High Country Baking: Sweet ravioli cookies are tiny filled treasures
Serving an Italian meal? This delightful cookie, shaped like the famous pasta that’s typically filled with meat or cheese, may be the perfect ending. Sweet, flavorful preserves encircled by crisp, orange-flavored dough and topped with a shower of powdered sugar or a vanilla drizzle usually get a resounding “molto bene.” Of course, you can ignore its Italian appearance and think of it as a tiny hand pie that’s a fine accompaniment to any creamy dessert and certainly worth nibbling on its own.
I’ve provided two toppings; the choice is yours, same with the preserves. Use whatever you like, just make sure they’re thick and strongly flavored. If you double the recipe, divide the dough in half in step two, form each half into a 5-by-3-inch rectangle, roll each into an 8-by-12 rectangle and cut both into 20 squares.
Sweet Ravioli Cookies
Adjusted for elevations of 7,500 feet and above.
Make on a shiny metal cookie sheet.
Yields 10 2-inch cookies; Recipe can be doubled.
- 1 cup bleached all-purpose flour, spoon and level
- ¼ cup superfine granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, cold
- ½ teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- 1 large egg, divided
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
- 2 tablespoon thick raspberry preserves
Vanilla drizzle topping (optional)
- ½ tablespoon unsalted butter
- 3-4 teaspoons cream or milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla paste or extract
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
Make the dough: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, with a rack in the center position. Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper. Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine well. Cut the butter up into small pieces, add them along with the orange zest and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal. In a small bowl or one-cup measure, beat the egg until the yolk and white are fully combined. Add half of this (about 1 ½ tablespoons) and the vanilla to the food processor (save the rest of the egg to glaze the cookies), and process until large, moist clumps of dough form. Dump the dough out onto a large sheet of waxed paper, gently knead it a few times and form it into a 5-by-3-inch rectangle. (If the dough is too soft and sticky to roll, chill it until firm.)
Roll and cut the dough: Top the dough with another sheet of waxed paper and roll it into a 12-by-8-inch rectangle. Chill it, still between the two sheets of waxed paper, until quite firm (about 10 minutes in the freezer or 30-40 in the refrigerator). Remove the dough, peel off the top sheet of waxed paper and use a fluted pastry wheel and a ruler to cut the dough into 20 2-inch squares.
Form the cookies: Place 10 of the squares 1 inch apart on the prepared cookie sheet. Spoon a level ½-teaspoon of preserves in the center of each square, top with a second dough square, and press the edges together with the tongs of a fork. If the cookies have softened, place the cookie sheet, with them on it, in the freezer or refrigerator until they are firm (this prevents them from spreading while baking). Make a glaze by adding a teaspoon of water to the remaining half-egg. Brush a thin coating over each cookie.
Bake and cool the cookies: Bake until the cookies are set, light golden and a little darker on the edges, from 9-14 minutes, depending how cold they were when they were placed in the oven. Remove the pan to a rack, wait until the cookies firm up a bit (4-5 minutes) and then move them directly to the rack to cool completely.
Decorate and store the cookies: Sprinkle powdered sugar (most easily done through a kitchen sieve) over each cooled cookie or make a vanilla glaze: To do so, place the butter in a glass cup measure or small microwave-safe bowl and zap in a microwave oven until melted. Stir in 3 teaspoons of cream and the vanilla extract. Add the powdered sugar and whisk until smooth. Add more cream or more sugar as needed to make a consistency that will easily slide off a spoon and top each cookie with a decorative drizzle. Store in a covered container at room temperature for up to three days.
Vera Dawson’s column “High Country Baking” publishes biweekly in the Summit Daily News. Dawson is a high-elevation baking instructor and author of three high-altitude cookbooks. Her recipes have been tested in her kitchen in Frisco, where she’s lived since 1991, and altered until they work at elevation. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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