Saturday, 4 January 2014

Brooklyn Apricot Jam Drops (Dairy-Free)

The recipe for today makes my travel bug itch.  Through my years at university I have spent many holidays travelling, with many trips to the USA, in particular New York City.  This one is from a wonderful bakery in Brooklyn, NYC called One Girl Cookies.  I stumbled into this one-stop cookie shop on my second trip to NYC in the Fall of 2012 when I got lost trying to find my train station.  It was cold and the funky wall decor, aroma of coffee and friendly faces welcomed me in.  I got 3 different cookies, the "Penelope" (Apricot Jam-Filled Almond Butter Cookies), the "Alice" (Decadent Chocolate Coins) and a Chocolate Whoopie Pie.  I loved the cafe - but I didn't live in Brooklyn so my visits back here and across the bridge were limited.

Christmas rolled around and I organised with some friends to do a present swap.  Five of us were all living or travelling all over the world, away from our families and I thought it would be nice to have something underneath our trees to open come Christmas morning (my first real tree! It's usually a little hot in Australia and they drop their needles a little too soon).  So come Christmas morning I was absolutely overjoyed that a friend had found the One Girl Cookie cookbook in a remote little bookstore in Melbourne, Australia and had sent it all the way to me without even realising that the cafe was in 'ma hood' (well, across the bridge...).

I have been loving recreating all their wonderful, easy to follow recipes and tweaking them a little to what I have in my pantry.  Today we have the "Penelope" - however these guys are dairy-free and a little different with Australian ingredients!

Even now I'm working out plans to travel overseas again and I'm sure somewhere along the way I will make my way back to One Girl Cookies in Dumbo, Brooklyn.

1 3/4 cups of plain flour
Good pinch of salt
1 cup (225g) of Nutellex
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 organic egg yolks
1 tsp of vanilla bean paste (though extract/essence is completely fine)
1/2 cup whole raw almonds
1/3 cup of walnuts
1 cup of good quality apricot jam

* In a large mixing bowl sieve the flour and salt together and set aside.
* In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or hand beater), beat together the brown sugar and Nutellex on a medium speed until the mixture is pale and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Add the egg yolks one at a time followed by the vanilla and mix on a medium speed for 1 minute.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture.  Remove bowl from mixer, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.  This recipe does not contain the usual butter so it is not as vital to refrigerate as the mixture will remain sticky, doing so just makes it a little easier to roll into balls.
* Preheat oven to 180 degrees.  Place almonds and walnuts on a baking tray covered with baking paper and roast for 10 minutes or until golden and fragrant.  Remove from oven and leave to cool.  Once cooled chop nuts until just thicker than almond meal.  I like doing this process by hand as it gives the cookies a different texture, however, blitzing them in a food processor is a faster option.
* Remove the dough from the refrigerator.  Using approximately 1 1/2 teaspoons of mixture roll into small balls using your hands.  Dip each ball into the chopped nut mixture and then place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.  Space each cookie approximately 2 1/2cm apart.
* Using the tip of your ring finger, make an indentation into the middle of each cookie, pushing almost through to the baking tray.
* Bake the cookies for approximately 10 minutes or until starting to golden.  Remove baking tray from oven and using two spoons carefully spoon small amounts of jam into the indentation holes in the cookies.  Return cookies to oven for approximately 4 minutes or until golden.  Then remove again from oven and cool completely on tray before transferring to a wire cooling rack.

Fresh out of the oven.

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