Christmas Cookies: Souvaroffs (Butter Cookies with Jam)

Raspberry, Peach, Strawberry ... all  fruits from our garden. Photo by Sue Frause.

Farmer Bob was wfh on Friday. If you don't know that secret code, it simply means working from home. We have dueling offices across the hall from each other, but pretty much stay out of each other's zone, except when it's time for a lunch break (BLT's) or when I get snack happy. 

Yesterday was unseasonably warm and rainy, and by mid-afternoon I was dreaming of cookies. My main goal when spontaneous cookie baking is not to have to go to the store -- meaning our cupboards determine what sweet treats would pop out of the oven. We had Jif Peanut Butter, but PB Cookies didn't strike a chord. Snickerdoodles? One of my favorites, but I was hoping for a simple drop cookie. Chocolate Chip Cookies were out, since we were out of Nestle Chocolate Morsels. And so were Oatmeal Cookies, as the Old Fashioned Quaker Oats cylinder had but a scant 1/2 cup at the bottom. So I returned to my office with visions of warm cookies from the oven, and the next thing I knew, Farmer Bob was in the kitchen creating magic. 

Bob isn't really a cookie maker, that's always been in my camp. So I was surprised when he picked out a somewhat difficult recipe from The Gourmet Cookie Book (The Single Best Recipe From Each Year: 1941-2009). He knows how much I love the store-bought Pepperidge Farm Thumbprint Cookies filled with jam, so he went with Souvaroffs (Butter Cookies with Jam). According to, their name is derived from that of Count Alexander von Souvarov (1729-1800), a field marshal and epicure. The cookies are popular in the teahouses of Europe. Here's how Gourmet describes them in the introduction:
"The magazine's recipe format changed once again in 1984. Now the ingredients were lined up as a kind of shopping list that you could check before you began to cook. The directions changed too, into the terse language that we now consider de rigueur for recipes. This recipe belonged to Gourmet contributor Lillian Langseth-Christensen. Known as Liesl, she was an extraordinary writer and designer as well as a talented baker. She lived in a hunting lodge outside Vienna, where she developed recipes using American ingredients that she bought at the PX at a nearby US military base. We have hundreds of her recipes, but we particularly like these buttery treats filled with apricot or strawberry jam. A little rum in the dough sets off its tangy sweetness."

If you don't have the cookbook (featuring 69 cookies), the recipe is available online --  ready to print out.  Bob's Baking Tip: "Keep cookie dough as cold as possible at all times. After rolling out half the dough between two sheets of parchment paper, place on baking sheet and put in fridge to chill at least 30 minutes. Remove from fridge and cut shapes while still cold, so you can easily transfer the cut cookies to the cookie sheet. Do the same for the other half of the dough, cutting holes out of the center." 


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