|Apricot-tarragon cocktail cookies|
We are famous (notorious?) for our evening cocktail hour, a la 1954, here at Chez Ninj. Corny, but it's a very relaxing way to end the day, like setting an appointment to sit down together and talk. But with cocktails, so it's extra festive and not at all therapy-ish.
I'm currently a ridiculously huge fan of the simple, perfect vodka gimlet, probably as much for it's beautiful celery color as anything. (I swear, one of these days I'm going to carry one, in a martini glass, into the Benjamin Moore paint store and see if they can color match it.)
So, given Cocktail Hour, I'm always looking for good recipes for accompanying nibbles. Nothing sweet, just a little salty-cheesy somethin'-somethin' -- you know what I mean.
Therefore, you probably heard me screaming in delight recently when I opened the November issue of Food and Wine and saw that the incomparable Dorie Greenspan (insert reverential bow) had seemingly answered my prayers.
Move over, crackers and cheese ...
Get out of town, spicy nut mix ....
Cocktail cookies have arrived.
I honed in immediately on the Apricot-Tarragon cookies: they looked so light and flaky, with beautiful flecks of green and orange. I just had to make them.
Result? Huge thumbs up from Mr. Ninj; "wicked awesome" even. (See? He's starting to fit right in up here in New England!)
I made mine with a heart-shaped cookie cutter to illustrate my undying love for Dorie. No, seriously, for some reason I do not own a circular cookie cutter and the heart was the closest I could find. I thought it more elegant and worthy of Cocktail Hour than, say, the ghost or the christmas tree cutters.
They're pure cookie love.
So break out that cocktail shaker and whip up some cocktail cookies. You look more like Don and Betty Draper already, I swear.
Apricot-Tarragon Cocktail Cookies from Dorie Greenspan
(Note: I'm including the full, word-for-word recipe here because there seemed to be some issue with the text of the recipe on the Food and Wine site)
1/2 cup dried Turkish apricots, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped tarragon leaves
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg yolk
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
In a small bowl, cover the apricots with hot water and let stand for 10 minutes, until they are plump. Transfer the apricots to paper towels to drain.
In another small bowl, rub the tarragon leaves into the sugar until they are moist and aromatic. In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter with the tarragon sugar at low speed until creamy. Beat in the egg yolk until just combined, about 1 minute. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and beat until smooth. Add the salt and flour and beat until just incorporated. Using a large spatula, fold in the apricots.
Turn the cookie dough out onto a work surface and knead until it just comes together. Divide the dough in half and press each half into a disk. Roll out each disk between 2 sheets of wax paper to about 1/4 inch thick. Slide the wax paper–covered disks onto a baking sheet and freeze for at least 1 hour, until very firm.
Preheat the oven to 350° and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with one piece of cookie dough at a time, peel off the top sheet of wax paper. Using a 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, stamp out the cookies as close together as possible. Arrange the cookies 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.
Bake the cookies for about 20 minutes, until they are lightly golden; shift the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 3 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.