Blackberry Jam Sandwiches with Lemon Icing {ModBak}

This week’s Modern Baker Challenge recipe was, indeed, a challenge for me. Although Kayte, the official baker for this recipe in the Cookies, Bars, & Biscotti section, reported great success with these cookies, mine didn’t work out so smoothly. I’m sure at least part of the problem was my attitude going into it. I’m not a fan of fussy cookies, and with the mixing, chilling, rolling, cutting, filling, and icing required, these definitely fall into the fussy category.

My problems began with the dough. It only has six ingredients — butter, sugar, vanilla extract, lemon extract, egg yolks, and flour — and I mixed it precisely according to the instructions. The dough came out OK, although it seemed a bit on the dry side. It had to be chilled for at least an hour or two before rolling, although the recipe notes that it can be refrigerated for up to three days.

My dough sat in the fridge for about two days until I was ready to roll it out. Kayte reported that the dough was easy to work with and rolled out without tearing or breaking. As soon as my dough hit the board, I knew I had a problem. My dough was dry and crumbly, and neither pressing it nor letting it rest at room temperature seemed to help. I managed to press out enough dough to cut nine cookies.

The cookies baked up nicely, and while they were in the oven, I melted and reduced the blackberry jam to use as filling for the finished cookies. By the time the cookies were cool enough to assemble, the filling had set and needed to be rewarmed. In reheating the jam, I overreduced it. It was liquid enough to spread on the cookies, and the assembly was easy enough. Unfortunately, when the filling cooled, it was gummy and slightly bitter from having been overcooked.

The final piece to these cookies was a simple lemon icing made of confectioner’s sugar, lemon juice, and water. Easy enough to make, it is then drizzled over the top of the cookies. Because I ended up with fewer cookies than the recipe called for, I cut the icing down quite a bit. In doing so, it came out too thick to drizzle. After trying, and failing, to make nice streaks of icing on the cookies, I spread it on with the back of a spoon. It turned out to be a bit too much icing, although it did counter the gumminess of the jam a bit.

Overall, these were good cookies. And while I know what I did wrong with the jam filling and lemon icing, I’m still not sure what happened to the cookie dough. I’ll be making the chocolate sandwich cookies and raspberry linzer disks in the next few weeks, both of which employ a very similar dough and the same chilling-and-rolling method. It will be kind of like getting a do-over on the cookie dough and a chance for me to see if I can figure out what went wrong this time around.


  1. Kayte said,

    May 3, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Wow, those look great…I love all that icing (drizzling is just a cop out in my opinion…now these have decent amounts of icing on them!). They were a bit fussy, not an every day cookie, but I will be making them again for cookie trays over the holidays as they were delicious…and pretty. I didn’t leave my dough in the frig as long as you did and I had great luck with it…I think that the frig dries doughs out and I’m not a fan of leaving them in there very long. Hope it works better if you make them again as I loved the dough, it was easy for me to work with and it tasted great. Nice photo!

    • gaaarp said,

      May 4, 2012 at 9:50 am

      The dough was definitely too dry. I might not have worked it sufficiently before chilling it. At least I think that was the issue with the chocolate sandwich cookie dough, which was really similar to this one.

      I’ll make you a deal: I’ll teach you to braid dough, and you can teach me how to make these fussy cookies.

  2. nancyo said,

    April 23, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    I’m with you on the fuss-factor; it always sours my attitude a bit too. But I solve it by leaving off things like icing, which I think is too sweet on cookies in most cases. Your cookies look great, though, and I love the combination of flavors; blackberry anything is appealing to me.

    • gaaarp said,

      April 24, 2012 at 7:19 pm

      Thanks. They were pretty good, depite all the problems. Now that I’m near the end of the Cookies section, I’m wishing I had gone out of order and made some of these fussy cookies earlier.

  3. Abby said,

    April 23, 2012 at 10:11 am

    You can’t tell it from the picture…they look delicious! The Viennese punch cookie dough and I didn’t get along all that well either, although mine was too sticky. Wonder if the weather is playing a part? We had a very wet and rainy weekend.

    • gaaarp said,

      April 24, 2012 at 7:18 pm

      I’m not sure. The only thing I could come up with was maybe my butter was too low in moisture content, It had been frozen, so maybe that had something to do with it. But I’ve never had a problem with it before.

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