I found these cookies in 2012, when I was looking for Valentine’s-themed recipes for a work bake sale. They were so simple, and yet had amazing flavor, I was seriously impressed.
It took me a couple of tries to successfully tweak it, but I also started making them at my shul and they became a favorite there, too. Since 2012, I make them faithfully every year for our work bake sale (in addition to other treats) and also make them during the year at the synagogue.
They are a definitely a little fiddly, but definitely worth it. The flavor is certainly better than the sum of its parts.
The dough is nice and soft when it’s first mixed, and perfect for shaping. Don’t worry too much about exact dimensions, just focus on making it more rectangular than square. Straighten the sides by cutting them and patching the holes – you can see this in the picture earlier in the post. Don’t worry, none of it will show in the final cookies.
The easiest way to ensure it’s evenly rolled is to roll one side a full rotation (essentially two “turns”) and then the other side, and repeat. This way, it meets up evenly in the middle. If possible, try not to join the two sides up in the middle, or you’ll have to cut them apart later.
I usually make the scroll-logs a day before, but they need to be refrigerated or frozen until really solid. If you try to cut them early, you’ll see the layers smear. Just wrap it back up and chill until really firm.
While the log needs to be really cold to cut nicely, it’s easier to make the heart-shapes when the dough is slightly pliable, so I usually cut 1/3 or so of the log at a time, and by that time the first pieces are a little soft and can be easily bent. After that, a simple bake in the oven is all that stands between you and a wonderful (and festive) cookie.
Raspberry Swirled Heart Cookies
Recipe adapted from http://recipes.kaboose.com/jam-filled-heart-cookies.html
Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy; if your butter is a little hard, you might want to beat it first to help soften it before adding the sugar. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat to combine. Beat in the flour and salt.
Place dough onto a clean counter to roll it; if desired, you can line the counter with plastic wrap or parchment paper. Roll the dough into a large rectangle (I measured mine at 12" x 15") with the dough being fairly thin. If the dough sticks to the rolling pin, sprinkle a small amount of flour just to keep it from sticking, but otherwise avoid adding extra flour.
While rolling out the dough, it might be helpful to shape it back into a rectangle, by cutting off parts that extend too far and patching the gaps. When the dough is nice and thin, neaten it by doing this exact process, using all of the dough to make a neat rectangle. Don't worry, as this doesn't seem to have any negative effects on the dough (doesn't overwork it) and it won't be visible in the finished product.
Spread a thin layer of jam across the dough, getting almost to the edges. Resist the urge to add more, it will just ooze out and make a mess. Just use enough to fully coat the dough, but you can still see the dough through the jam.
Start rolling up the dough, one side at a time. Carefully roll one long edge up, and then roll it again, so there is a full circle of dough rolled up. Repeat the process on the other side. Make another roll on each side, and continue until the two rolls are even and meet in the middle. Try not to press them together in the middle.
Cut a piece of plastic wrap to roll the log up in, and place it along the side of the log. Carefully roll the log over onto the plastic wrap, and then keep carefully rolling until the log is wrapped up. Place the log on a cookie sheet in the refrigerator for at least an hour, or overnight, until the log is firm. It can also be placed in the freezer to speed up the chilling.
When the log is ready, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Remove the log from the refrigerator, and unwrap it. Using a sharp knife, cut into 1/4" pieces. If the two sides of the scroll are stuck together, use a knife to cut through the join to separate them. Use your fingers to push the sides of the rolls towards the center piece of dough between the two rolls, which should form a heart shape. Place each cookie on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet.
Bake cookies for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the bottom edge is a light brown. Cool on wheet before removing.
Note: Original recipe called for seedless jam, but I usually use my homemade jam, which contains seeds, and have never had a problem. Also, I usually make two recipes at a time, because one never seems to yield enough, and since you're in the groove it doesn't seem too onerous to do a second one.
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
About 1/4-1/2 cup raspberry jam (see note)