Friends had us over for cocktails before Christmas, and made several of the fabulous cocktail cookies featured in Food and Wine magazine - the chocolate cayenne flavor gave my kids quite a surprise - but they were all delicious, and paired perfectly with the cocktails and wine our friends served. I couldn't wait to try the recipes, and made these apricot tarragon flavored ones. I served them with cheese, as an appetizer, for friends we had for dinner recently, and also froze some of the dough, pulled it out and cooked up the cute rounds when I invited a friend over last minute for a glass of wine - perfect!
APRICOT TARRAGON COCKTAIL COOKIES
1/2 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped tarragon leaves
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick butter, softened
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup olive oil
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups flour
In a small bowl, cover the apricots with hot water and let stand for 10 minutes, until they are plump. Transfer the apricots to paper towels to drain.
In another small bowl, rub the tarragon leaves into the sugar until they are moist and aromatic. In a standing mixer, beat the butter with the tarragon sugar at low speed until creamy. Beat in the egg yolk until just combined, about 1 minute. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and beat until smooth. Add the salt and flour and beat until just incorporated. Using a large spatula, fold in the apricots.
Turn the cookie dough out onto a work surface and knead until it just comes together. Divide the dough in half and press each half into a disk. Roll out each disk between 2 sheets of wax paper to about 1/4 inch thick. Slide the discs onto a baking sheet and freeze for at least and hour, until very firm.
Heat the oven to 350F, and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with one piece of cookie dough at a time, peel off the top sheet of wax paper. Using a 1 1/2 inch round cookie cutter, stamp out the cookies as close together as possible. Arrange the cookies 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheets.
Bake the cookies for about 20 minutes, until they are lightly golden. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 3 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe adapted from Food and Wine, November 2011