Cornmeal Cherry Jam Sandwich Cookies

Cherry cobbler is one of my favorite desserts and recently I revisited an old favorite variationcornmeal in cookie form! Cornmeal Cherry Jam Sandwich Cookies are a twist on this classic, made by sandwiching buttery and crisp cornmeal cookies with a rich cherry jam filling.

The Cornmeal Cherry Jam Sandwich Cookies are shortbread-like, with dense and rich dough that has a nice crunch to it from the cornmeal. Classic yellow cornmeal is the way to go in this recipe. It not only looks good, but adds a subtle sweet corn flavor to the cookies. The dough is shaped into a lot and chilled before individual cookies are sliced and baked.

Slice and bake cookies, in general, are great for sandwich cookies because it means that all your cookies are going to be the same size for sandwiching. The dough contains a small amount of baking powder and baking soda, setting it apart from standard shortbread cookie doughs. This gives the cookies a little lift and helps to tenderize them. While shortbread cookies are delicious on their own, they can be a little too firm when it comes to making cookie sandwiches. After all – you want the filling to stay between the cookies and not ooze out with the first bite!

For the filling, you can use any high quality cherry preserve. You want to choose a jam that is relatively thick and still has pieces of fruit in it. Fruit pieces really make the cherry cobbler effect work well. That said, you don’t want the pieces to be so large that it is hard to sandwich the cookies together. Use your jam as-is for a test sandwich. Below, I’ve included some instructions for thickening store-bought jam to make it a better filling for the cookies if your favorite jam isn’t working out perfectly. You can make homemade jam if you prefer, but I know that I like to keep things streamlined during the holiday season. Those extra 30 minutes can be better spent enjoying the cookies with friends and family if you’re not planning to make huge batches of jam for gift-giving.

Cornmeal Cherry Jam Sandwich Cookies
Cookies

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 cup butter, room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
2 tsp orange zest, optional

Cherry Jam Filling
1 cup cherry preserves
1 tbsp water (optional)
2 tsp cornstarch (optional)

Make the cookies: In a small bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, salt, baking soda and baking powder.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and creamy, then blend in vanilla extract and egg yolk. With the mixer at a low speed, blend in the flour mixture. The dough may seem dry at first, but it will come together as you mix it.
Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a rough log about 1 1/2-inches in diameter. Place each log onto a sheet of wax paper, and roll the logs gently until they are well-wrapped and relatively smooth.
Chill dough in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or overnight, or freeze for up to 2 months.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Slice cookie dough logs into 1/4-inch thick slices. Arrange on prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 11-14 minutes, until cookies are set and have a hint of brown at the edges. Cool cookies for 2-3 minutes on a baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Assembly: Pair up the cooled cookies. Fill each pair of cookies with 2-3 tsp cherry preserves and sandwich together. Serve cookies within 24 hours of assembly. If the cookies will not be served right away, store in an airtight container for up to 3 days and fill before serving.

Filling preparation (optional): To prepare filling, pulse jam, water and cornstarch in food processor until fruit is cut into small pieces. Transfer jam to small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer, stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes, or until thickened. Set aside to cool to room temperature before using.

Makes about 2 dozen sandwiches.

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