Preparation / Directions:
Preparation time: 1 1/4 hours Cooking time: 10 to 12 minutes
1. Sift flour into a large mixing bowl and make an indentation or well in the center of the flour. Add the sugar, egg yolks, vanilla, salt and lemon rind to the well. Mix the ingredients in the well together with the flour. Then cut in the butter using a pastry cutter or two sharp knives. At this point the dough will resemble coarse crumbs. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead it with your hands until smooth and firm. Divide dough in half and shape into two balls.
2. Wrap tightly in plastic. Refrigerate until firm enough to roll out, about 1 hour.
3. Meanwhile, heat the apricot preserves over low heat, stirring constantly. Stir in lemon juice and rum. Let cool.
4. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Place the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface or between two sheets of floured wax paper. Roll out with a floured rolling pin to about 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out circles of dough about 2 inches in diameter. Place half of the circles onto greased or non-stick cookie sheets. Cut the other half of the circles again with a small shot glass or cookie cutter to form a ring shape. (Make an equal amount of rings to circles.) Place the rings onto buttered baking sheets. Bake until light gold, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool a little on the cookie sheets.
5. To assemble, brush the still-warm circles with the cooled apricot mixture. Place one ring on top of each circle and press gently (they break easily) to secure. Spoon a small dollop of the apricot mixture into the center of the cookies. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. Cool. Store in a tightly closed tin.
Infused with bits of lemon and pure vanilla and filled with apricot preserves and rum, the buttery rounds brought second-place honors to their baker, German-born Anne Kroemer of Chicago. Anne uses a wine glass and a smaller schnapps glass to cut out these cookies. We've made them slightly smaller by using round cookie cutters; biscuit cutters work as well. from the Chicago Tribune sixth annual Food Guide Holiday Cookie Contest December 2,