Mama Masha’s Jelly Cookies

March 29, 2010 | By | COMMENTS

Mama Masha's Jelly Cookies 1
These aren’t Mama Masha’s jelly cookies. But they could be. They’re Hiroshi’s from a recipe called “Aunt Eva’s Cookies,” published by Joan Nathan in her spectacular Jewish Holiday Cookbook. I conjure the taste and texture– slightly burnt, gooey–forty years after grandma removed her last batch from the oven. Of course, I was too young to have picked up the recipe from watching her, and my mom says she didn’t pay enough attention to the step-by-step when she was young. I’ve dreamt of jelly cookies for decades.

Mama Masha's Jelly Cookies 2
The dough basically is a thin pastry spread with grape jelly, rolled and cut into fingers after it has been baked. This is not rugelach! I’ve never found the cookie’s match–and I’ve looked and tasted all over in Jewish bakeries from Brooklyn to Paris to Tel-Aviv. (Paris bakers do a lot of things very well. Jewish jelly cookies are not one of them.) The way it happened was Hiroshi did such a fine job with last year’s soofganyiot at Hannukah, I asked him to try the cookie recipe. I had an intuition that Aunt Eda’s recipe was close to Mama Masha’s. Is it a shanda to suggest that Hiroshi’s cookies have earned their place in my grandma’s cookie jar?
Mama Masha's Jelly Cookies 3
Next up, Mama Masha’s Apple Cake. (Using the same cookie dough because grandma used one dough for all her baking requirements.) I’m going to take a stab at this one. Wish me luck!
Mama Masha's Jelly Cookies 4<
Grandma, older sisters, and the budding baker himself.
Aunt Eva's Cookies
from Joan Nathan: Jewish Holiday Cookbook, Schocken.
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) butter or pareve margarine
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup apricot preserves (for Mama Masha's true version, use 1 cup GRAPE JELLY)
1. Using food processor, cream the butter. Add 1/2 cup sugar and mix well. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, followed by the vanilla. Slowly add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Knead the dough well.
2. Form the dough into 4 balls, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge overnight.*
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a cookie sheet.
4. Roll each ball of dough into a flat rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Spread with the grape jelly. Roll jelly-roll fashion.
5. Place 2 of the rolls on the cookie sheet, leaving room between them, as they will spread and flatten out. Repeat with the other 2 rolls on another baking sheet. Bake in batches in the middle of the oven, about 20-30 minutes, until golden brown. When cool, slice at an angle at about 1 1/2-inch intervals, making finger-length slices.
*Hiroshi's experience was that the dough was too soft to handle. He added flour while he was rolling each ball of dough.

Categories: Cooking Stories

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