 1/3 C berry preserves
1 - 1 1/2 T sugar, to taste
3 T orange juice
1/8 t vanilla

2 C + 2 T flour
1/4 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 T + 1 t poppy seeds
3/4 C sugar
2/3 C butter, softened
1 egg
2 1/4 t vanilla

For the filling, combine the dried cranberries, berry preserves, sugar and orange juice in the bowl of a food processor. Process until coarsely pureed.

Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and cook over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Stir to prevent scorching. Remove from heat and add the vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until chilled and thickened.

For the cookie dough, sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk in the poppy seeds.

Cream the butter and sugar until smooth.
Add the egg and vanilla and mix thoroughly.
Add the flour mixture and beat just until incorporated.
Let the dough rest for about 10 minutes. If it's too soft to handle, chill it for about an hour or until it's easy to work with.

Line a 4 1/2” x 8 1/2” loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving an overhang of about 4” on each side.

Divide the dough into quarters. Shape one portion into roughly the size of the loaf pan. Place in the pan and pat an even and smooth layer into the bottom. Spread one-third of the cranberry filling over the dough with a small spatula. Repeat with the remaining three portions of dough and two portions of filling.

Fold the plastic wrap over the dough, completely sealing it. Freeze the dough in the pan until very firm. If the dough is too soft, the filling will squish out when the dough is sliced.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment or a silpat.

Remove the cookie dough from the freezer and carefully unwrap. Use a sharp knife to trim the sides into straight angles. Clean the knife between cuts. Cut the loaf into thirds crosswise, forming three blocks approximately 2 3/4” x 4”. Work on one block at a time, keeping the others chilled.

Cut each block into 1/4” slices that are about 2 3/4” long, keeping your knife clean after each slice. Place the slices on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart.

Bake one sheet at a time for about 12 - 14 minutes, until the edges start to darken and firm up. Cool the cookies on wire racks.


christmas sweets said...

This is a fun-looking cookie. And you can't go wrong with the cranberry filling. :) I'm gonna try making this because I honestly haven't done a stacked cookie yet. :/

Anonymous said...

Simply gorgeous. can't hardly wait to make them.

UrMomCooks said...

Always room for one more cookie! These are like nothing I have ever made before. The flavor profile looks delicious! Poppy seeds make all things better! Might just have to add these to the list...

Kathleen said...

Hey, these look fun and different! They will jazz up the old cookie plate with its usual gingerbread and star shapes.

The poppy seeds are a really good touch.


dining table said...

This is kind of different but I love it! It really looks delicious! Thanks a lot!

Anonymous said...


I made these cookies today -really really tasty -but it was impossible to shape the freshly made dough into rectangles, or press into the form-it was so soft and sticky! Therefore I made the rectangles on a sheet of baking paper with wet hands and froze them until they were firm enough to handle -I was really frustrated, but it worked in the end... Is there really no chilling step after making the dough?

pastry studio said...

Anonymous, Baggett's original recipe only says to "let the dough rest for about 10 minutes." I don't recall the dough being super sticky, but I'll add a note to the recipe to hopefully avoid that problem for others. Thanks very much for the alert.

Anonymous said...

Hi, me again. Thanks for the addition! Mine also spread quite a bit when baking, and didn't look like anything on the pic (still yummy!!) - I am thinking maybe the flour is different from country to country, can it be? Perhaps next time I'll make them into thumbprints or sandwiches.

Thanks for the recipe! Especially the poppy seeds smell so wonderful when baked!

linda said...

this is just great & will be baking tomorrow.
thank you for this great & unusual method…i just love it!
happy holidays & joy filled new year!!

pastry studio said...

Anonymous, not sure why you had the trouble with spreading because they are fairly frozen when sliced and should be very firm when they go into the oven.

The main reasons for cookie spread are:

**The dough is insufficiently chilled.
**The cookie sheets are not cooled before placing the cookies on them.
**Baking soda is not carefully measured. Baking soda weakens the gluten in flour as well as the protein structure in eggs. This causes less structure. (however, baking powder was called for in this particular recipe)
**The type of sugar used can also affect the structure because sugar is a tenderizer. So bear this in mind when substituting sugars.

I'm so glad you were able to enjoy them nonetheless!

pastry studio said...

Linda, thanks so much for your Holiday Greetings and I send them right backatcha!

Lisa@ButteryBooks said...

Hi!! Just found your blog...these cookies (and all the other recipes I viewed) look delicious!!

Joyti said...

Those are so lovely...and I like the ribbons better than 'thumbprints', as the jam is distributed more evenly.

Unknown said...

This looks remarkably delicious than the other ordinary cookies as they filled with cranberry jam in the middle and need to chilled before cutting to obtain a nice and tempting outlook. Poppy seed is a bonus for these cookies! yum!=)

Irina said...

Loved Them!
Thank you for the great idea. Not only were they easy to make, but they also look gorgeous and taste delicious. Merry Cristmas everybody!

pastry studio said...

Irina, I'm very grateful for your feedback! So glad you didn't find these difficult and enjoyed the final product. A very Merry Christmas to you!

Bryan said...

i made these and they turned out great.
the first layer in the bottom of the pan was easy.
for the other layers i patted together small flattened pieces of cold dough on the jam layers.
it worked pretty well.
the dough was sticky if it wasnt super cold.

i only had dried sour cherries on hand too, but it made a great jam.
and lightly dusted half of the cookie with powdered sugar.

i liked baking with poppy seeds.

pastry studio said...

Howdy GooberNgrape. I was thinking dried cherries would be delicious but I had dried cranberries on hand so I went with those. I bet yours looked beautiful.


Catering Sydney said...

Really love this all cookies, I m getting water in mouth and I want buy this cookies or I will try this cookies in my home but I don't think so I can wait till evening.

Judy said...

I made these today and they came out beautifully! I used dried cherries instead of cranberries also and added 1/8 tsp almond extract instead of vanilla. I found them easy to mix up and stack. When slicing, I turned the rectangle 90 degrees so that the pressure of the knife did not tend to push out the filling. They are really beautiful and delicious- a very nice addition to a holiday cookie tray. Thanks for this great recipe!