Nana played Judy Garland at Christmas, exclusively. She played Judy and danced in the kitchen, a soft shoe. When we made cookies, she crooned, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and when I complained that it wasn’t even a Christmas song, she tsked and spun me around and powdered sugar sprung from my shirt and she said, “Some songs are for always.”
Nana was my song for always.
I have a theory that this time of year is so alluring because of all those damn twinkle lights. It’s definitely a solid draw. That and the smell of slowly cooking sugar.
I love these cookies. I love them. They are the twinkle lights of cookies. They remind me of being young and standing in the bakery next to my mother. If I was lucky, she’d buy me a Linzer tart, one of the big ones, with the raspberry jam poking out of its powdery window. I still find those cookies impossible to resist. And as soon as I saw these, I knew my greedy heart had to have them. They’re so grown up and fanciful, aren’t they?
Isn’t it nice to be grown up but still fanciful? To eat cookies for dinner. To sit in a dark living room and stare at a bundle of forest and light. To contemplate wishes, both lost and found.
We have one more cookie recipe to share with you before we take a brief respite over the holidays! Stay tuned…
SKS Holiday Recipes
S’more Cookies | The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies | Snowball Cookies (Foodie.com) | Cookie in a Skillet | White Chocolate Peppermint M&M Cookies | Hot Cocoa Cookies | Shortbread Cookies Filled With Caramel | Crisp Salted Oatmeal White Chocolate Cookies | Bourbon Balls | Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies |Beurre and Sel Jammers | Brown Butter Salted Caramel Snickerdoodles | Nutella Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies | Turtle Tassies | Walnut Bombs | Whiskey Truffles | Caramel Corn with Bacon and Cashews | Apricot White Chocolate Biscotti | Homemade Peppermint Patties | Easy Buckeye Brownie Cookies (new!)
Nana’s Butter Cookies with Milk Jam
*Note: dough must be chilled for at least 1 hour and milk jam cooks for 1.5 hours
For the cookies:
1 and 1/2 Cups (3 sticks) of unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 Cup of powdered sugar
2 Teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons of whole milk
2 Teaspoons of kosher salt
2 and 1/2 Cups of all-purpose flour, plus more
1 Large egg
For milk jam and assembly:
1 Qt. of goat’s milk or cow’s milk
1 and 1/4 Cups of granulated sugar
3/4 Teaspoon baking soda
1/2 Vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
Powdered sugar (optional; for serving)
For the cookies:
1. In a medium bowl, beat butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla on high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
2. Reduce speed to low; add milk, salt, and 2 and 1/2 cups of flour and mix just to combine.
3. Form dough into a 1/2 inch-thick disk and wrap in plastic. Chill until firm, at least 1 hour.
4. Preheat oven to 325°. Let dough sit at room temperature to soften slightly, about 5 minutes.
5. Roll dough out between 2 sheets of parchment paper until about ⅛ inch thick. Cut out rounds with a floured 2.5 inch diameter cookie cutter. Cut out a circle in half of the rounds with a 3/4 inch diameter cookie cutter and transfer to 2 parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart.
6. Whisk egg and 1 tsp. water in a small bowl and brush tops of cookies with egg wash. Bake cookies, rotating halfway through, until golden brown, 12–15 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to wire racks and let cookies cool.
For the milk jam & assembly:
7. Combine milk, sugar, and baking soda in a large saucepan; scrape in vanilla seeds and add pod. Bring just to a boil over medium heat, swirling pot to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, until mixture is reduced to about 1 and 1/4 cups (it will darken and separate, with little bits visible), about 80–90 minutes. Strain milk jam through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl and let cool.
8. Spoon a small amount of milk jam onto flat side of a cookie without a hole and sandwich with a cookie with a hole. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.
Do Ahead: Cookie Dough and Milk jam can both be made 5 days ahead. Cover and chill.