Just Desserts

Apricot Crowned Jewels

By Charlotte on January 20, 2015 6:55 AM

A lady's maid to do your hair, fancy dresses for dinner and footmen who serve the most lavish meals, I'm fascinated by everything about PBS' Downton Abbey. What a life!

Lady Mary and the others lucky enough to call upstairs home even have an excuse, make that a responsibility, to snack before dinner called high tea. Forget carrot sticks. I'm talkin' biscuits, scones and cookies like these divine Apricot Crowned Jewels from Larry Edwards' Edwardian Cooking: The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook (Arcade Publishing, November 2012, $16.95).

These slightly sweet, cream cheese-butter cookies are rolled in ground almonds and filled with tart apricot preserves.

Ready to Eat-600.jpgWant to give your family a little royal treatment? You can bake theses gems with seven, basic ingredients: flour, butter (I used two sticks of the real thing), cream cheese, sugar, salt, apricot preserves and almonds. You will have to plan ahead because the dough needs 30 minutes in the fridge. But there's no real work involved if you have a stand mixer for making the dough and a food processor or something similar for grinding the almonds.

You use flour, butter, cream cheese, sugar and salt to make the cookie dough. Then roll the cookies in ground almonds and fill with apricot preserves. 

Apricot Crowned Jewel Ingredients-600.jpgYou roll the slightly sweet, cream cheese dough in the ground almonds. Then make an indention for the fruit filling with your index finger. I used Smucker's Apricot Spreadable Fruit instead of preserves. You could also go for strawberry, blueberry or just about any other fruit but apricot was a favorite in Edwardian times.

If you're thinking "that sounds like classic thumbprint cookies," you're right. But these shortbread-like gems are even better than other recipes I've tried. They bake in 15 minutes and there's no guessing about whether or not they're done. You just pull them out of the oven when the timer goes off and move them to a wire rack to cool.

Although the recipe says it makes 24, we wound up with 30 pretty little pastries that practically melt in your mouth. Yum! Although I can't justify eating them mid-afternoon like the folks at Downton Abbey, these apricot preserve-filled dreams make a delightful dessert.


Apricot Crowned Jewels

Makes 24 cookies


IReady to Eat-600.jpgngredients:


1.   Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon sheet.

2.   In a medium bowl, whisk the flour and salt.

3.   In a mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, butter and sugar until combined.

4.   Add the flour and beat until it forms a soft dough.

5.   Place the dough into the refrigerator and chill 30 minutes.

6.   Remove walnut-size portions of the dough and roll into a ball.

7.   Roll the dough into the coarsely ground almonds and place on the prepared baking sheet.

8.   Using your index finger, make an indentation in the middle of each ball and fill with preserves.

9.   Place into the oven and bake 15 minutes.

10. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack until ready to serve.

Recipe* from

Edwardian Cooking: The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook

Edwardian Cooking 9781628723168 350.jpgAuthor: Larry Edwards

Other Works: Chef Larry Edwards is the food editor for the San Francisco Independent. He also writes a syndicated internet food column and frequently contributes to the Wall Street Journal food section and USA Today.

Publisher: Arcade Publishing, an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing Inc.

Penned: November 2012

What's Inside: 80 delicious recipes inspired by the magic and majesty of the PBS Masterpiece series Downton Abbey. This royal fare includes elegant sandwiches and sweets traditionally served at high tea as well as impressive breads, soups, sides, entrees and desserts that could've graced Lord Grantham's dinner table.

You'll find tasty recipes for English Rum Balls, Majestic Potato Soup, Shredded Spiced Brussels Sprouts, Downton Pheasant Casserole and much more. Although these showpieces capture the flavor of Edwardian times, you don't need downstairs help to prepare them. Adapted for today's cooks, they're surprisingly easy to make.

Time Out: 168 pages

Available: $16.95 where books are sold

* Courtesy Edwardian Cooking by Larry Edwards © 2012 Arcade Publishing. Reprinted with publisher permission.

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