Valentine's Shortbread Cookies with Guava Jam
Valentine's Day is almost here. Whether you celebrate it or not (let's face it, it is very commercial), it's a great excuse to eat heart shaped treats and to spend it with a loved one, who doesn't need to be your boyfriend or girlfriend, husband or wife. If you're single, a fun get-together with the ladies in your life is probably a much better option than an awkward date. I wanted to put a spin on the usual heart shaped cookies, and instead of filling them with strawberry or raspberry jam, I went with guava. I love the flavor so much, and it pairs so well with the rich, buttery shortbread. You'll notice that there's confectioners sugar in the shortbread instead of granulated sugar. This is to give the cookies a finer crumb; you'll know what I'm talking about once you bite into one of these. Shortbread heaven. Make sure to chill the dough before cutting out the hearts, and chill once more before they go in the oven. The high heat in New York City apartments proved to be a bit of challenge with the dough getting soft quickly, so I had to work fast. I enjoyed these cookies with a glass of strawberry milk and will be taking a bunch into my office for my co-workers to spread the love. Happy Valentine's Day!
Yield: 12-14 sandwich cookies
For the cookies:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter (at room temperature)
1/2 cup confectioners sugar plus more for dusting
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the filling:
1 can or package of guava paste (I used Goya brand)
Water (preferably hot)
Sugar to taste if necessary
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
- In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth (about 1 minute). Add the confectioners sugar and beat until well combined. Add the vanilla extract. Using a spatula, gently stir in the flour until just incorporated.
- Divide the dough in half, then place one half on a sheet of parchment or wax paper and cover with a second sheet. Using a rolling pin, roll dough until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Check every so often to smooth out any wrinkles. Place the dough on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and cover dough and put in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.
- Once chilled, remove from refrigerator and peel off the top piece of parchment paper. Using a 3-inch heart shaped cookie cutter, cut out the cookies. Use a smaller heart cookie cutter to cut out the centres of half of the cookies. Repeat with the rest of the dough until it's all used up.
- Place the cookies on a lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart and place in the refrigerator to chill while you preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176 degrees Celsius).
- Bake the cookies for 10 minutes or until they are lightly browned on the edges. Place on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make the guava jam: Cut the guava paste into 1-inch cubes, place in a saucepan over medium heat and add the hot water a little at a time. I used just about 1/2 a cup. Whisk until dissolved. Note: the amount of water used depends on the consistency you want the jam to be. Taste for sugar and add if needed, then continue to cook until desired consistency is reached. Take off heat and cool.
- Assemble the cookies: Place the cookies with the cut-outs on a wire rack and dust with confectioners sugar. On the bottom surface of the full cookie (right side facing down), spread a thin layer of the guava jam. Place the cut-out cookie on top and gently sandwich them together, being careful not to smear the confectioners sugar. Using a small spoon or a piping bag, fill the cut-out with a little more jam.
Note: cookies can be stored for several days in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Keeping them in the refrigerator will help to keep them crisp, as the jam softens them.
Recipe adapted from Joy of Baking.