Raspberry Butter Cookies:
1 3/4 cup (225 grams) all purpose flour
1/4 cup (45 grams) white rice flour
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Seeds from one vanilla bean or 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1 cup (225 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup (80 ml) raspberry jam (homemade or store bought)
Raspberry Butter Cookies: Place the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, and the seeds from the vanilla bean in the bowl of your food processor. Process until combined. Add the cold pieces of butter and process until the batter starts to clump together. If needed, add about 1 tablespoon of the beaten egg.
Divide the dough in half and then roll each half between two sheets of parchment or wax paper until it is about 1/4 inch (.5 cm) thick. As you roll, periodically check the top and bottom sheets of parchment and smooth out any wrinkles. Place dough on a baking sheet (along with the parchment paper) and place in the refrigerator until cold and very firm (about 45-60 minutes). (For faster chilling, place in the freezer for about 15-20 minutes).
Once chilled, remove from refrigerator and peel off the top piece of parchment paper. Using about a 3 inch (7 cm) cookie cutter, cut out the cookies. Use a smaller cookie cutter to cut out the centers of half of the cookies. Lightly brush the tops of the whole cookies with the beaten egg and then gently press the cookies with the cut outs on top. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, spacing the cookies about 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Fill the cut out of each cookie with raspberry jam. You can just use a small spoon or place the jam in a piping bag. Put the baking sheet with the cut out cookies in the refrigerator while you preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C), with the oven rack in the center position.
Meanwhile, gather up any scraps of leftover dough and re-roll. (You may need to refrigerate the dough again before cutting out the cookies.) Before baking the cookies, lightly brush the cut out cookies with the beaten egg. Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes or until they are golden brown. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. The cookies can be covered and stored in the refrigerator about 2 to 3 weeks. They can also be frozen.
Makes about 18 - 3 inch (7 cm) heart shaped cookies.
I have a real weakness for these Raspberry Butter Cookies. I love their rustic look, with their golden brown crinkly tops and the ruby red raspberry jam. And I love their sweet and buttery, vanilla scented flavor and their light and crispy texture. As with all sandwich cookies, at first the flavor and texture of the cookie is separate from that of the filling. But after a day or two the raspberry jam permeates and softens the cookies so the flavors of the two combine. An added bonus is that these cookies have excellent keeping qualities, two to three weeks when stored in the refrigerator.
This butter cookie batter can be made very quickly in your food processor, although you can also make it by hand. This is a cut out cookie so the batter does need to be chilled before you cut out the cookies. To speed up the process of chilling and cutting, as soon as the batter is made, I roll it between two sheets of parchment or wax paper. Then just transfer it (along with the parchment paper) onto a baking sheet and place in the refrigerator until the dough is firm. This will take anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes (can be made a day ahead). If you want to speed up the process even more, you can put the sheet of dough into the freezer instead (this will only take about 15-20 minutes).
A few notes on ingredients. The cookie batter contains a small amount of white rice flour. This is a gluten free flour that is made from finely ground white rice. Only a small amount is needed to give the cookies a light, yet crumbly texture, that seems to almost melt in your mouth. You can find this flour in some grocery stores, specialty food stores or on line. If you can't find it, you can use an equal amount of cornstarch (corn flour) or even potato flour or potato starch. For the vanilla flavor you can use either the seeds from one vanilla bean or 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste. If using a vanilla bean, look for beans that are shiny and black, tender, plump and moist. Never buy hard, dry and shriveled beans because they are past their prime. To use; cut the bean in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and pulp. Don't throw away the pod once the seeds are removed. Let it dry and then place the pod into your bag of granulated white sugar, and after a few days you have vanilla scented sugar. I like to fill these sandwich cookies with raspberry jam and you can use either homemade or store bought. But don't feel you have to use raspberry jam, as other flavors of jam can be used.