Not all cookies are created equally. In fact, these cookie squares are part crumbly shortbread and part chewy jam-filled thumbprints. But, I’d have to admit that the best part is that you can make them with any filling—your favorite jam or preserves, or even salted dulce de leche, lemon curd or my dairy-free knockoff nutella. I like to make the cookies year-round, swapping in different flavors for each season. My kids like them any way they come out of the oven.
I’ve been thinking about these cookies for two years now. I guess it’s true: Time really does fly. It was two holidays ago that I hosted a potluck party and asked friends—and friends of friends—to bring something gluten-free and dairy-free. I made sure to taste everything. One bite into these delicate, laced cookies and I knew I needed the recipe.
Some months later it arrived in my email inbox and then, like many emails do, it just sat there. It wasn’t until last week, that I remembered I even had it. I read it over and made some flavor tweaks. Mainly, I added one of my new favorite ingredients—cocoa nibs—which I knew would bring out the orange tones from the creamy filling. These are, simply put, just heavenly.
When it comes to holiday baking—like everyone—I have my favorites. For me, this comes down to nostalgia. And, even more so, moments of nostalgia. Sometimes, when I least expect it, something triggers a memory and leads me back to a place, a time, a cookie. And, if I’m lucky, sometimes, when I’m walking down the street in what feels like slow motion, there, drifting so sweetly in the air, are my childhood memories wafting, one by one, from a local Italian bakery. So, this holiday, I’ll be sharing some of my favorite holiday cookie memories with you. I hope you will share some of yours with me, too.