Blueberries are classic matches with lemon, but they are also lovely with orange. I exploit this less-common flavor pairing by making a blueberry jam with a splash of orange juice and orange blossom water. Although optional, I also like to cut fresh blueberries in half and place them cut-side up on the ends. An easy but dynamic way to prepare nuts for garnishing cookies is to coat them with confectioners’ sugar and a splash of liquid. I use that trick to finish these cookies, mixing together sliced almonds and confectioners’ sugar with orange blossom water to enhance the orange blossom water in the jam. I’ve also used the technique with success with pistachios and pepitas, though egg whites can take the place of orange blossom water, if you prefer.
To cut out the cookies, you will need a 2-inch square cookie cutter.
Orange Blossom almonds
To make the filling:
Combine the blueberries, sugar, orange juice, and orange blossom water in a bowl and let macerate for at least 4 hours at room temperature or cover and refrigerate overnight.
Set aside 2 tablespoons or so of the blueberry juice in a small bowl. In a high-sided, heavy pot, heat the fruit mixture over medium-high heat until the juices start to boil. Simmer briefly. Whisk the tapioca starch into the reserved blueberry juice. Stir it into the fruit mixture, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Transfer to a storage container and refrigerate until completely chilled, approximately 1 hour.
To make the cookies:
Put a sheet of parchment paper the same dimensions as a half sheet (13 by 18-inch) pan on the work surface and dust lightly with flour. Unwrap one dough half and place on top.
Using a rolling pin and a pastry roller, roll the dough half into a rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border from the edge of the parchment paper. If the edges become uneven, push a bench scraper against the sides to straighten them out. To keep the dough from sticking to the parchment paper, periodically dust the top lightly with flour, cover with another piece of parchment paper, and, sandwiching the dough between both sheets of parchment paper, flip the dough and paper over. Peel off the top layer of parchment paper and continue to roll. Repeat with the second dough half. Stack both sheets of dough on top of each other and refrigerate until chilled, approximately 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 350°F. Line a few half sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray.
Invert the sheets of dough onto the work surface and peel off the top layer of parchment paper. Using a 2-inch (or comparable) square cookie cutter, cut out the kolachkes. Reroll the scraps, chill for at least 20 minutes, and cut out more squares.
Using an offset spatula, separate a square away from the rest of the dough. Put a generous spoonful of blueberry jam diagonally across the center of the square, from point to point, keeping the other corners free. Fold the empty corners over the top so they overlap and pinch them closed. Place on the prepared sheet pan and repeat with the remaining squares, spacing them on the pans 1 inch apart. Brush the tops with the egg white.
To make the Orange Blossom almonds:
In a bowl, mix together the almonds, confectioners’ sugar, and sea salt. Add just enough orange blossom water to ensure that all of the almonds are damp but not soaking. Generously pile the almonds on top of the kolachkes.
Bake one pan at a time for 15 minutes. Rotate the pan and bake for another 7 to 10 minutes, or until the nuts are golden brown. If the nuts begin to brown too much before the rest of the kolachkes are baked, lower the oven temperature. Let the cookies cool on the sheet pan for 1 to 2 minutes. Using an offset spatula, transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining pans.
Kolachkes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.
makes 2 (13 by 18-inch) sheets of dough
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter on medium speed for 5 to 10 seconds. Add the cream cheese and mix on medium speed to combine, 10 to 15 seconds. Add the sugar and beat on medium speed until aerated, approximately 3 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula to bring the batter together.
On medium speed, add the vanilla, mixing briefly until incorporated. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula to bring the batter together.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour and salts.
Add the flour mixture all at once and mix on low speed until the dough just comes together but still looks shaggy, approximately 30 seconds. Do not overmix. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer. With a plastic bench scraper, bring the dough completely together by hand.
Stretch two sheets of plastic wrap on a work surface. Divide the dough in half (each half will weigh around 14 1/2 ounces) and place a half on each piece of plastic. Pat the dough into rectangles, wrap tightly, and refrigerate until chilled throughout, at least 2 hours or up to 1 week.
Reprinted with permission from Cookie Love by Mindy Segal with Kate Leahy, copyright (c) 2015. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. Photography (c) 2015 by Dan Goldberg.