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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Dainty Maids

Dainty Maids are jam filled, buttery shortbread cookie tarts with a coconut macaroon topping.  Perfect for parties and celebrations!


Yesterday was Nan Gill's birthday so, of course, we had a little party to celebrate the occasion. Fifteen people, including three great and great-great grandchildren crowded into her tiny apartment to enjoy a piece of birthday cake and cup of tea to mark the day.  I made a few cookies, sandwiches and tea buns to go along with the
Nan Gill on her 84th birthday, October 22, 2016.
cake and thought we'd have a little tea party for our dear Nan.  But things don't always go as planned.  I was in the kitchen cutting and plating the last of the sandwiches when there was a terrific bang and all the lights went out.  I almost jumped out of my skin.  Jodi and her two little girls, our first guests, were in the driveway just getting out of their car and were also thoroughly startled.  Fortunately, Nan's apartment has nice big windows so there was enough light to have our party but no power to boil water for tea!  We ended up drinking ginger ale, water or apple juice.  Regardless of the lack of tea, the party was a success and Nan enjoyed her day.  And just to be contrary, the lights came back on minutes after the last guest departed!


One of the cookies I made for the party were Dainty Maids.  They are similar to a Maid of Honour cookie but instead of a cakey topping these have a coconut macaroon topping.  And I think the ingredients are easier to come by.  Maid of Honours often have rice flour as an ingredient which I doubt is a staple in most pantries. 

These are a favourite of mine.  I've been making them for years.  Dainty Maids come from Mrs. Marjorie Diamond who, many years ago, submitted the recipe to a school fundraiser cookbook.  I was in charge of sorting the recipes and I'm certainly glad I didn't miss this one.  Mrs. Diamond has long passed away but her cookies will live on.    
 
   

Dainty Maids

Shortbread Cookie Crust:
2 cups flour
1 cup butter, room temperature
½ cup icing sugar

Macaroon Topping:
1 cup unsweetened coconut, medium or fine grind
2 eggs
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature or melted
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder

½ -1 cup favourite jam

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

To make shortbread cookie crust, combine the flour, butter and icing sugar together in a medium size bowl.  Mix into a medium soft dough.  I used my hands to complete mixing.  Using about 2 tablespoons of dough, press into muffin cups to form the crust. There is no need to grease the pans.  I used a smaller muffin pan than standard (not a mini pan).  If you are using a standard size muffin pan you will need about 2 ½ -3 tablespoons dough.

To make the macaroon topping, mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl until well mixed and creamy.

Place a heaping teaspoon of jam on the bottom of the unbaked crust.  Be generous with the jam and fill according to the size pan you use.  Fill with the macaroon topping, filling almost to the top.

Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.  The edges of the crust and macaroon topping should be golden brown.  Remove from oven and let sit at least 5 minutes before removing from pans.  Place on cake rack until thoroughly cooled.*

Makes about 12-15 standard size tarts or 18-20 smaller tarts.  



*Although these should be thoroughly cooled to store, they can be served slightly warm.


Mix the soft butter, flour and icing sugar together to form a shortbread cookie dough. 

Mix the remaining ingredients together to make the creamy macaroon topping. 

Press the shortbread cookie dough into the muffin pans to form tart shells.  Use your thumb to raise the sides.

Fill each tart with your favourite jam. Use a heaping spoonful and fill according to the size of your muffin cups.  I used apricot, partridge berry and blueberry jams in the tarts.  I could have been a little more generous with the apricot jam.  Raspberry jam is also especially nice but I didn't have any in the house at the time. 

Top each jam filled tart with the macaroon filling.  The coconut mixture should almost fill the tart.   

Bake the tarts for 20-25 minutes until the crust and macaroon topping are golden brown.  Let cool about 5 minutes in pan.

Carefully remove from the muffin cups and place on baking rack to finish cooling.

I made 21 Dainty Maids using the medium sized muffin pans.  I forced myself to eat one so there wouldn't be an odd number.

Baked to a perfect golden brown.

Fresh and still a little warm, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread with jam and sweet coconut topping makes a dandy treat at any party or celebration. 

Dainty Maids– Melt-In-Your-Mouth Good!

 

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