Summer has arrived! After the obstinate winter and temperamental spring we’ve had this year, I was convinced that New York was going to throw down the humid-est of humid New York summers on us, just to be the cruelest mistress it could possibly be. But instead, the universe has reminded me Cynthia, be a smidge more optimistic — and this summer has been nothing short of spectacular (so far). With the exception of a few rainy days earlier this month, June has been just an abundance of breezy, cool mornings, warm summer nights, and gentle sunshine.
On the table, there’s been tart raspberries and ripe figs, icy-cold affogatos and our first homemade corn on the cob. Off the table, we’ve had lazy afternoon strolls, evenings with cool air wafting in through open windows. A balmy, sun-soaked picnic in Prospect Park, where I met the most incredibly lovely people, gave my shoulders a good toasting, and my heart to this little guy. The days are gloriously long, the kind where you get home after a long productive trek and find that it’s only 3 PM, the sunlight is streaming through the windows, and you still have practically an entire day laid out before you — one of my favorite feelings.
The summeriest holiday of them all is, somehow, already coming up this Friday. (As an aside, is it just me, or do summer holidays become a thousand times more wonderful in the working world?) In celebration, I thought I’d share a blue-and-white recipe that is, if just shy of appropriate for Fourth of July, is at least appropriate for your own summer picnics. I’ve already sung the blackberry-goat cheese song earlier on this blog, but when I came across the idea of using goat cheese in cookies (and was totally, instantly, incurably smitten), it was a pairing I had to revisit.
These cookies went through a little bit of an odyssey to get to where they are. I originally thought I’d use blackberry syrup in Lindsay’s goat cheese sugar cookie to do some kind of blackberry swirl, which was maybe great in theory and messy, melty, and zero percent cute in practice. Then I came upon the idea of thumbprints, but with a sugar cookie base, they looked only like thumbprints before baking and more like diseased sugar-blackberry-discs after. Finally, this batch gave me what I was looking for — a pillowy cookie with less sugar and just the right goat-cheesiness, that cradled just the right amount of blackberry jam and goat cheese in its dimple and held its shape stolidly through baking. Add a touch of raspberry or strawberry jam, and you’d have yourself a grand old Fourth of July cookie, I think. Wishing you all a lovely long weekend.
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 4 tbsp fresh goat cheese, softened
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- for filling:
- 1 cup blackberries
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp fresh goat cheese
- 1-2 tsp milk
- 1 tbsp powdered sugar
- In a bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Set aside.
- Combine sugar, goat cheese, and butter in a large bowl and whisk until mixture is pale and creamy. Whisk in egg yolk and vanilla extract. Fold in the dry ingredients until incorporated and a dough forms. Chill the dough in the refrigerator while you prepare the blackberries.
- Mash the blackberries until they are crushed as much as possible. Combine blackberries, sugar, and lemon juice in a small pot and turn the heat to medium. Simmer for 5-8 minutes, stirring continuously, or until berries have cooked into a thick gel. Set aside and let cool. (The jam will thicken as it cools.)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
- Scoop about a tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball. Place the ball on the cookie sheet and press an indentation in the dough to form a hollow for the jelly. Repeat with the rest of the dough, placing the balls about 1-2 inches apart (they will not spread too much).
- Place about a half-teaspoon of blackberry jam into each of the dough indentations, or enough to fill it. Combine goat cheese, a splash of milk, and powdered sugar in a pinch bowl. Microwave for 10 seconds to make the mixture slightly thinner and easier to swirl. Place a dot of goat cheese (or as much as desired) into each dough hollow. If you like, you can take a toothpick and run it through the cheese to swirl the jam and cheese together.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until cookies are set at the edges. The cookies will be pale and soft, but the cookie should be able to lift away from the sheet and the bottom should be just golden. Let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.