First cousins Hilde Schwartz of Texas and Marion Cohen of New York grew up in Hamburg, Germany, and emigrated to America in the late 1930s with their parents just before the gates closed for Jews to leave. They shared this family favorite Passover cookie recipe with my daughter Ellen Cohen, Marion’s daughter-in-law, who then shared the recipe with me. Not being an experienced baker myself, I remember my mother once telling me that if you can read a recipe, you can bake or cook. I took her advice and made this delicious Passover dessert. The squares do freeze well. My suggestion for the novice baker: take out the butter to let it stand a couple of hours to become soft.
1/2 pound unsalted butter (2 sticks)
2 egg yolks
1 cup sugar
2 cups sifted matzah cake meal (when not made for Passover, use flour)
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1 teaspoon vanilla
13-ounce jar of Bonne Maman apricot preserves
¼ cup lemon juice
Preheat oven to 325 F. Using a Mixmaster or portable electric mixer, combine first six ingredients to make the dough.
Combine lemon juice with apricot preserves and set aside in a bowl.
Spread ¾ of the dough on the bottom of a greased 9-by-13-inch jelly roll pan, going to the edges of the pan.
Bake the dough for 20 minutes.
Take out of pan and spread the apricot-lemon juice mixture on top.
Take the rest of the dough, about ¼ left, which should be crumbly, and sprinkle on the top of the apricot-lemon juice mixture.
Bake another 25 minutes.
When cool, cut into squares. (Hilde likes making the squares large, about “2 fingers” wide).