About the Recipe
These buttery, melt in your mouth Swiss shortbread cookies are probably my number one favorite of all the Christmas cookies. Growing up, these were always the first to go. In German, they are called "Spitzbuebe" which translates to "mischievous boy". I've read that they are likely named that way because they are sometimes made with three circular cut outs instead of one, which then make them look like they have a little mischievous face. My theory is that they are named this way because they look like someone poked their finger through the top to get to the jam. Who knows. Whatever the reason, I love the name and I love the cookies. They are both beautiful and delicious. Growing up, we either made them with apricot jam or raspberry jam. Both pair wonderfully with the buttery shortbread. My personal favorite is the apricot, so I tend to make more of those. The sweet tangy flavor of the apricots goes so well with the smooth and creamy shortbread. To top it off the cookies are frosted with a light sweet lemony glaze. The whole thing is just cookie perfection.
You'll need two different sized cookie cutters for this baking project. One for the size of the cookie and the other to cut out the holes. If you can, you can use a few different shapes for the holes. I always love a bit of variety. However, if you do not have a variety of cutters, you can make-shift something using a small drinking glass for cutting out the cookies and a piping nozzle or even a straw to cut out the holes for the tops.
Even though one batch can make quite a few cookies, I promise that they will not last long, so you may want to think of doubling up. Let me know if you try them and what you think. I have a feeling you'll like them as much as I do.
250g butter (room temperature)
150g granulated sugar
1 egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla
Apricot or Raspberry Jam
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2-4 Tablespoons lemon juice
In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar. Mix until well combined. Next, incorporate the egg white and vanilla. Once smooth, add the flour bit by bit until you have a smooth dough. (As many of you know, I like to use my hands but if you have a nice fancy machine with a dough blade, that will do nicely as well).
Put the dough in the fridge and chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 375F.
Lightly flour your work surface and rolling pin so that the dough does not stick. Carefully roll out your dough until it is about 4mm thick. (I usually cut my dough into smaller chunks and roll it out in batches). Use a round cookie cutter (about 5cm big) and cut out your circles. (If you do not have a round cutter, you can also use a small drinking glass to form your circles). Make sure to make an even number of circles as you will need two for each cookie.
Next, use a smaller cookie cutter to cut out a shape in the center of half the circles. If you do not have a small cookie cutter, the back of a piping nozzle works wonderfully! These cookies will be the tops. (The bottoms will be the ones that don't have the centers cut out). Place your cookie circles on a lined baking sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly golden.
Let cool completely before you fill and glaze them.
Once cool, you can build your cookies!
Take a teaspoon of jam and place it on top of one of the bottom cookies (no hole). Then place one of the top cookies on top and sandwich together.
The final step is to glaze the top of the cookies. Make the glaze by mixing together the powdered sugar with the lemon juice. Start with two tablespoons of lemon juice and add until your reach your preferred consistency. I like mine just runny enough to be able to lightly paint the top. Careful though, when it comes to powdered sugar, a little juice goes a long way, so do a bit at a time. If ever you over-juice, you can always add in more powdered sugar to thicken it up again. Use a pastry brush (if you have one), to paint a thin layer of glaze on the tops of each cookie. Try to avoid painting over the hole in the center as you do not want to cover the beautiful jam.
Let the glaze dry and serve!
These are definitely always a favorite, so they do not last long in my house. But you can store them in an airtight container. For ideal freshness, consume within a week of making.