Napolitaines (Cookies from Mauritius)

Everyone should have a Zareen. What is a Zareen? Well.. they're short and sweet. Always smell good and have super soft hands. Hate vegetables and live on a strange diet of meat, fruit, and sugar. Love to dance with a passion- yet complain if they have to walk 10 feet. There is a strong aversion to exercise. They love being around people... yet are extremely lazy. Zareen's don't like to leave their den too often because they are content chilling on a couch and purring.

Reliable. Funny. Odd. Quirky. Cuddly. Own sense of style.

Oh, and they have to be from Mauritius.

Yes, Zareen's are rare. But if you come across one- hold onto it and treat it with care, because they make life long friends. Plus- they have a strong appreciation for food.

This recipe idea for Napolitaines was bestowed upon me from Zareen. It is a traditional Mauritian cookie. It's essentially two shortbread cookies with jam in the middle, coated in a shell of confectioner's sugar. The cookies are buttery and flaky.

They're very tasty and you'll have a hard time walking away from them. You can pick the jam but I was told Raspberry is the traditional. You can make the coat thick or thin, depending on how long you cook it. I left mine on the thin side, because that's a lot of confectioner's sugar! If you like it thick, check out these. You don't have to use the red food coloring- make them as fun and as cute as you want. You could even cut the cookies into hearts!

150g unsalted butter, super soft (not melted)
250g all purpose flour
50 grams jam, of your choice
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
12 teaspoons cold water
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Food coloring- usually red

For the cookies... Preheat oven 325 degrees. Makes about 15 cookies.

Cut butter into cubes in place to the side. Sift flour in a large bowl. Rub butter into flour with finger tips. Take your time to incorporate the butter until it comes together in a ball. Don't knead it like bread, just bring it all together. If dough is too dry, add more butter. If too sticky, add a little more flour.

Dough should be soft and supple. Set it aside for some 15 mins. Sprinkle flour on a clean surface and gentle roll out into a disc about half an inch thick. Keep it nice and smooth, no cracks.

Use sharp 1.5 inch cookie cutter to punch out circles out of dough. I usually use a cup. Transfer your circles onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cookies are golden. Do not allow them to get brown- so keep an eye on it.

Remove baking tray from oven when done and cool completely. If they're not completely coo, they'll crumble when you try to move them. Carefully remove them. They should be soft and flaky.

Divide into two groups- tops and bottoms.

Slap a dollop of jam in the center of half the cookies. Zareen tells me her family keeps it very thin but I'm in this for the jam, so my serving was a little more generous. Top with a naked cookie.

For the frosting... heat water in a double boiler (or simply heat water and place a heat proof bowl on top) at a medium heat. Add sifted confectioners sugar and stir in water. Stir frequently, until thick, and then add lemon juice and food coloring (one or two drops, it's your call). That baby needs to be thick! Place cookies on wire rack.

The icing will start to set almost instantly. Remember- I didn't let mine thicken all the way because I didn't want a ton of coating. Return bowl to heat if it hardens before you are done. You may add an extra 1/2 tsp of water. Allow icing to set completely before removing from wire rack. Store in an air tight container. Do not store in fridge.