So I discovered in the researching of this post that Peek Freans Fruit Cremes cookies are a Canadian/British thing. I had this whole spiel in my head about how the first time I spotted this Dorie Greenspan recipe, I thought it was a fancy version of a Fruit Creme and thus quickly ignored it because I do not like Fruit Cremes.
But in my searching for a link to reference “Peek Freans Fruit Cremes” I discovered that there are no “Peek Freans” cookies in the states.
And thus, my oh so relatable post become notably less relatable to most of my readers. At least, according to the metrics that WordPress collects for me, most of my readers access my blog from America.
So instead, I will explain to you what a Peek Freans Fruit Creme is. Exciting, I know.
Picture a huge plate of various packaged cookies, decoratively fanned out on a platter and located between a tray of cut fruit and a chocolate mousse cake from that pretty okayish bakery next to the convenience store. One may find such plates at parties held by your parents’ friends’ or that random second-cousin’s house whose spouse’s name you can never remember.
These plates never contain something common like an Oreo. They typically are 75% danish shortbread from a fancy Christmas tin (most likely given as a present earlier that evening) and 25% grocery store cookies, often by Nabisco or Pepperidge Farm.
Or in Canada, Mr. Christie or Peek Freans.
Peek Freans Fruit Cremes always seemed to be there. I think it’s because they looked fancy, but unfortunately were actually just an overly sugary cream sandwiched between two dry shortbread cookies with a circle of sugary jam on top that was more chewy than it was fruity.
I was the sort of kid that would eat almost anything I was given as long as it had sugar it in it, but I did not eat Peek Freans Fruit Cremes.
It’s not that they were bad exactly, it’s that they were supremely mediocre, and I had a certain number of sweets I could take before my mom told me I had eaten too many. I wasn’t about to waste that sweets allowance on a mediocre cookie.
So back to the earlier story, I thought these cookies were fancy Fruit Cremes, so I immediately flipped past them, dismissing them as also mediocre. It was a completely irrational reaction as there’s nothing conceptually wrong with Fruit Cremes, and they were by Dorie Greenspan, so they had to be fabulous, but I couldn’t fight my crazy anti-nostalgia reaction.
Turns out that they’re not even fancy Fruit Cremes. They are in fact shortbready and jammy, but they have something even better than cream. They have streusel.
And with that, they are on the other side of the spectrum from the Fruit Cremes, easily worth all of my sweets allowance.
And now you know what Peek Freans Fruit Cremes are. Don’t you feel enriched?
(Really, don’t concern yourself all the stuff about Fruit Cremes and just make these cookies now. DO it.)
Beurre and Sel Jammer
Recipe from Dorie Greenspan via Bon Appetit Magazine
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 large egg yolks, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
Streusel and Assembly
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 5 1/2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup thick jam, such as lingonberry, apricot, orange marmalade, and blackberry (I used raspberry and blackberry)
- A 2-inch cookie cutter; 3 standard 12-cup muffin tins (I just reused 2 tins)
- Cookie Dough: Using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat butter in a large bowl until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add both sugars and salt; beat until well blended, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to low; beat in egg yolks and vanilla. Add flour and mix just to combine. Dough will be soft and slightly sticky.
- Divide dough in half. Place each half between sheets of parchment or waxed paper. Flatten dough into disks. Working with 1 disk at a time, roll out dough, occasionally lifting paper on both sides for easy rolling, until 1/4 inches thick.(Make sure you don’t roll it any thinner than 1/4 inch, the flavours of the cookie don’t come through as well if you go thinner and become more of a crust for the jam, which isn’t bad, but isn’t as delicious as it could be!)
Freeze dough in paper until firm, at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD: Dough can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep frozen.
- Streusel: Mix flour, sugar, and salt in a small mixing bowl. Using your fingertips, rub butter and vanilla into dry ingredients until no large lumps remain and butter is well incorporated. Streusel will be sandy and hold its shape when pressed between your fingers. Cover and chill. DO AHEAD: Streusel can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.
- Assembly: Arrange a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 350°.
- Using cookie cutter, cut out rounds of frozen dough from freezer. Place rounds in bottom of muffin cups and gently pat to flatten. Continue cutting frozen dough into rounds; gather scraps and repeat process of rolling out and cutting to make 34 rounds. Cover muffin tins with foil and chill in freezer until dough is firm, about 30 minutes or up to 2 days.
- Spoon about 1 teaspoon jam into the center of each round of dough. Using your fingers or a small spoon, sprinkle 1-1 1/2 tablespoons streusel around edges of each cookie, trying not to get any in the jam.
- Bake cookies, in batches if needed, until sides and streusel are golden, 20-22 minutes. Let cool in tins for 15 minutes. Run a small knife around edges of muffin cups; gently remove cookies and let cool completely on a wire rack. DO AHEAD: Cookies can be baked 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.