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Swedish Almond Jam Strips

(recipe, Greg Patent)


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Introduction

These classic buttery Swedish cookies, called syltängder med mandel, are as addictive as potato chips. The tender yet crunchy cookies filled with tangy sweet raspberry jam are an irresistible taste and texture combination. Helena Hoas, who emigrated from Sweden more than 20 years ago, makes these regularly. She shapes the dough lovingly, as though she were dressing a baby. She makes the troughs to contain the jam by running a fingertip slowly up and down the lengths of dough, and she fills them with just the right amount of jam. “You have to be careful not to put in too much,” she says, “or the jam will overflow and the cookies won’t be as pretty as they should be.” The cookies are best when very fresh. “They are very easy to make,” Helena says. “I just make sure there’ll be lots of people around to eat them all.”

Ingredients

    Dough
    1. ¾ cup unblanched almonds
    2. 15 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
    3. ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
    4. ¼ tsp. salt
    5. 1⅔ cups unbleached all-purpose flour (spooned into the cups and leveled)
    6. ¾ to 1 cup seedless raspberry jam
    Glaze
    1. 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
    2. ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
    3. 1 Tbsp. boiling water, plus more if needed

    Steps

    1. Adjust an oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a large (17-by-14–inch) cookie sheet with a silicone baking-pan liner or cooking parchment.
    2. Grind the almonds to a fine powder using a nut grinder. Lacking that, process them to a powder with 3 tablespoons of the sugar in a food processor fitted with the metal blade (beat the remaining sugar into the butter). Be careful not to overprocess them, or they may turn pasty.
    3. In a medium bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and salt and beat for 2 to 3 minutes, until fluffy. Scrape the bowl. On low speed, beat in the almonds. Gradually beat in the flour, beating only until incorporated.
    4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into a thick disk. Divide the dough into 4 portions, and roll each piece into a log about 12 inches long and 1 inch wide. Put the logs crosswise onto the prepared sheet, leaving about 3 inches of space between them.
    5. Leaving the ends of the rolls intact, make a shallow depression down the length of each roll about ½-inch wide and ½-inch deep. You can use a fingertip or the handle of a wooden spoon, and you may need to go up and down the length of each roll 2 or 3 times. Don’t make the trough too deep, or the rolls may crack. Use a small spoon to fill the depressions with the jam. The jam should be only a tiny bit higher than the rims of the troughs; if you use too much, it will run down the sides of the rolls during baking.
    6. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the rolls are a light golden brown. Rotate the sheet front to back once during baking to ensure even browning. Remove the pan from the oven and set it on a wire cooling rack.
    7. As soon as the rolls come out of the oven, make the glaze. Whisk the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and boiling water together in a small bowl. Gradually add a little more water if necessary to make a glaze the consistency of heavy cream. Spoon the icing over the jam, not the sides of the rolls. You may not need to use all the glaze. Cool the rolls for 5 minutes.
    8. Using a large cookie sheet as a spatula, transfer the rolls to a cutting surface. Use a sharp heavy knife to cut the hot rolls at an angle into cookies about 1¼ inches wide. Cool completely on wire racks.

    Note

    Stored airtight at room temperature, the cookies will remain fresh for a few days.