I'm something of a party pooper when it comes to Christmas. I can't stand anything red and green and find Christmas trees universally tacky. Don't even get me started on the rampant Christmas consumerism or we'll be here all day! But I have always had a soft spot for Advent calendars. I like the surprises behind the windows, even if they are just paper windows. So I couldn't resist when the folks at Lexiophiles invited me to participate in their Recipe Advent Calendar. It's a bit like those Cookie of the Day newsletters that I sign up for every year. It doesn't matter that I don't actually make any of those recipes, the surprise of seeing them appear in my email box each day is a treat.
This recipe is one I've been making since college. It's super easy and you can prepare it in no time at all. I've made a few adjustments to it over the years. Most importantly, don't use jelly, use good jam, or better yet, use preserves. I used Oregon Growers delicious Cherry Zinfandel preserves for this batch. It's not boozy, but it has a not-too-sweet adult character that lends itself not just to desserts but also to savory preparations. The original recipe called for margarine, but as you can imagine, it's much better with butter.
By the way, if you too want to receive a new cookie recipe every day, you can sign up for the Cookie Countdown from MyRecipes.com or Holiday Cookie of the Day from Real Simple magazine.
Makes 16 squares
1 1/2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup fruit jam or preserves (strawberry or cherry are good)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut in the butter, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the egg to form a crumbly dough. Grease a 9-inch baking pan and press in 3/4 of the mixture onto the bottom of the pan. Top with jam and evenly spread almost but not quite to the edges of the pan since the jam will spread as it bakes. Top with the remaining crumb mixture. Transfer to oven and bake for 30 minutes or until pale golden brown. Let cool and cut into 16 squares.
To see more recipes in the Recipe Advent Calender just click on the image below.