My tiny little NYC kitchen has been exploding with holiday cookies over the past few weeks, to the delight of my friend and co-workers. I think this is far more baking in one period of time I've done since my college sorority recruitments when I baked over 200 mini red velvet cupcakes.
According to all my friends and family who tried these, these win for best holiday cookie this year.
I was really nervous about how my first big batch of homemade gluten-free all-purpose flour would work across my different baking experiments the past few weeks, but it worked amazingly well in these. This was also the first recipe I've ever used a flax egg in, so that was fun to try as well.
These shortbread cookie sandwiches actually remind me a lot of those Pepperidge Farm Verona cookies we used to have around the house when I was growing up. They have a shortbread-like taste, with a fluffier and more delicate texture, and the dab of the cranberry chia jam gave it that nice tart, sweetness to cut through the buttery taste. One thing I do have to say, is that these cookies are a bit fragile, so you should package them well when giving them as gifts. Refrigerating them helps significantly and I highly recommend it- not only for handling purposes, but it also tastes so yummy when cold.
This is a longer recipe, but it really didn't feel bad to me at all as I broke the process up over a few days due to my time constraints. I made the dough one day, made the jam the next day, then on the third day, finally made the cookies.
Also, feel free to make swaps- any flavor jam will do well in these sandwiches (I want to try raspberry next!), or you can store buy that part if you just want to make the cookies. If you don't care about gluten, use whole-wheat pastry flour instead. You can go real egg or flax egg and both work just fine. That's what is fun about this stuff- experiment and play on your own! As always, my recipes are just guidelines and what works for me.
Gluten-Free Cranberry-Chia Jam Shortbread Cookie Sandwiches
*makes about 2 dozen cookie sandwiches
*you'll need to refrigerate cookie dough for at least 1 hour or can chill up to 3 days in the fridge
2.5 cups Gluten-free All-Purpose Flour Blend + additional for rolling out
6 oz (1.5 sticks) unsalted grass-fed Butter, room temp.
2/3 cup Brown Sugar, packed
2 Flax Seed Eggs* OR 2 Large Egg Yolks
1 tbsp Pure Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
For Cranberry-Chia Jam:
Follow my Blueberry Chia Jam Recipe
w/the following ingredient quantities instead:
1 12-oz package of fresh or frozen Cranberries
1/3-1/2 cup Raw Coconut Sugar, to taste
~1/2 cup Chia Seeds
1/2 cup Water
Special tools needed:
1.5 in cookie cutter & linzer cutter for heart cutouts if you wish
Electric Hand or Stand Mixer
Fine mesh strainer
1. Begin to prepare the jam:
- Heat up water and cranberries over a stovetop on medium-high heat. When cranberries begin to pop, reduce heat to medium and cover. Cook for about 5 minutes until all cranberries have popped, stirring occasionally. (I threw in rosemary to infuse extra flavor)
- Stir in coconut sugar until well dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Pour mixture into a blender and blend for about 45 seconds-1 minute until smooth. (If you have an immersion blender, no need to wait until cool and you can do it straight in the pot!)
- Strain mixture through a fine-mesh strainer to ensure no chunks, if preferred.
- Pour mixture back into the pot. Stir in chia seeds and cover for 2 minutes. The jam should now be of a consistency solid enough to spread on a cookie without dripping- if it is too runny still, add more chia seeds until it reaches proper consistency. If mixture is too dry, add splashes of water.
- Once jam reaches desired consistency, remove from heat and let cool down completely. Transfer into a airtight glass jar.
*For flax egg:
- If you don't have flax seed meal, grind whole flax seeds in a coffee grinder. For each egg, combine 1 tbsp ground flax seed and 3 tbsp of water
- In this recipe, combine 2 tbsp ground flax seed and 6 tbsp of water. Stir well, and place in fridge to set for 10 minutes. It should now be a sticky, goopy, egg-like consistency.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together until well combined. Set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy and fluffy. Add in the sugar and beat until well combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add in vanilla extract and flax eggs (or eggs yolks) and beat until well mixed.
4. Carefully, whisk in flour mixture by hand until just combined. Be very careful to not over-mix.
5. Turn out dough on a clean working surface/countertop, and knead gently into a ball. Divide dough into 4 equal quarters, then reshape each piece into a ball. Flatten each ball down into an approximately 1/2 inch thick dollar pancake. Wrap each quarter in plastic wrap, and place in an airtight container in the refrigerator for minimum 1 hour, or up to 3 days.
6. When ready to make the cookies, preheat oven to 350ºF, setting the racks in the upper parts of the oven, and line baking trays with parchment paper.
7. On a clean surface, sprinkle flour liberally. Place disk of dough and sprinkle more flour on top. Roll out dough thinly until about 1/8 inch thick. Cut out cookies and place 1-inch apart on baking sheet. If you are doing linzer cutouts, be sure to make equal parts top of the sandwiches with cutouts, and solid bottom halves of the sandwiches. Repeat until you've used all dough.
8. Place baking sheet in the oven for about 6-7 minutes until cookie edges are lightly golden-brown (remember, cookies will continue baking when removed from the oven). Remove from oven and cool for about 3-4 minutes. Transfer over onto wire racks to finish cooling down.
9. To assemble cookie sandwiches, spread jam on bottom solid halves of cookies, and then place top cutout cookies on top. Gently press together. Ready to serve!
*Cookies will keep best in the refrigerator.