Saturday, January 19, 2013

Raspberry Coconut Jam Dots

This week I've been reduced to something really strange. I've been rubbing thermal cream on my left butt cheek. I know. So weird.

I did something really stupid, and I'm not being hard on myself here. I deserve it. It was stupid. I pulled a muscle/pinched a nerve in my butt somehow while doing my sort-of daily run around the cricket field. This isn't the first time I've experienced a running-related injury....oh no no no...

But I will never listen. Never. It's about midway through that run when I feel it. I feel something disconnect. My long strides turn into short penguin-like hobbles and that energetic "huff-puff" strong look on face turns into one of severe awkwardness. What the crap is going on! ( what I say to myself). I go from feeling great to feeling really really bad....

This is the part in the story when I should tell you that I stopped, stretched it out a bit and rested.

Nope. Not going to happen. Why? Because I am one stubborn woman.

Pain? What's pain? Pain means work harder right? Wrongo. That was my body trying to tell me to lay off girl! But I didn't listen. Kinda like after my 7th bite of cookie dough before I actually bake the cookies...yeah...I never listen to my stomach and always pay for that later. (It's always worth it).

Anyway, this is one of those doughs. It's so wonderfully tasty - buttery, custardy and sweet. It's easy to eat. This dough represents my weakness and total self uncontrol.

Seems like lately I like sticking my fingers in my cookie dough.

These thumbprint cookies are the perfect contrary to these thumbprint cookies. Chocolate on Chocolate meet Fruit on Vanilla. The cookie dough is like sweet shortbread enriched with egg yolk to give it an irresistibly custardy flavour. It is actually very similar to pate sablee, which is a type of crumbly sweet French pastry mainly used for tarts.

Icing sugar gives the dough a very delicate and tender texture due to how fine it is. It also creates the softest dough that I swear you might forget what you're doing and think you're handling someone's smooth bottom - one that's never seen the light of day (those are always the softest).

So to recap...we have the egg yolk going in the dough and the egg white will act as glue to hold the lovely coconut onto the cookies. Nothing goes to waste. (But it might go to waist...sorry, that was a bad joke).

The egg white does not go into the dough because its high protein content would tighten it up and, when combined with the sugar, would give us more of a crisp sugar cookie texture. These are quite the opposite - soft, buttery and tender. How many times can I say tender in this post?

The most incredible thing happens in the oven - the coconut toasts so nice and evenly around the cookies that you'll be very pleasantly surprised. Not a single flake gets left untanned. The flavour deepens and the coconuttiness becomes more intense. If you've never toasted coconut before, then WOW. Just, WOW you are in for a treat. I'm really excited for you.

I used raspberry jam to fill most of the thumbprints in these darlings, and then some strawberry jam just for variation. I must say that raspberry rules. Raspberry and coconut make magic together - the aroma when they are baking will knock you off your feet.

Get ready. Set. Go!

Raspberry Coconut Jam Dots
Makes 18-20 cookies

113 g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
80 g (1/2 cup) icing sugar
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
1 large egg, separated
180 g (1 ¼ cups) all-purpose flour
¼ cup raspberry jam
85 g (1 cup) unsweetened desiccated coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, beat together butter, icing sugar, vanilla and salt until fluffy, pale and lemony coloured using a wooden spoon.

Stir in egg yolk until well combined (reserve the egg white for later). Sift over flour and stir it in until blended and dough comes together. Work it gently with your hands to bring it together until smooth if necessary.

Turn dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, wrap well and refrigerate for 20-30 minutes until the dough is chilled but not firm.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the coconut in a bowl. Beat the egg white in a small bowl with a fork until slightly frothy. Roll tablespoon or 1-ounce portions of dough into balls. Dip each ball in the reserved egg white and then roll it around in coconut to coat. Place coated cookie dough balls on prepared baking sheet and press your thumb into the top of each one to make an indentation. Spoon about ½ teaspoon of jam into each indentation and bake until coconut is golden brown, 15-18 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack too cool.

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