Of all the cookies I made for this X'mas, these are the most simple in terms of ingredients requirements and yet the prettiest to make. I absolutely adore their simple designs with the strawberry jam oozing out of the punched out heart shape and sprinkled with confectioner sugar, they looked like winter snow on the outside but warm with love in the inside. I couldn't help myself to a few pieces while I was preparing and packing them up.
The texture of these cookies is more akin to shortbread, slightly sandy and dense and firm after the baking. I rolled out the dough to 1/2 inches thick for easier cutting and I love to make it plump and thick like shortbread. These cookies are enjoyed for its buttery taste and firm bite and I used the fluted 2 inches cookie cutter for a better presentation.
I started with 3/4 cups of softened butter and creamed with 1/2 cup of sugar. As usual, I beat the egg before adding into the butter sugar mixture together with 1 tsp almond extract. The dry ingredients consisted of 1 & 3/4 cups of flour sifted with 3 tbsp cornstarch and 1/2 tsp baking powder with little salt. This was added in 3 batches into the butter sugar mixture to get them evenly combined. Roll out on a flour surface and cut with the desired cookie cutters. Cut even numbers of whole patterns and punched out ones. Space 1 inch between them in the baking sheet and bake for 12 mins at 350F till edges are slightly brown. When totally cooled on the rack, I dusted confectioner sugar on the punched out rounds before sandwiching them with the bottom round part with strawberry jam. I spread more thickly in the middle so that when sandwiched together, the pressure spreads out the jam to the rim and oozes upwards filling the punched out cavity.
As this year was the first time I am doing cookie gifts, I had no idea on what cookie tins to get and got mostly round ones. So, I found it difficult to arrange 5 different cookies with different shapes and sizes into one tin. I was skeptical that these cookies will still stay firm after the filling and packed them in wax paper before inserting them into the tin. Some jam oozed out and I should learn my packaging technique next year! And I recommend rectangular or square tin boxes too! Or perhaps make bigger sizes cookies.