Here's another easy square for the Christmas platter. I don't know where this recipe came from (and I've had it years before the World Wide Web) but it's a winner. Not too sweet, but sweet enough for anyone's sweet tooth to be satisfied.
Whatever you do, don't leave out the grated lemon peel because it adds another layer of flavour to these otherwise humble cookies. I made two pans of these and didn't quite have enough lemon peel for the second pan. Although they still tasted good, the first batch with the right amount of peel was far superior in taste. Feel free to use your favourite jam in place of the raspberry. I imagine a strawberry version would be lovely and blueberry would be great as well.
1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
⅛ teaspoon salt
Grated rind of 1 lemon
⅓ cup butter
1 egg, beaten
½-¾ cup raspberry jam
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and line with parchment an 8x8-inch square pan. Do not use a bigger pan.
Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and grated lemon rind in a medium size bowl. Add butter and rub or cut in finely until coarse crumbs are formed. Add beaten egg. (The original recipe says to give the egg a few whirls with the tip of a knife.) Mix egg and dry ingredients together until a soft crumbly dough is formed.
Spread ⅔ of the mixture in the bottom of the prepared pan and pat down firmly. Mix jam and lemon juice together. Spread jam mixture over the bottom crust. Sprinkle remaining crumbs over the jam. It may seem as if there are not enough crumbs to cover the jam but that's alright. Just spread as evenly as possible.
Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool for several hours before cutting into squares. I put mine in the freezer for about an hour and they cut beautifully.
Makes 36 small squares. Of course you may cut them bigger. I cut one pan into 25 bars and I think I like that size better.
1. The dry ingredients with the lemon peel. 2. Giving the egg a whirl with the tip of a knife. 3. Add beaten egg to crumb mixture. 4. Everything mixed together to a soft crumb texture.
This is a little trick I saw on a "Martha Bakes" (Martha Stewart) baking show. She uses banker's clips to keep parchment paper from flying about in her convection oven. This is also convenient in a regular oven when using the top oven rack to keep the paper from the heating element.
When spreading the jam on the bottom crust don't spread it right to the edge. The jam will spread while the squares are baking.
Left: Squares before baking. Right: Squares after baking. The top crumbs have risen and filled in most of the jammy spots.
Ready to serve, fragrant with lemon and raspberry jam.
Here's a nice snack for someone bringing gifts!