A few weeks ago, my husband and I had dinner at a house some six doors down the street. It turned out to be a lovely evening full of delicious food and great conversation. We’ve long felt lucky to live on a friendly and communal street, but it’s even more uplifting when we get to know our neighbors better and find out they’re sweet, wonderful people.
To top off hearing about their inspiring lives and fascinating interests, I was sent home with a jar of the neighbors’ homemade jam. They’d gone blackberry picking on a roadside near Sebastopol, had returned home to meticulously wash and can the berries, and now they were sharing their bounty. I couldn’t be more grateful – that is, until I tasted the jam a few days later. It was full of tangy berry flavor and tiny seeds that sang with freshness. I ate much of it in its lusciously pure state, but I also couldn’t help transforming some into another scrumptious state of being. Here’s what I made with it.
- ½ cup butter at room temperature
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 egg yolk (reserve the white)
- ¾ cup flour
- ½ teaspoon salt (omit if your butter or nuts are salted)
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ cup shelled, ground pistachios, preferably toasted
- about 3/4 cup blackberry jam
1.) Beat butter and sugar until fluffy and pale. Add egg yolk and mix until incorporated and smooth. Sift flour, salt, and baking soda over the butter mixture, and mix. Fold in the pistachios until evenly distributed. Transfer dough to a floured, flat work surface.
2.) Use a floured rolling pin to roll dough into a rectangle about the size of an 8.5 x 11” sheet of paper (a little longer is fine) and about 1/3- 1/2” thick. If dough is too soft, chill briefly. Spread jam in an even layer over the slab of dough; it should be opaque but not too thick. Gently roll the jam-coated dough into a log, starting with a longer edge of the rectangle to create a thin, long stick. If the dough is too sticky, move slowly and use some flour and a spatula to help keep it rolling. Once the log is created, scrape off any extra jam that has oozed out the seam. Don’t fret if your dough log looks messy and imperfect; the cookies will change shape when they’re baked. Tightly wrap and refrigerate the log for at least an hour, or up to 8 eight hours.
3.) Preheat oven to 350 F. Slice the stick of dough into 1/3-1/2” thick cookies, placing them on a parchment lined cookie sheets at least 1.5” apart (they spread as they bake). Make sure the rolls are tightly tucked together, giving them a squeeze around their edges if needed. Set the baking sheets of sliced cookies in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes; meanwhile, whisk the reserved egg white vigorously with 1-2 teaspoons water. Use a pastry brush to lightly coat the tops of the cookies with egg white. Bake cookies for 13-17 minutes, until edges and tops are become golden brown. Let them cool completely on the cookie sheets, then devour!
Crisp, buttery, nutty and fruity, these cookies express their deliciousness in many ways at once. Their coiled design is not only charming but also practical: it ensures an equal distribution of jam and nutty dough in every bite, just as it flaunts its colorful ingredients. And I think you’ll agree that these treats showcase a delicious duo: the pairing of pistachio and blackberry is a match made in heaven.
Maybe next time… Of course, almost any thick jam could replace the blackberry variety I used here (but I’m partial to colorful jam for these cookies). Likewise, different nuts such as almonds or pecans would be quite delicious. When I make these again, I think I will double the recipe; after all, the scrumptious cookies disappear quickly, and the process is a bit labor intensive. Speaking of which, this is a great recipe to start a day or two ahead of time with all the refrigeration needed. Or, if you want to make expedited pistachio-blackberry cookies, a thumbprint style version like this would be just as yummy.