The Cowgirl Chef: Two cookie recipes for St. Paddy’s Day

Posted Tuesday, Mar. 11, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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Jammie Dodgers

Makes about 20

• 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

• 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar

• 1 teaspoon vanilla

• 1 egg yolk

• 3 cups flour

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 9 ounces raspberry jam

1. Beat butter and powdered sugar together until fluffy. Add vanilla and egg yolk and mix just until incorporated. Add flour and salt and mix well. Mash the dough into a fat disc, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, about an hour.

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll out half of the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/8 inch thick. Using a round, 2 3/4-inch cutter, cut out as many cookies as you can, pressing any dough scraps back together and re-rolling it out if the dough’s not too warm (if it is, refrigerate until it’s firm again). Put the rounds on cookie sheets and with a tiny heart cookie cutter, cut hearts out of half of the cookies. Refrigerate cookies for 15 minutes so they can firm up.

4. Bake for 10 minutes. (The cookies will still be quite light, but that’s what you’re going for. If they start to brown, they’ll be overcooked, so err on the side of what looks like underbaking.) Let cookies cool for a couple of minutes on the pan, then transfer to a rack and cool completely.

5. Roll out the rest of the dough, and place cookies on the now-cooled cookie sheets. Refrigerate 15 minutes or so. Then bake, let cool on the pans and transfer to a rack.

6. When the cookies are completely cooled, spread about a teaspoon of jam onto the bottom side of the rounds without the cutout hearts. Top with cutout cookies and gently press to seal. Store in an airtight container.

Nutritional analysis per cookie: 223 calories, 11 grams fat, 30 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams protein, 39 milligrams cholesterol, 165 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber, 43 percent of calories from fat.

— Adapted from www.jamieoliver.com

Hobnobs

Makes about 70 (1-inch) cookies

• 3 cups rolled oats

• 1 tablespoon flour

• 3/4 teaspoon baking powder

• 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

• 1/4 cup sugar

• 2 tablespoons Lyle’s Golden Syrup (see note)

• 1 teaspoon vanilla

• 1/4 cup butter, melted

• 6 ounces good-quality milk chocolate

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a 9-inch-by-12-inch pan with foil or parchment paper.

2. Mix together oats, flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, Lyle’s syrup and vanilla. Add butter and mix well. Pour into pan and use a spatula to spread the mixture evenly. Bake for 10 minutes and let cool in the pan completely.

3. Melt chocolate in a bain-marie — I like to just put a glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering water — and spread all over the cookie layer in pan. Refrigerate to hurry the chocolate cooling process. Slice into 1-inch squares.

Note: Lyle’s Golden Syrup is a buttery-tasting cane syrup that’s used a lot in British cooking and is easy to find at a specialty grocer.

Nutritional analysis per cookie: 42 calories, 2 grams fat, 5 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram protein, 2 milligrams cholesterol, 28 milligrams sodium, trace dietary fiber, 39 percent of calories from fat.

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I’ve always been keenly aware of March 17. As a child, I wore green to ward off prospective pinchers, I drank green beer in college, and in my 20s I married an Irishman — which was fun for a while, but like a British television series, ended almost as soon as it began.

During our few short years together, we spent a lot of time in Ireland, and back then, the food was even worse than what you’d find in Britain. I loved driving around Ireland’s verdant countryside in our tiny rented car, but I was always hungry and couldn’t bring myself to eat beans, blood sausage and greasy eggs for breakfast like he did. So we’d stop at the Tesco grocery store and I’d stock up on road food — namely, candies and biscuits (i.e. cookies) with silly names.

Jammie Dodgers, round shortbread cookies with raspberry middles and cutout hearts, were my absolute favorites. They weren’t too sweet and had a thin layer of raspberry jam — nothing dodgy about these. And then there were Hobnobs, oatmeal cookie-like biscuits from McVitie’s, the brand behind the perfect tea dunkers, Digestives. I also ate Curly Wurly bars, Maltesers and lots of Toffee Crisp bars. It’s a wonder my teeth didn’t fall out.

Strangely, when I was at the new Marks & Spencer store in Paris a couple of months ago, I spotted some Jammie Dodgers again and wondered if they were as good as I remembered them, or if I had simply been hungry. Ditto with the Hobnobs. So I decided to make my own.

The Jammie Dodgers were so good I gave them to my neighbor, for fear I’d eat all of them in one sitting, as I’d done years before in the car. A simple shortbread cookie and jam, left for a little while so the cookie softens, makes for a perfect afternoon snack for coffee — or tea, if you want to be authentic.

And the Hobnobs? I went with, then tweaked and completely changed, a recipe I found on Nigella Lawson’s website — these are more like a bar cookie and are almost all oatmeal, with just 1 tablespoon of flour. Chewy, without much sugar and featuring a thin layer of milk chocolate on top, these may be the most addictive cookies I’ve ever made. I’ve put them in my freezer to hide them from myself, but I know where they are. Right next to Ben & Jerry.

This St. Patrick’s Day, I may not wear green, but I know what I’ll be eating.

Ellise Pierce is the author of “Cowgirl Chef: Texas Cooking With a French Accent” (Running Press, $25). Read her blog and watch her cooking videos on www.cowgirlchef.com. On Twitter: @cowgirlchef.

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