Preheat oven to 350° degrees with rack in center of oven. Mix together egg yolk, cream and vanilla, and set aside. In bowl of stand mixer, cream together butter, sugar, and salt until light and fluffy, about three minutes, scraping down sides as needed. Add yolk mixture and mix on medium for about 30 seconds, until well incorporated. Turn to low and add flour, a scoop at a time, until well mixed. Dough is ready to use.
USING A COOKIE PRESS:
To shape dough with a cookie press, follow instructions for use. If using jam center, pick a shape that has middle in it, like a flower or shape with a filling spot in the center.
Use a plain cookie sheet pan with no spray or parchment; you want the dough to stick to the cookie sheet. Holding the cookie press on the sheet pan, press trigger to extrude dough. Pull straight up to remove the press. Then go to next spot. Leave at least 1” in between cookies, as they will spread. Repeat until the sheet pan is full. Repeat and fill next sheet pan until all dough is used, or refrigerate for later use.
After forming, the cookie shapes may have rough edges sticking up. Dampen hands or fingers, and gently press down on top of each cookie to clean up the tops. Press with moist thumb or finger in center of cookie to form an indentation where jam will be placed.
USING A PASTRY BAG WITH A LARGE STAR TIP:
Cut off end of bag and insert tip. Fill bag with dough and tie off the end of the bag. Press out a bit of dough on to the sheet pan, then while still pressing a bit, also push into center of cookie and let go while pulling tip straight up. This should form an indentation in the center. Practice as much as you want; reuse the misshaped dough. When the sheet pan is full of cookies, go back with a moist finger and re-press the center indentation.
BAKING: Bake cookies in hot oven for 6 minutes. Fill a pastry bag, or plastic bag with the corner cut, with jam. Remove cookies from oven, set on stove top to help keep warm, and quickly fill centers with jam. Put cookies back in the oven and bake for 5 more minutes, or until edges are starting to turn golden. Remove from oven and cool cookie sheet completely on a rack. Once totally cooled, slightly twist cookies to loosen from sheet pan. Be very gentle to not break cookies. If jam has spilled on to cookie sheet pan, you may need a thin spatula to remove. Store cookies in between layers of wax paper in an airtight container.
For cookie press, form into cylinders that will slide into dough chamber, then wrap in wax paper or plastic wrap, and store in refrigerator. For use in a pastry or plastic bag, just wrap dough airtight and store in refrigerator. Allow dough to return to room temperature before filling cookie press or pastry bag. Put jam in a pastry or plastic bag and secure it closed. This dough can be used as soon as it is made or held for later use, 4 or 5 days in the refrigerator.
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