Today I’m starting an exciting new series in the run up to the holiday season, and it involves desserts, baking and lots of pudding – hooray! If you’ve been following my blog (and if you haven’t, please do! The link is over on the right-hand side :) ), you’ll have heard how I’m part of a recent collaboration with 104 other authors in a recipe book with a twist, called Bake, Love, Write. Besides containing over a hundred fabulous dessert recipes, our recipe book also contains tips from best-selling authors on writing and relationships – and my copy is sitting on the dresser in my kitchen right this minute, and is already well thumbed! (Buy links below.)
Over the next few weeks some of my fellow collaborators will be dropping in to give their favourite holiday recipe, and today I’m delighted to welcome Lourdes Venard (lovely name!) as my first guest. Lourdes Venard is the founder of Comma Sense Editing and a newspaper editor with more than 29 years’ experience writing and editing at major newspapers, including The Miami Herald, Chicago Tribune, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Newsday. Her freelance editing specializes in crime fiction, and several of the books she has edited have been picked up by notable small presses.
Lourdes has spoken at national conferences about editing and has run training sessions for young journalists. Currently, she teaches a course for the University of California, San Diego’s respected copyediting certification program. She is a member of the American Copy Editors Society, Editorial Freelancers Association, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and Sisters in Crime. She’s also editor of First Draft, the newsletter for the Guppies, the online chapter of Sisters in Crime.
And here’s Lourdes’ favourite holiday recipe!
This recipe for the traditional Jewish cookie gives it a Caribbean twist with guava jam, instead of the more usual apricots or raspberry. Guava jam may be hard to find in grocery stores, but can be found online; Maui Upcountry Jams and Jellies makes an especially good jam. (British bakers: guava jam is available in Tesco’s and many other supermarkets)
I was inspired by a book I edited, Cimarrona, which featured made-up pastries that blended Jewish and Cuban traditional foods.
This recipe makes about 40 cookies.
(British bakers: Lourdes’ measurements are all in US style. It’s not a problem to us oldies who remember ounces from days of yore, but for younger bakers, 8oz equals approx 225gsm. There’s also a Metric Converter here)
2 cups all-purpose flour (British: plain flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup plus 4 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup guava jam
1 cup loosely packed golden raisins, chopped
1 1/4 cups walnuts (1/4 lb), finely chopped
Milk for brushing cookies
Whisk flour and salt in a bowl. Beat together butter and cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer until combined well. Then add flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon. When a soft dough forms, make it into a ball and wrap it in plastic wrap. While still wrapped in plastic, flatten it into a roughly 7- by 5-inch rectangle. Chill until firm, 8 to 24 hours.
When ready to make the cookies, preheat oven to 350°F (180° C). Line bottom of a 1- to 1 1/2-inch-deep large shallow baking pan with parchment paper. (Brit: greaseproof paper)
Cut dough into 4 pieces. Chill 3 pieces, wrapped in plastic wrap, and roll out remaining piece into a 12- by 8-inch rectangle on a well-floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Transfer dough to a sheet of parchment, then transfer to a tray and chill while rolling out remaining dough in same manner, transferring each to another sheet of parchment and stacking on tray.
Whisk 1/2 cup sugar with cinnamon.
Arrange 1 dough rectangle on work surface with a long side nearest you. Spread 1/4 cup preserves evenly over dough with a spatula. Sprinkle 1/4 cup raisins and 1/4 cup walnuts over jam, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cinnamon sugar.
Using parchment as an aid, roll up dough tightly into a log. Place, seam side down, in lined baking pan, then pinch ends closed and tuck underneath. Make 3 more logs and arrange 1 inch apart in pan. Brush logs with milk and sprinkle each with 1 teaspoon of remaining granulated sugar. With a large knife, make 3/4-inch-deep cuts crosswise in dough (not all the way through) at 1-inch intervals. (If dough is too soft to cut, chill until firmer, 20 to 30 minutes.)
Bake until golden, 45 to 50 minutes. Cool to warm in pan on a rack, about 30 minutes, then transfer logs to a cutting board and slice cookies all the way through.
Lourdes, this sounds absolutely delicious. I’ve never tried guava jam. I’m loving the idea of the Cuban/Jewish fusion! Thanks so much for coming by with your recipe!
Do you have a favourite holiday recipe? Have you ever tried guava jam? If you’ve enjoyed Lourdes’ post, or have any questions or comments at all, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you!