By Cindy Valdez
The first Rule of Cooking that I explain to my children when teaching them how to cook something new is, “Read the instructions all the way through before you do anything else.”
The Jelly Roll Cookie recipe that I made today taught me that I need to be reminded of this rule every now and again, too.
It’s a super simple recipe with a small number of ingredients and also happens to be very similar to another slice and bake cookie I made over the holidays, so as I was skimming over the instructions I figured I knew what I was doing and just jumped in without even finishing reading them.
Start by creaming together one stick of butter (I used unsalted) and one stick of margarine with two three-ounce packages of cream cheese.
I used very cold ingredients and sliced into chunks before throwing them in the food processor would help to speed up the creaming process.
Add two cups of sifted flour (one cup at a time) to the butter and cream cheese mixture and mix until combined.
Here’s where I began to mess this up royally…
Put the dough, mixing bowl and all, into the refrigerator for 2 1/2 – 3 hours. (I wanted to hasten the process so I put the dough on wax paper, patted it into a bit of a round, wrapped it up and put it in the freezer for about an hour.
Just before getting wrapped up and going into the freezer.
Divide dough into two equal parts and roll out each. (I didn’t divide the dough and I’m pretty sure this was a crucial step; dividing the dough would’ve made for much thinner, more delicate dough once rolled out which probably would’ve resulted in a light and airy cookie…not at all what I ended up with.)
Generously spread one 12 ounce jar of guava jelly on top of both of the rolled out dough (but not too heavily). Sprinkle with 1/4 lb. of chopped pecans.
Roll up dough (each roll is usually about a foot long). Place in greased pan and refrigerate overnight. (Again, in an effort to speed this along — who wants to wait til the next day to eat cookies? — I put the rolled up dough in the freezer. Besides, slicing dough that’s been chilled in the freezer is so smooth and easy.)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice cookies and place on greased cookie sheet (I used parchment paper instead, though I don’t think it made any difference one way or the other), bake 10 – 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Pre-baking; instead of looking like jelly rolls they look more like jelly flops. I’m guessing this has something to do with the weight of the dough.
As I’m sure you can imagine, given the density of the dough since I didn’t bother to halve it, I needed the full 15 minutes of bake time plus an additional three minutes just to get the dough baked through. Of course, by the time it was done, the jelly had all but melted into a congealed film of goo on the parchment paper; only the cookies with pecans held onto the guava jelly.
After cooling, I did a little taste testing to see whether or not the taste was affected by my mistakes. The jelly only cookies were bland and pretty flavorless, but the cookies with the pecans were actually quite good. These would probably taste considerably better had I made them the way they’re supposed to be made.
So, since I have all of the ingredients on hand to make these a second time, I’ll give it another go tomorrow, this time following all of the directions as written. I’ll post an update as soon as they’re done.
Moral of the story? Read the instructions all the way through before you do anything else.
Jelly Roll Cookies (The Gasparilla Cookbook, p. 278)
1 stick butter
1 stick margarine
2 3-ounce packages of cream cheese
2 cups sifted flour
1 12-ounce jar of guava jelly (good idea to have second jar on hand in case you need extra)
1/4 pound of chopped pecans
Cream together butter, margarine and cream cheese. Mix in flour 1 cup at a time. Set in refrigerator for 2.5 to 3 hours. Divide dough into 2 parts and roll out each. Spread jelly on top of dough generously but not too heavily. Sprinkle nuts on top of jelly. Roll up dough (each roll is usually about a foot long). Place in greased pan. Refrigerate over night. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice cookies and place on greased cookie sheet. Cook 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 3 to 4 dozen.