Every time I clean out my pantry and/or my fridge it's somewhat of an adventure. Apparently I've started to stockpile food items. In fact, I think I would qualify as a hoarder. I believe it began last year when I found 29 boxes of pasta in my pantry. Then I opened my freezer and found 6 bags of peas and 5 bags of shrimp. This time around I found 8 different jars of mustard, 10 bags of dried beans, several bags of dried chiles, about a dozen different breakfast cereals for the kids, and approximately 7 jars of jellies, jams, and preserves. I think I may need to join a program or something.
In the meantime I think I'll console myself with these cute, buttery, heart-shaped shortbread cookies. If you're like me at all, then you already have all the ingredients on hand to make these. One jar of jelly down...six more to go!
Cherry Jam Shortbread Cookies
Adapted from Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros
Makes about 12 to 15 bars, depending on size
7 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1-2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 few drops of vanilla extract
about 2/3 cup of your favorite jam
Preheat the oven to 325F. Have a 8 x 8 baking pan ready - you can line it if you like, to help you lift out the shortbread when it's cooked, but it's not absolutely necessary.
Put the butter and sugar in a good-sized bowl and work them together by hand or wooden spoon until combined. Add flour and baking powder and work them in. Add the egg and vanilla and knead them in until it is all compact and smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for at least half an hour until the dough is firm enough to roll out.
Divide the dough in half. Roll out one half on a lightly floured surface so that it will fit into your pan. It should be about 1/8 inch thick. Fit it into your baking pan, making sure that it is fairly even thickness all over. Spread the jam over the top, and fit as exactly as possible over the bottom one. If it is difficult to lift, roll it loosely over your rolling pin and carry it that way. It isn't essential that all your edges are exact; you can break off a bit from here and patchwork it in there. It will taste the same.
Bake for about 20-25, checking regularly, or until the shortbread is golden in places. The edges will start to turn golden brown first, followed by the top. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes in the pan. Lift out of the pan, using the paper.
Cut into shapes with a cookie cutter, or just into squares or diamonds. Or you can leave it in one piece and keep cutting chunks out of it as you go. It will keep in a sealed container for 5 to 6 days.