Times-tested cookies perfect for holiday giving.

Apricot-Sage Cookies

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons snipped fresh sage, lemon thyme or rosemary, or 2 teaspoons dried sage or rosemary, crushed
3 tablespoons milk
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water
Fresh sage leaves (optional)
2 teaspoons apricot preserves

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar and cornmeal. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs and starts to cling. Stir in herbs. Add milk and stir with a fork to combine. Form mixture into a ball and knead dough until smooth. Divide dough in half.

On a lightly floured surface, roll half of the dough at a time to 1/8-inch thickness. Using a 21/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out dough.

In a small bowl, combine the egg white and water. Brush half of the cookies with the egg-white mixture. Place a small sage leaf or two on each cookie, if desired. Brush leaves with egg-white mixture. Sprinkle with sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake in a 375-degree oven about 7 minutes, or until edges are firm and bottoms are very lightly browned. Transfer cookies to a wire rack; cool.

Snip any large pieces of fruit in preserves. Spread apricot preserves on the bottom of each cookie without a sage leaf. Top preserves layer with a sage leaf-topped cookie, bottom side down. Makes 16 (21/2-inch) sandwich cookies.

Times testing notes: Only experienced bakers should attempt this cookie. We found the dough a bit crumbly and had to add more milk to get it to stick together. Also, rolling it to 1/8-inch thick was tough; ours are thicker and therefore had to be baked longer (10 to 11 minutes). Nevertheless, they are lovely to look at and offer an unexpected flavor on the cookie platter.

Source: “Cookies for Christmas” by Jennifer D. Darling (Meredith Books, 1999).

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