Yugoslavian Christmas Cookies

This is an unusual and incredibly sublime cookie.  I had these for the first time over ten years ago at a neighborhood Christmas cookie swap.  When I took my first bite, I remember, I almost swooned!  I loved that they were so unusual.  The crunchy nut and meringue topping over the berry shortbread crust was divine.  But there was something else.... something I couldn't put my taste buds on!  I found out later, when my sweet neighbor Linnell gave me the recipe.  It was the clean, crisp addition of lemon extract.  That little addition took these cookies from delicious to, in my ever so almost humble opinion, sublime.  I hope you give these a try.  They're great all year round, btw!

1/2 pound butter-softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour
4 egg whites
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup ground walnuts
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 cup blackberry jelly (or your choice)
1/4 cup walnuts-chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cream butter and sugar together thoroughly; add egg yolk and salt and combine.  Add flour and combine.  Pat mixture into a 9X13 inch pan.
3. Beat egg whites until stiff.  Gradually add 1 cup sugar.  Continue to beat until you reach a meringue consistency.  Gently fold in ground walnuts and lemon extract.
4. Spread jelly over dough mixture in pan.
5. Swirl meringue over jelly.  Sprinkle with chopped walnuts.
6. Bake for about 40 minutes.

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