Cookie Calendar: Butter and Jam Thumbprints

I came across this recipe in my investigation of Food Network's 12 Days of Cookies newsletter, which I'll be discussing in a few future entries here. I made these particular cookies last Christmas (2006) for the cookie swap at the school where I taught third grade.

I realize, these are perhaps not the best cookie for a cookie exchange, as you really can't stack them willy-nilly in a take-home container. In fact, I placed them in a single layer in a special box just to get them to school in the first place, which should have told me something.

Still, I couldn't resist showing off with this beautiful, beautiful cookie. It made fewer than I expected (I think I might have ended up bringing a second batch of something else to make up for the shortfall), considering that some came out "too messy" to give away to anyone but my and Scott's mouths.

I used strawberry jam for some of my batch and my favorite Ikea lingonberry jam for the rest (lingonberry tastes a lot like cranberry to me, and what better flavor for the holidays?). Both produced a lovely ruby-red jewel tone in the center of each cookie, with a berry flavor that complemented the sandy, buttery baked dough.

You should probably make these no more than three days before you plan to serve them so you can store them in a single layer at room temperature. They're magnets for crumbs with that jam center, so you must be careful. With all the jostling in the freezer, I found that a similar recipe for thumbprints I made a few years before just weren't good sub-zero survivors.

Cookie Tip #14: Cookies made with butter are especially prone to spreading, which is why many recipes recommend chilling your dough after mixing and whenever you're not specifically using it. Another way to minimize spreading is to make sure your cookie sheets are no warmer than room temperature when you put your raw dough on them. Achieving this can be tough when you're constantly swapping sheets during the holidays, so here's the trick: Clear some space in your freezer (you're never going to eat those leftovers anyway!) and stick each emptied tray in there for just a minute or two before placing on fresh dough. The freezer will suck the heat out of an aluminum tray lickety split!

Butter and Jam Thumbprints
Source: Food Network
Yield: 24 to 30 cookies

  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon fine salt

  • ¾ cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened

  • ⅔ cup sugar, plus more for rolling

  • 1 large egg

  • ½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped from pod, or 1/8 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • ⅓ cup raspberry, cherry or strawberry jam

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.

In another bowl, whip the butter and the sugar with a hand-held mixer until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla until just combined. Slowly beat in the dry ingredients in 2 additions, mixing just until incorporated.

Scoop the dough into 1-inch balls with a cookie or ice cream scoop and roll in sugar. Place about 2-inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Press a thumbprint into the center of each ball, about 1/2-inch deep. Fill each indentation with about 3/4 teaspoon jam.

Bake cookies until the edges are golden, about 15 minutes. (For even color, rotate the pans from top to bottom about halfway through baking.) Cool cookies on the baking sheets. Serve.

Store cookies in a tightly sealed container for up to 5 days.

Download Butter and Jam Thumbprints into MacGourmet.

No comments: