makes between 2 dozen and 2½ dozen cookies
Adapted from Food and Drink, Holiday 2023
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon orange, tangerine, lemon or Meyer lemon zest
2 tablespoons poppyseeds
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup semolina flour
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine butter and confectioners’ sugar. Using a hand held electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. (Or you can use a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.) On low speed, beat in zest and poppy seeds. In a medium bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, semolina flour and salt. On low speed, add the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar mixture to combine. Scrape dough onto a large sheet of plastic wrap; pat into a square, wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes. When ready to cut out the cookies, divide the dough in half and keep one portion wrapped and refrigerated while you roll and cut out the other.
On a half sheet of parchment paper, roll out one portion of dough to a ¼ -inch thickness. Use a 2-inch cookie cutter of your choice to cut out the cookies from the first portion of dough. (You can re-roll the scraps). Use a smaller cutter to cut out the center of half of the cookies so you will have an equal number of tops and bottoms. Carefully slide the parchment paper with the cookies onto a half sheet baking sheet. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or if you have room in the freezer, freeze them for 15 minutes. Repeat with the second portion of dough; rolling, cutting, cutting out the centers of half and refrigerating (or freezing).
When ready to bake, use an offset spatula (not your fingers) to carefully adjust the cookies so there is about ¼-inch between them. (They don’t spread very much but you don’t want them touching.) Bake at 325 degrees F on the middle and lower rack of the oven for 13 to 15 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through. Keep an eye on things; they should remain rather pale with just a slight hint of golden edges. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely before assembling.
1 cup of your favorite top quality jam, preferably Sarabeth’s Orange Apricot
1 teaspoon fresh orange or lemon juice (depending upon the zest you used)
In a heavy bottomed saucepan, warm the jam over low heat, just until it thickens slightly; add the orange or lemon juice. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Use a small offset spatula to carefully turn each whole cookie upside down. (These are the bottoms.) Spread 1 teaspoon of the reduced jam over each cookie bottom then carefully (using the offset), place a cut-out cookie on top. Cookies will keep in a covered tin at room temperature (separated by parchment paper), for up to three days. After that, they should be refrigerated.