I couldn't figure out until this morning what I wanted to do for the Fourth Day of Christmas. Though usually sung "four calling birds," the actual gift is "four colly birds." Colly birds are, basically blackbirds. Again, no one around here sells blackbirds for me to cook. Last year I made a blackberry pie (as in "four-and-twenty blackbirds baked in a pie") with bird cut-outs for the top crust. But I wanted something different this year.
After we got home from Django Unchained at two in the morning, I lay in bed for quite a while trying to figure out what I was going to make today. There was much sleepy whining and Alec telling me to go to sleep. Finally, I did, still undecided.
But this morning, refreshed (kindof), I decided. Black(berry) Bird Sandwich Cookies. They're cute, filled with delicious blackberry jam, and fulfill my personal requirements for fitting into the theme of Four Colly Birds.
The cookie is a shortbread-esque cookie with a hint of lemon. It's a bit dry, but that actually nicely offsets the sweetness of the condensed jam. I made my own jam, but you could easily buy a jar to use if you don't want to go through the trouble (though it didn't take very long).
Also, although I made these with bird-shaped cookie cutters, you could of course use round cutters, or any other shape you desire. I just don't know how many cookies you'll get from a different shape.
On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me four colly birds...
Black(berry) Bird Sandwich Cookies
(makes approximately 40 cookies, or 20 sandwiches)
adapted from Proof: Patisserie
1 jar blackberry jam (store-bought or homemade)
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp vanilla
zest from 1 lemon
1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 large egg yolks
2 1/2-3 c. flour
Reduce the jam in a medium saucepot to thicken. Let cool. (I made jam from 18 oz. of blackberries and reduced it to approximately 1 cup.)
Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment if you have one.
Add vanilla, lemon zest, lemon juice, and egg yolks. Beat to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
Add in flour gradually, mixing on low speed. (I added all 3 cups and the dough ended up far too dry, so I added in a bit of milk to moisten.) Mix until the dough comes together. You made need to use your hands to bring the dough together.
Divide the dough in two and flatten each half into a disc. Wrap in clingwrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350F.
Line 3-4 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let sit for 5 minutes.
Place one disc of dough on a floured surface and roll out to 1/4" thickness.
Using a bird cookie cutter (or cutter of your choice), cut out shapes and place 1/2" apart on baking sheets. Repeat with second disc of dough.
You can gather up the scraps and re-roll to get more cookies.
Once you have cut out all the cookies, take a small 1" round cutter and cut out a circle in the middle of half the cookies.
Bake in batches in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, until cookie is set and a light golden brown color.
Place on cooling racks until completely cool.
To make sandwiches, spoon jam onto the bottom half of the sandwich (the cookie without the circle cut-out). For the birds, I used about a half tablespoon. If you're using a shape, you will need to gently spread the jam across the shape. (It will depend on the size of your cookie. You want enough to cover once you press the top down, but not too much that it will overflow the edges.)
Top with the top half of the sandwich (the cookie with the circle cut-out) and press down gently.
Top off the cut-out with any leftover jam, if desired.
...three French hens...
...and a partridge in a pear tree.