Monday, December 14, 2020

Francincense & Myrrh & Cardamom Cookie Bars

I follow a handful of bakers in social media, and last week Louise Miller tweeted about the Los Angeles Times holiday cookie list. I immediately knew which recipe I would be trying, because I'm a sucker for cardamom (so much so that I ended up not even having enough for this recipe, and now I'm out!) and immediately knew I could use my holiday plum butter instead of the prescribed raspberry jam. I buy plum jam and plum butter any time I see it at an import store or international grocery because it's rather hard to find in the United States yet is is a standard holiday flavor in some places in Europe, I imagine because of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Cardamom Plum Cookie Bars
(based on the Cardamom Raspberry Bars from Silvia Razgova at the Los Angeles Times)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for greasing

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch metal baking pan, then line the bottom and two long sides with a sheet of parchment paper; grease the paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cardamom, baking powder and baking soda. In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, both sugars and the salt. Add the eggs and yolk and vanilla and whisk until smooth. Using a sieve, sift half the dry ingredients over the batter, then use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to stir until almost combined. Sift in the remaining dry ingredients and stir until the dough combines and there are no more dry patches of flour visible.
  3. Scrape the dough into the prepared baking pan and spread into the corners and in an even layer. Fill a resealable plastic bag with the raspberry jam, then cut one corner off. Pipe the jam in about six or seven 1-inch-thick rows widthwise over the dough (or dollop the jam evenly over the dough with a spoon). Run a thin-bladed knife or a toothpick through the surface of the batter in opposite directions to create a feathered effect. 
  4. Bake, rotating the pan from front to back halfway through cooking, until golden brown at the edges and set in the middle, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool completely.
  5. Use the parchment paper to lift the cooled cookie slab out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Cut into 24 bars to serve.  

You can substitute any complimentary flavored jam, but the author of the recipe is clear that if it's too thin, the dough will absorb it rather than bake it as a self-contained entity. My plum butter did sink down a bit and not do as much marbling on top, but it tastes delicious. The cardamom adds an element of depth

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