Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Oatmeal Shortbread

When I was a junior in college, I spent a semester abroad in London. I have many incredible memories from that time, among them, the digestive biscuits that I consumed with great gusto. There were many varieties I enjoyed, but one of my favorites was a thin, unassuming oaty biscuit that was somewhere between a cookie and a cracker - might they be called Hob Nobs? - that was barely sweet, and had a wonderful nubby, crumbly texture. With the first bite I took of this shortbread, I immediately thought of those lovely cookies.

This is unlike any other shortbread I've ever had. Usually characterized by its buttery melt-in-your-mouth texture, this version is less refined and a little more homey in its appearance, but it loses nothing in flavor. It is actually very similar to the Sbrisolona I made a few months ago in many respects despite the fact that it contains no nuts - the signature of Sbrisolona. The oats add a fantastic flakiness to the shortbread, making it at the same time light, soft, crispy and crumbly.

I love the fact that there is so little sugar in this recipe, as I'm quite fond of desserts that are subtly sweet. My little ones haven't tasted it yet, but I feel sure they'll approve.

Oatmeal Shortbread
adapted from Pastry Studio

1 cup white wheat flour
1/2 cup whole rolled oats + some for dusting
1/3 cup palm sugar + some for dusting
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into several chunks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325. Butter an 8" spring-form cake pan or tart pan. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, oats, palm sugar and salt. Pulse a few times to combine. Add butter and vanilla and process until dough forms a ball. Press dough evenly in prepared pan, and sprinkle with a light layer of oats and palm sugar. Bake for about an hour, or until shortbread has taken on a deep golden color. Let cool on rack for 10 minutes, then remove sides of pan, and cut shortbread with a sharp knife while still warm.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Chocolate Babka

It is so exciting to discover delicious new treats. Until recently, my only frame of reference for a babka was a vague recollection of a Seinfeld episode. I also kind of knew that they were something served on Easter. Then a while back I saw a photo of a chocolate babka on Tastespotting, and I haven't been able to get it out of my head ever since.

Since Easter is coming up, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to give this decadent yeast treat a shot. Turns out, what I made is more of a Jewish babka and not the Easter type, but oh well... It is incredibly delicious, and there is no reason it couldn't still be part of your Easter spread!

For some reason, I had a feeling that I would be able to find a fantastic babka recipe on Smitten Kitchen. Maybe because Deb lives in NYC, I don't know. Regardless, I was right. Boy, was I right. I hit the babka jackpot. However, when reading through the recipe, I discovered that it made 3 loaves of this rich chocolate bread. I have no need for even one loaf, and only certain insanity would prompt me to bake three. Looking at the quantities, it is not a recipe that lends itself easily to scaling down, but I knew it was the one I wanted to try so I went ahead and did the math. A scale will be helpful for this recipe, but you can still make the babka if you don't have one. You'll just have to estimate the partial eggs.

So, what is so special about this bread? Where to start...

The actual bread element is soft, tender, creamy, sweet, not at all dry. Actually, I think it would make a better base for the St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake than the one in the recipe, as it is similar in texture but much less dry.

In almost equal proportion to the bread is chocolate. Dark, decadent, beautiful chocolate. This bread is most definitely not for the faint of heart. Even in the scaled recipe there is close to a pound of chocolate.

The less dominant flavor in the bread is cinnamon. I enjoy the combination of chocolate and cinnamon, but was unsure of the almost alarming quantity of cinnamon this recipe called for. I was afraid it would be overpowering. It was actually quite complimentary, though it is a distinguishable flavor.

To finish off this already over-the-top loaf is a streusel topping - which despite slightly resembling cauliflower, is delicious. I have never met a streusel I didn't like, and this was no exception. It is made with powdered sugar, which makes it quite crunchy when baked, and offers a wonderful counterpoint to the soft bread and rich creamy chocolate.

Before you make this babka, be warned; it has many elements and takes a good chunk of time. It is, however, completely worth it.

Make sure you read through this recipe thoroughly before starting out. As I mentioned, it was slightly strange to scale, so some of the quantities are odd. In addition, there are a lot of steps. This one requires a little more attention than your average recipe.

Chocolate Babka
adapted from Martha Stewart via Smitten Kitchen

1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/3 + 1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg divided (33.3 grams - 2/3 egg, 16.67 grams - 1/3 egg)
12 grams egg yolk
2 cups unbleached white flour*
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons unsalted butter
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon cream

*depending on the consistency of your dough, you may need more flour. I had to add almost an entire additional cup to mine.

Heat milk to 100-110 degrees. Pour into a small bowl, and add yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in another small bowl, combine 1/4 cup of the sugar, 33.3 grams of egg (that's 2/3 of an egg) and the egg yolk. Add egg mixture to yeast mixture, and whisk to combine. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, stir together flour and salt. Add wet ingredients and mix on low until the flour is almost incorporated. Change to dough hook. Add 5 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon butter to mixer. Beat on medium until dough is smooth and soft, and slightly sticky. If your dough is too sticky, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time until it is the right consistency. Butter a large bowl, form dough into a ball and roll around the bowl to coat it with butter. Cover bowl with plastic and set in a warm place until doubled in size, about and hour. Meanwhile, make the chocolate filling. Place remaining sugar and butter in a medium sized bowl, and using your fingers or a pastry cutter, combine them until well incorporated. Add chocolate and toss with your fingers until completely blended (though there will of course still be chocolate chunks of different sizes). Butter a 9" x 5" loaf pan. Beat remaining egg (remember, this is 1/3 of an egg) with cream. Turn dough out on a well-floured board. Roll to a square about 16" x 16". Brush edges with the egg-wash, and sprinkle all but 2 tablespoons of the chocolate over the dough, leaving a 1/4 inch border. Roll dough tightly into a log. Pinch seam closed, pinch ends together. Twist 5 or 6 times, and lay twisted log out straight on your board. Brush the left half of log with egg-wash, and sprinkle with remaining chocolate. Fold the right side over the left, making sure your chocolate stays in place. Fold ends under, and pinch closed. Twist your doubled log two times, and place in prepared pan. Brush the top of log with egg-wash, and sprinkle with streusel (recipe below). Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and let it sit in a warm place for 20-30 minutes while you preheat the oven to 350.

Bake until golden, about 55 minutes, then turn oven down to 325 and bake for about 15-20 minutes more, until the loaf is deep golden. Cool in pan on rack. Wait until babka is completely cool before cutting.

Struesel Topping

1/3 cup + 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons unbleached white flour
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

Combine all ingredients. Using your fingers, mix until completely incorporated. Crumble, so that there are chunks ranging greatly in size.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract is one of those things that never occured to me to make at home. Then around the holidays last year, posts started cropping up all over the food blog world, and I had to give it a try. It makes so much sense. I buy strictly organic, fair trade vanilla extract and it isn't cheap; upwards of $11 for a 2oz bottle. For just a few dollars more, I made 1 1/2 pints of my own!

The one drawback to making your own vanilla extract is that it takes time. A couple months of time. This process is not for the impatient; I nearly went crazy waiting on mine to be ready! It is really fun, however, to watch the liquid turn from crystal clear to deep amber over those long, long weeks. But now that it's ready I love opening the jar, taking a whiff, dunking my measuring spoon in the seemingly bottomless well, pouring it in the mixing bowl and licking the spoon. Yes, licking the spoon. It seems almost too decadent to have such an abundance of vanilla extract, and I love it. I'll never go back to store bought.

Homemade Vanilla Extract
adapted from Simply Recipes

1/2 pint jar with tight-fitting lid
3 vanilla beans
vodka (I've also heard of people using rum. I used Rain organic vodka)

Split vanilla beans from end to end with a sharp knife, leaving the ends connected and place in jar. Fill jar with vodka, covering vanilla beans completely. Screw lid on tight. Give the jar a good shake. Place in a cool dark place, and shake it every few days. In about 8 weeks, your vanilla extract will be ready to use! You can keep filling the jar with vodka as you use your vanilla, shake the jar a few times a week and you'll never have to buy vanilla again!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake

I grew up in a small town in southeast Iowa, a mere 5 hour drive from St. Louis, a city I visited several times over the years. Why then, had I never heard of a St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake until recently?

The first time I saw this cake was a few months ago - soon after it was published in the New York Times. It was the name that got me; how could anything with the words "gooey" and "butter" in it be a bad thing. So descriptive, so evocative, yet so mysterious... What in the world was this gooey butter cake?! I had to find out. After reading more about it I knew I had to make it. However things came up, as things tend to do, and I forgot about it. Until Deb made it recently. Seeing hers made me fairly obsessed, and I knew I wouldn't be able to get it out of my mind until I was taking it out of my oven. Yesterday was the day. The day I finally got around to baking this oh-so-ugly, yet oh-so-tasty cake.

This cake starts with a layer of lightly sweetened brioche-like yeasted dough, and is topped with something gooey, buttery, rich, butterscotch-flavored, delicious. When put together, they create a treat very reminiscent of a cinnamon roll - though there is actually no cinnamon in the recipe... The cake itself is tasty, though not spectacular - it is far out-shined by the gooey topping, which is out of this world. It would be amazing on a shortbread crust. The yeast cake is a little on the dry side, but I think if the quantity of the gooey topping was doubled it would off-set the dryness. It should be noted that my cake is darker than the other gooey butter cakes out there, as I sweetened it with palm sugar.

St. Louis Gooey Butter Cake
adapted from The New York Times

Cake Layer:
3-5 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons water
1 3/4 tablespoons instant yeast
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons palm sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 3/4 cups unbleached white flour

Gooey Topping:
3 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon agave (I used amber)
2 tablespoons water
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups palm sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 cup + 3 tablespoons unbleached white flour

Make the Cake:
Butter a 9x13 baking pan, set aside. Combine water and 3 tablespoons of milk in a small saucepan, and heat until it reaches about 90 degrees. Pour into a small bowl, and add yeast. Whisk to combine. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, palm sugar and salt. Beat in egg. Add 1/3 of the flour, then half of the yeast/milk mixture, stirring to combine with each addition. Repeat for a total of 3 flour additions and 2 milk additions. Beat dough on medium speed until it is smooth and pulls away from sides of bowl, about 7-10 minutes. At this point, if the dough seems too dry, add the additional milk. The dough should be a bit loose and slightly sticky to the touch. Press dough evenly into your prepared baking pan. Cover with kitchen towel and set in a warm place until dough has doubled. About 2 1/2 - 3 hours. Towards the end of the rise, preheat oven to 350.

Make Gooey Topping:
In a small bowl, combine agave, water and vanilla. Set aside. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar, and salt until light and fluffy. Add egg, and beat until combined. Add flour in three additions alternating with agave mixture in two additions. Stir until just combined. Spoon topping over risen dough, and spread as gently and evenly as possible. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Cake will not be flat when baked - it will have hills and valleys all over the surface. It will not be attractive. Top will be deep golden, and center will still be liquid when done. Cool in pan before cutting. Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar, if desired.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

TWD: Dulce de Leche Duos (and my 1 year blogiversary!)

Look at this; it is Tuesday, and I'm actually posting the TWD treat on its appointed day & week!!! Miracles do happen...

So, today is my one year blogiversary... I had big plans... They didn't so much work out... Now I'm left with these horrible photos of some insanely delicious cookies - I can't wait until I get my camera back from being repaired!!!

I always had a lot of interests growing up, and not to toot my own horn, but I was pretty good at everything I tried, so I was always a little confused about what I should do when I grew up. Through the confusion, however, there was always one thing I could unequivocally tell you I would never be: a writer. Writing was always something that I found to be very stressful - unless it was a completely impersonal essay. Those I could crank out by the dozens. I don't know that I consider myself to be a writer, but I do write on a regular basis, and that is certainly something I never thought I would do. Even more surprising is that I actually enjoy it. Love it, in fact.

When I started this blog, I don't know that I ever expected anyone to read it. It still surprises and delights me when I look at the number of hits I've gotten on a given day or week, and the locations from across the globe that I get visitors from.

Having a food blog is one of the most satisfying endeavors I've ever taken on. There are so many stages of activity; finding a recipe, creating the food, photographing it, of course eating it, writing about it, and then waiting a bit for that little piece of yourself to make its way into other people's homes and see how they react to your offering.

The food blogging community is overwhelmingly supportive, accepting, giving. It is something I am incredible proud to be a part of.

All of the interests I have had throughout my life have to do with creating things. When I was 8, I had my first business with a friend. It was called Eternal Light, and we made custom candles and jewelry that we sold to our teachers and classmates. We even had business cards. I've knitted since I was six, cooked from about the same age, taken photographs, done darkroom work, and then for many years I performed. I sang, I danced, I acted. I even studied this in college. Every one of these things from beading to singing was a form of expression, a creative outlet, something that made me who I am.

I had my first son in 2006, when I was 26, and I became so consumed with being a parent that I stopped doing things for myself. I stopped creating. Then came marriage problems, then another baby, throw in a new business and you've got a big stressful mess with no room for anything else. Not to mention, there was never a time that I actually had two hands free to create anything with... Then one day, I looked at my friend Teanna's Facebook page, and saw a link with a funny name and I thought I'd check it out. I was led to Spork or Foon, Teanna's witty, hilarious and beautifully photographed food blog. Her blog led me to discover Tuesdays with Dorie, and a number of other blogs that I love and visit on a regular basis. I toyed with the idea of starting my own, but felt self-conscious about putting myself out there in that way. Then one year ago today I took the dive, and I couldn't be happier about having made that decision.

I have emerged from a several-year funk through having this blog. I have once again found an outlet that is satisfying and nourishing and brings me a sense of purpose aside from being a parent to the two sweetest boys I could ever ask for.

Thank you to everyone who reads my little blog, to everyone who has ever left a comment, a word of encouragement. It means so much to me.

Through this transition into being a single parent, I am trying to find my way back to baking and blogging more. I have less time now, so I have to be more efficient in everything I do. I'm working on it.

In case all you want is to hear what I thought of these cookies, here it is: I have wanted someone to pick these cookies for months. Ever since I first noticed them in the book. Especially after I made dulce de leche for the first time. I was so excited to see them on the March schedule. I baked the first batch, and honestly, wasn't wowed. I used the amount of dough Dorie recommended, and the cookies spread like crazy, and they were just too big, and too soft. So I made them half the size and baked them for a little longer. Magic.

My first thought when biting into one of these cookies was sugar. It was like eating rich caramel-y sugar. Three textures of sugar to be more precise; the center is creamy and gooey, then there is the outside of the cookie which forms a crispy sugary crust when baked, and the inside of the cookie which is dense, chewy, soft. These are amazing. And dangerous. Oh, so dangerous. If you know what's good for you, you won't make them. But if you do, triple the amount of salt in the recipe, it is rather salt-poor (1/4 teaspoon), and needs that extra bit to help off-set some of the sweetness. Even tripled, the cookies aren't salty.

This cookie was chosen by Jodie of Beansy Loves Cake. The recipe can be found on her blog.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

TWD: Pistachio & Sicilian Orange Thumbprints

I know, I know, I'm almost two weeks late here... This is the cookie that all of the other TWDers baked week before last, and I really didn't want to skip it. I have a cookbook that has pistachio thumbprints filled with rose petal jam, and I was planning on that combo, but when I opened my rose petal jam, it had mold in it... The only other jam I had was Sicilian Orange. I was skeptical at first about combining it with the pistachios, but in the end it was a fantastic choice. These are some seriously delicious cookies.

Please, no fried egg comments, I know what my little cookies resemble... You'll have to forgive them their appearance, because they really are something special. The Sicilian Orange jam has an almost bitter tartness that plays beautifully off of the creamy sweet pistachios. The cookie is a soft nutty shortbread that almost melts in your mouth. I had to get them out of the house promptly, because I found myself gobbling up one after another. After another...

I'm going to have to make these again one day soon using palm sugar, because I know my boys would be crazy for them, too. I didn't use palm sugar this time because the jam I was planning on using had sugar in it...

The only thing I might do differently next time is to leave out the almond extract and see what that does. Though there isn't a lot, it is a prominent - though tasty - flavor, and I'd like to see how the cookie is affected by removing it. Other than that, these are wonderful.

So, thanks so much to Mike of Ugly Food for an Ugly Dude for picking this fantastic cookie for us all to bake! The recipe is on his blog.

And with this, I'm really hoping to be back into the TWD swing of things, I've missed it the past few weeks!

The next TWD treat on the agenda is Dulce de Leche duos. Stay tuned, you won't want to miss this one!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

200th Post!!! Outrageous Bittersweet Chocolate Chunk Cookies

While I haven't been here as much as I've wanted to lately, I can hardly believe that this is my 200th post! I have always been the type of person that gets incredibly excited about things, does them for a short while, than loses interest. The fact that blogging has become more fulfilling over the last (almost) year is just amazing to me. The food blogging community is truly an incredible thing to be a part of.

These cookies are perhaps the most chocolatey thing I've ever eaten. I've eaten a whole lot of chocolate in my time, so that's really saying something. They are dense, have a brownie-like crust, and are so full of chocolate chunks that they melt in your mouth. In fact, as I was adding the chocolate to the batter, I had a hard time telling which element there was more of.

The batter is supremely easy to make (though is not quite as lightning quick as these lovelies) and could be made gluten free by replacing the flour with cocoa powder.

My mom is probably the toughest baked goods critic around, and she dubbed these the best chocolate cookies she had ever eaten. She said they were better than World Peace Cookies. Better than World Peace Cookies?! Now I don't know that I'm willing to go that far, but they are at least equally as good. They are unbelievable.

Outrageous Bittersweet Chocolate Chunk Cookies
adapted from Martha Stewart

8 ounces roughly chopped bittersweet chocolate
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
heaping 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chip-sized pieces

Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment, set aside. In a heat-proof bowl placed over a pot of simmering water, melt the 8 ounces of chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on high until pale and thick, about 3 minutes. Turn mixer to low and add melted chocolate in a thin stream until combined. Add flour mixture and stir until just combined. Using a rubber spatula, fold in chocolate chunks. Drop heaping tablespoons of batter on prepared cookie sheet, 2-3 inches apart. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until cookies are dry and cracked but still soft in the center. Cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer on parchment to cooling rack. Repeat with remaining batter. If you want your cookies to be the most attractive, spoon all of the batter out while it is still warm. As it cools it will harden, resulting in a slightly thicker cookie with a little less of a crust. These photos are all cookies made from warm batter.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Lemon Upside Down Cake

Upside down cakes have got to be one of the greatest categories of baked goods. I mean, what is not to like about a cake that has a caramel-like crust, tender fruit and a moist base, made, baked and served in less than an hour.

It is strange to me, but until recently I never thought there were possibilities beyond a pineapple upside down cake. What a world of deliciousness I have been missing!!! I mean, I do love a good pineapple upside downer, but there are so many other cakes to be eaten! I love this apple upside down cake more than words can say, and I think pear would be equally delicious. I recently saw a banana version somewhere - which I'm dying to try - and this lemon cake is just heavenly. Heavenly!

I made this a few days ago for my boys, and it is perhaps their favorite thing I've ever baked. They didn't like the lemons on top - granted, they are rather tart - and took them off, but I love those lemons. With baking they become tender, chewy, and soaked with (palm) sugar and butter, turning them into a sort of heightened candied lemon peel that I would gladly eat sans cake.

The cake itself, however, is fantastic and not to be skipped over. Incredibly moist, fluffy crumb, lemony. I wasn't sure about the flavors of palm sugar and lemon together, but I wanted my kids to have a treat so I went ahead with it. I'm so glad I did, because the deep, rich palm sugar pairs beautifully with the tangy, light, zippy lemon. If you've never had palm sugar, it's worth seeking out (despite its hefty price tag), because it really adds an extra dimension to baking, plus it has a glycemic index of only 35. I have an exciting palm-sugar related announcement that I'll be telling you about soon. I would like to figure out how to make a cake that had a larger portion of the crunchy sugary edges that upside down cakes naturally have - perhaps an upside down cake minus any fruit? Hmm, I may have to try this out... Or a smaller pan... Or both! I'll let you know how it turns out.

Lemon Upside Down Cake
adapted from Luscious Lemon Desserts by Lori Longbotham

2 medium lemons
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened, divided
1 1/4 cup palm sugar, divided
1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk

Preheat oven to 350. Wash lemons, cut ends off, and slice as thinly as possible - 1/8" thick or less. Discard seeds. In a 10" cast iron (or other) skillet, melt 1/4 cup of butter with 1/4 cup palm sugar, stirring until palm sugar is dissolved. When mixture begins to boil, arrange lemon slices in an attractive pattern (though it may be disrupted by the batter) and continue to boil for one minute once the lemons are all in place. You don't need to worry about using all of the slices you cut, but the entire bottom of the pan should be covered - it is okay if they overlap. After one minute, remove skillet from heat and set aside while you prepare the batter. Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a medium-sized bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the remaining 1/2 cup butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the rest of the palm sugar (1 cup) and lemon zest and beat until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating until well combined. Stir in vanilla. With mixer on low, add 1/3 of the flour mixture, followed by 1/2 of the milk, stirring each time until just combined. Repeat with remaining flour and milk. Spoon batter over lemons in skillet, and smooth as evenly as you can. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until top of cake is golden and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for 10 minutes in skillet, then invert onto a heat-proof plate/cake stand. If you let the cake cool completely, it is much easier to cut through the lemon slices using a very thin serrated knife. It is delicious warm, however, so serve it as you will.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Almond Butter Thumbprints

I'm always trying to create new treats that I think my boys will enjoy. Sometimes I fail miserably, but sometimes I hit upon a winner. These cookies are a serious winner.

Though I had the idea about a year ago, it took me until last month to make a peanut butter cookie with almond butter. I've now made them three times in two weeks, and my little ones can't get enough. These are some of the easiest and simplest cookies I've ever made, and their taste far outshines their appearance.

These humble little cookies may not be pretty, but they are fantastic. They are full of almond flavor, which pairs beautifully with palm sugar; the chunky almond butter gives the cookies a wonderful nubby texture, and the cookies are satisfyingly dense. The dab of jam lightens them up and provides a lovely counterpoint to the richness from the nut butter. I can't get enough of them either!

Don't be alarmed if the dough seems greasy, they won't bake up that way.

Almond Butter Thumbprints

1 cup almond butter
1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 4 tablespoons, 2 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup palm sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup unbleached white flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment, set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the almond butter, butter and palm sugar until fluffy. Add egg, and beat until combined. Stir in vanilla. Add flour, baking soda and salt, and mix until just combined. Form dough into balls about 1 inch in diameter, or 1 ounce each. Flatten ball into disk, and form a small well in the center with a fingertip. Place disks 1 1/2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Spoon a dollop of jam - I use sugar-free fruit spread, use what you like - into each well you've created. About 1/2 teaspoon should do. Bake cookies for 12-14 minutes, or until very lightly browned. Cool completely on baking sheet.

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