Grandma Bertha’s Apricot Delights

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This is the best cookie you’ll make this season. Really. Although there’s not much razzle dazzle on the outside, beauty– delicate, buttery, apricot-tender, cinnamon-sugared perfection–lies within.  The winning recipe in an heirloom recipe contest celebrating Sunset Food’s 75th anniversary and co-sponsored by the Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance, this cookie comes with a sweet story.

Susan Levin of Long Grove, IL, tells us that as an only child, she loved going to her Grandma Bertha’s for a Saturday-night sleepover full of baking. Years later, Susan acquired a boyfriend with a, “serious sweet tooth,” says Susan. He, too, loved Grandma’s Apricot Delights. So much so, that he made a special plea that Susan learn how to make them. “I was 20 at the time, nearly a wife, but when Grandma asked me to come to sleepover and learn how to make them, I said yes.” Susan took notes and learned the recipe well: “When I married my boyfriend, that was the only food I knew how to prepare!”

Forty-five years later, Susan is still married to the guy with the sweet tooth. Her cooking skills have expanded. “But I always tell people that it was the Apricot Delights that won me a marriage proposal,” she laughs.

 

Makes 24 cookies

Pastry Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter, room temperature (pliable, but not too soft)
  • 3-ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Apricot-raisin Filling Ingredients

  • 6 ounces dried apricots
  • 6 Tbsp strawberry preserves
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup water

Cinnamon Pecan Topping Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans
  • 6 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 5 Tbsp melted butter, cooled, but not congealed

Instructions

  1. Make pastry: Using a pastry blender, or two knives, cut butter and cream cheese into flour. Do not overwork. Divide into three equally-sized balls. Wrap each in plastic and flatter. Chill for 2 hours.
  2. Make filling: Heat apricots in water over low heat until apricots have “plumped” and absorbed most of the water. Blend in a food processor to a paste; add preserves and pulse again until smooth. Stir in golden raisins and set aside.
  3. Make topping: In a food processor, pulse pecans with sugar and cinnamon until nuts are finely ground.
  4. Assemble cookies: Cover two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Working with one dough disk at a time and leaving the others in the refrigerator, roll disk out on a floured pastry cloth (or several sheets of plastic wrap) until circle is 10-inches in diameter. Cut into 8 wedges. Starting with the large end of the wedge, gently lift the edges. Place a teaspoon of the filling at the wide edge, fold the sides and back over to enclose the filling. Then gently roll until you have a little swaddled dumpling. Place on plate with the point of the dough underneath. Repeat with all wedges. Chill cookies. (Roll out each of the other disks in turn, cutting into wedges, filling and rolling.) When finished, dip each cookie in the melted butter and then in the sugar/nut mixture. Place on parchment-lined cookie sheets and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

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