This cookie recipe has been in my family for at least half a century, and we made them (religiously!) as a family each holiday season while I was growing up. We took them to friends’ homes as hostess gifts and brought them to festive holiday school functions. In fact, these cookies were coveted by all my friends and neighbors when I was young. Every year, about this time, I would repeatedly get asked, “Has your family made the star cookies yet?”
These cookies are delicate, buttery and delicious and look beautiful–even when presented on a paper plate. They are essentially shortbread cookies sandwiched together using a little raspberry jam. The recipe is my mom’s, but I’m not certain where she originally came across it. She used to refuse to give out the recipe, but since she herself no longer makes them, and since she doesn’t regularly read my blog…
Sadly, the cookies do not fall under the category “healthy and nutritious,” but since I believe in regular treats (see Sweet Sundays)–especially if one has been eating healthy food most of the time, I just had to share this recipe.
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup evaporated cane juice (or other granulated sugar)
2 cups all-purpose (or pastry) flour
1/8 tsp salt
Quality raspberry preserve (jam)
3/4 cup powdered sugar (“confectioners”)
2-3 tbsp milk
In a medium-size mixing bowl, cream butter. Add in granulated sugar. Beat in flour and salt until blended. Form into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350F.
On a lightly-floured work surface, use your hand to slightly flatten out the chilled cookie dough. Roll out the dough until it’s quite thin–1/8 inch is best. Avoid overworking the dough as it will “toughen” your cookie. Using a lightly-floured, star-shaped cookie cutter (with or without the ruffled edge), cut out your stars and place them on a lightly oiled or parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat until you’ve used up all the dough. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the edges turn slightly golden. Let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.
While the cookies are baking, mix the powdered sugar with a little of the milk in a small bowl. Beat vigorously to blend. Mix in a little more of the milk until you have a smooth, easily spreadable icing. Set aside.
Once all the cookies have been baked and cooled, you are ready to begin assembly! This is the part my children love most. Divide the cookies into two even batches–the best looking (i.e., most even cut) on one side. Put a small–a scant 1/4 tsp of raspberry jam on one of the “not best looking” cookies. Carefully ice one of the best looking and gently press it down on the jammed one. Using a tiny spoon and a toothpick or small fingertip, add a small dot of jam to the top cookie, right in the middle. Voila! You have a delicious, beautiful, non-denominational holiday cookie.
These cookies keep well for several days in an airtight container. In fact, some people think they taste even better on day 2 or 3 when the flavors have blended together more.
May your holidays be merry and bright!