December 11, 2011

Apricot Squares

In case you missed it, this is a must-make Christmas cookie...

I've been trying for a very long time to perfect this cookie.  The recipe in itself has already been perfected, as everyone in my family seems to have success with it.   However, I have little to no luck every time I try to work with yeast (I think I get that from my mother because she's been working on this one for awhile too).  Regardless, if you're not scared of yeast doughs, and they can be very frightening at times, give this one a shot.


Apricot Squares are my grandmother's recipe.  She made these every Christmas, in addition to Polish favorites such as nut horns.  Apricot Squares are a light-tasting and welcome addition to any cookie platter.  Next to the chocolate, peanut butter, and mint cookies, they offer a contrast in shape and color.  People will be bound to ask how you made them!



It may seem like a bit of a process; with the yeast, the rolling, the cutting, the filling, and the folding.  However, if you're going through the process of baking several batches of Christmas cookies anyway...just give it a try!  If I can do it, so can you!  For the first time..ummm ever...these turned out perfectly!

Apricot Squares
makes approximately 4 dozen

2 cups Crisco shortening
5 cups flour
1/2 t. salt

5 egg yolks

1/2 packet of dry yeast OR 1/2 of a refrigerated three-fourths yeast cake
1/2 t. sugar
3/4 cup warm milk (I used skim and heated it in the microwave for 45 seconds before adding it to the yeast.)

sugar for rolling
1 cup apricot preserves


To begin the dough:
Heat a small pot of water on the stove.  Let it come to a boil, then turn it off.  Place a bowl over the pot to create a double boiler.  Leave the burner off.  The residual heat coming from the water is all you need to snap the yeast into action.  Into the double boiler goes the warm milk, yeast, and sugar.

Stir it once and let it sit for about 10 minutes.  The yeast should be frothy as it grows.

In a large mixing bowl, cut together the shortening, flour, and salt.  I just used two forks, but a pastry blender works well..  Make a "well" in the center of the flour mixture.  Into the well, add the 5 egg yolks.  After the yeast has sat in the double boiler for 10 minutes (possibly 15, if needed), add it to the egg yolks and stir together.


Finally, combine the well mixture with the rest of the flour/shortening.  Using your hands here usually works best.  And your dough is done!  It will be a lot like pie dough. 

Rolling the dough:
Taking a chunk of dough, roll it out on a board (or solid surface countertop) to about 1/8 of an inch thick. Be sure to sprinkle a bit of sugar on the board (just like with regular sugar cookies), so the dough rolls without sticking.  I can never get mine rolled into perfect squares, so I just roll into a big circle and estimate 2"x2" squares (I use a pizza cutter to cut the dough).  Place each square on a greased cookie sheet.  Spoon 1 teaspoon of apricot preserves onto the center of the square of dough and then fold over two corners to make a diamond-like shape.  It will work best if you "wet" the two corners together so they won't come apart during baking.


Bake at 350* for 10-12 minutes.  They are done when just golden-brown.


Being shared at:
Sweet Treats Thursday
Sweets for Saturday
Sweet Indulgences Sunday
Seasonal Inspiration
Holiday Food Blog Hop
Mouthwatering Monday
Melt in Your Mouth Monday
Naptime Creations 
Crazy Sweet Tuesday
Holly Bloggy Christmas Recipe Party 



7 comments:

  1. These looks beautiful. I love cookies with apricot filling. Thanks for sharing on Sweet Indulgences Sunday.

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  2. They look perfect! But you may need to be a bit more specific about the rolling in sugar part?

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  3. These cookies look and sound amazing. I would love it if you came to link to my holiday recipe swap blog hop. It is my first ever! Love these recipes.
    http://www.mythirtyspot.com
    -Erin Kennedy

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  4. Cookies are always a challenge in my kitchen, these look like a delightful treat! Have a great week!
    http://yvettesblogs.com/2011/12/09/red-rhubarb-pies/

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  5. Ooooh, those look really yummy!

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  6. They look like little turn overs, I think I would love them.

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  7. These are beautiful! Thanks for sharing on Crazy Sweet Tuesday. :)

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