Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Post 2: Visions of Plum


You know when something could've gone so wrong--maybe even had been going wrong all day--but then you turn it around at the last minute? That's what yesterday was and that's what these cookies are, too.

I'd been planning to cook something sweet and Christmasy to take to work for a while, and of course I procrastinated until the hectic day before Christmas Eve. My feet hurt from heels at work, Wal-Mart was insanely crowded and to top it off, it was 75 degrees on Christmas Eve eve. BUT! My sweet friend Jennifer swooped in with an amazing delivery just in time to brighten the day.

AN ADORABLE CAT PRINT APRON!!! I'm already obsessed with it! We Facetime'd as I opened it and as I told her, this apron kicked my little striped apron's ass--just like that.

Jennifer is a long lost college friend of mine. We worked on the school newspaper together for years which meant lots of late stressful production nights spent laughing hysterically at things that weren't even funny--we had just lost it from being up until 3 a.m. Then we both graduated and ended up in completely different corners of the country. She got married, moved to Washington and landed a boss position with Xbox and I came to Savannah to get my M.F.A. It had been so long since we'd spoken to one another, so we decided to continue Facetime-ing while I baked and she cooked a fancy Christmas dinner for her and her hubby. She told me about her life, what she'd gotten her family members for Christmas, and what she was cooking. We laughed about my horrid dough rolling skills and the questionable temperature of her ham. And just like that, my day went from humdrum to perfect.

By the way, you should definitely check out Jennifer's blog, The Golden Days. She writes about adventures in her new town, her family, her writing process and other delightful musings. I also plan to update this post with pictures from her Christmas dinner--so be sure to check back later!

Now, let's get to what I was baking:
Sugar cookie bowls filled with red plum jam and cheesecake filling! These cookies were a challenge for a few reasons. One, the first time I tried to make cup shaped cookies, the dough fell apart after only 3 minutes in the over. More on that in the recipe. Two, you'll notice the recipe calls for strawberry jam, not plum. I guess the rage from having to navigate a buggy through a crowded aisle, temporarily relieved me from the ability to read. I didn't realize it until I'd gotten home though, so red plum it was. Three, my mixer is a JOKE so I had to stir my cheesecake filling by hand. Not only does it take FOREVER to combine squares of cream cheese and sour cream until "mixed well" when stirring by hand, but at the end of the day, your cheesecake filling will probably still be a little lumpy.

But I'm happy say I stuck it out through two batches of cookies and ended up more than happy with the results! The cookies ended up being delicious and all my time was worth it--just like that.

Cookie dough ingredients:
14.1 ounces all purpose flour
4.4 ounces confectioners’ sugar
7 ounces butter
1 egg
pinch of salt

Cheesecake filling ingredients:
3.5 ounces sour cream
7 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3.5 ounces sweetened condensed milk
2 tbs lemon juice
strawberry jam

1. Mix together all cookie dough ingredients to form a ball.
2. Roll the ball out between two baking papers.
3. Cut out circles and drape one circle over each bowl cavity of pan, pressing to form smooth surface. (This method did NOT work for me. My cookies started coming apart after just 3 minutes in the oven! Instead, I placed my circles inside of the cupcake cavities, just like you with cupcakes. It made for a smaller opening in which to place the filling, but at least they were cups!)
4. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven and let them cool.
5. Prepare cheese filling. Mix sweetened condensed milk, sour cream and cream cheese until combined.
6. Add lemon juice and mix well.
7. Place 1 teaspoon strawberry jam on every cookie bowl, then fill with cheese cream.
8. Keep in the fridge until set (I left mine over night, but it should only take about 4 hours).

Happy baking, everybody!
-Ariel

PS-Look forward to another quick Christmas favorite early tomorrow morning!

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