Monday, December 5, 2011

Bow Tie Cookie Bust

Last year for Christmas, my brother gave me the Fine Cooking Special Holiday Issue of Cookies, Brownies, Bars, & More and told me that it's never too early to start planning next year's holiday baking. Then he snorted and laughed and I realized he was, as usual, mocking my holiday cookie planning & baking obsession (though he does enjoy eating the cookies). Then he hooted about 'remember those ant cookies?!' for a while. What are brothers for?

Anyway, I really liked my new holiday cookie source. There's lots of tasty recipes inside. I marked the ones I wanted to try and waited a whole year to try these: Bow Ties with Apricot PreservesThis might be the only year they make the final cut...!

As a little 'bonus,' I got to buy this neat pastry wheel at Williams-Sonoma:
Necessary for these cookies? Not at all. A pizza cutter or knife would have worked. But there was another recipe for Brownie Bow Ties and those had cool, fluted, zig zag edges. I just had to have the pretty fluted edges. It helped that we had a gift card for Williams-Sonoma, and that's what you do with gift cards - splurge on gadgets and tools you wouldn't otherwise buy! (Thanks Carla & Shaw!)
SP was, of course, in charge of rolling the dough and cutting the squares. I don't know if it's because he dislikes rolling dough so much or if he gets bored and just wants to quickly finish or if he just doesn't pay attention/care, but the squares were sometimes rectangular (despite using the ruler markings on the side of the bench scraper) and often the middles ones were too thick and the outer squares too thin. Sigh. I guess a little variety in shape and size is good...?
I was in charge of jelly and shaping. Put dollop of jelly in center, fold 2 corners in to center and pinch shut using beaten egg to help seal, bake. They looked pretty successful, before baking, sitting on our brand new Silpat (thanks Santa Mom!):
But after just one use, our Silpat looked like this:
Fortunately, turns out Silpats really are awesome and those burnt jelly blobs came right off. I shudder to think of the scrubbing had we not lined our cookie sheets. I might have just tossed the cookie sheet! We used parchment paper, too (we have just one Silpat).

This is what the majority of the first 2 dozen cherry bow ties looked like:
They unpinched/unsealed themselves while baking. The jelly ran out of them and all over the silpat/parchment. Grrr. We wondered if there was a reason the recipe specified apricot preserves and not 'assorted preserves.' But it makes 70 cookies so we decided to use various flavors of preserves. We started off with cherry.We finished with apricot, which seemed less prone to melting and oozing all over. Maybe because it was a Smuckers Simply Fruit and not a regular preserves?

Also, using a beaten egg to help seal the corners together? Didn't work so well. I dripped raw egg all over everything. I switched to water part way through and that seemed to work better.

The pinching/sealing? What a nightmare. Clearly, I wasn't pinching/sealing properly. But when I pinched too hard, preserves squirted out. Pinching in the center didn't seem to work. I finally started folding one corner way over the the other side and then the other corner way over to the other side and pinching on the side, then sort of patting the whole thing out flat.

The cookies were supposed to look like this:
They taste good, like mini pies. I'd probably make them again. After all, practice makes perfect, and I now have that cool fluted pastry wheel. If we can ever roll the dough out to an even thickness, cut it into squares, use the right kind of filling, and seal them tightly enough... well those would be some pretty great bow ties.

As SP pointed out to me, overall, of the 6 dozen we made only about 2 dozen unsealed during baking. So I guess it's not as awful as I think, especially for our first attempt. We just need better execution!

They taste good, though. I may have eaten about 6 yesterday.


  1. Yay! Love the pastry wheel you got from W&S! And the last set of cookies look beautiful. I love cookies with jam.

  2. I have watched and helped my Mom make these and other cookies for Christmas. Now I was left with doing the task all by myself,as she had passed away in 2013 before Christmas. I was confident, yet scared to make them. We all know that nothing compares to our Mom's cooking and baking! I obviously didn't make them in 2013 or in 2014, for obvious reasons.. But I did make them for Christmas in 2015. I was hesitant because I thought that all I would do was cry and be sad because it reminded me of more of my Mom not being here. I just thought that it would BE more of a way of Honoring my Mom. I had awesome and happy memories of the times growing up and watching and helping her do them! I should have made them sooner! I felt like she was right there watching me! And my 22 year old son even helped me and his girlfriend! It was like we were repeating a wonderful Tradition! ...I did use water to keep the bow ties sealed and I did leave a little extra to make sure they stayed sealed. We used 4 different types of jelly's, we never used the egg wash on these cookies and they came out absolutely amazing and we topped it off with a little sprinkle of powdered sugar! We made cookie trays up for our special friends and family, with The Braided cookies and the anginette cookies. We bonded as a family, we reminisced about my Parent's it was an awesome time! I know that cooking and baking can be looked at sometimes as a chore! But it was an absolute pleasure making these great cookies as a family, and we are keeping the Tradition alive as well as my Family, with every cookie that we made, and every tray that went out!!