Saturday, April 19, 2014

Thumbprint Cookies

When we have dinner at Architect’s house, it’s always my turn to bring dessert.  You might remember that I almost burned her house down with some flaming banana thing I made once.  It was good.  Dangerous, but good.

This time, however, I chose a less reckless option, Thumbprint Cookies.

Let me tell you why I chose to make Thumbprint Cookies.  

The local grocery store was having a sale, 2 for $5, on the specialty jam from France I like, Bonne Manam.  I especially like the fig, but they’re all good.  Also, the jam comes in these great jars that I use for glasses after we devour the contents.  

My collection is growing…I have four, or six if you count the still-full jars.

So, not wanting to pass up the opportunity to stock up and knowing it was my turn to make dessert next, I pondered what I could make using my bargain find.  I searched the Internet for “what to make using jam” and there they were.

And that is the story of how I made Thumbprint Cookies.

I bought Apricot Raspberry and Fig and I used the Fig for the yummy cookies I brought for dessert.  I divided the dough in half and put half in the freezer.  Younger daughter and I will make the other half of the dough today, using the Apricot Raspberry this time.

The origin of the thumbprint cookie, also known as a “bird’s nest” is disputable.  Some say the cookie originated in Poland others say the Swedes invented this cookie that they refer to as Hallongrotta, meaning “raspberry cave.”  Regardless of the origin, the name makes perfect sense…..balls of dough, sometimes rolled in nuts, coconut or sugar, with a indentation pressed in the center with your thumb, filled with jam before baking, hence the name “thumbprint.”  Here's another batch I made and rolled in coconut before baking.  That's what the Barefoot Contessa does.

The recipe below says to use room temperature eggs.  I forgot and wondered why this is important.  Room temperature eggs will combine with the batter more easily and evenly, creating a lighter texture that bakes more quickly.  If, like me, you forget to take your eggs out of the fridge before you are ready to make these cookies, no worries, just add them to a bowl of warm water for 10 minutes or so. 

I will write about the amazing raviolis Architect made next.  Simply delicious.

Thumbprint Cookies
From:  all
Makes 2 dozen

1 cup of butter (2 sticks or 8 ounces), room temperature
1/2 cup of sugar
2 eggs, room temperature 
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
2 cups of flour
1 cup of chopped nuts, coconut or sugar (optional)
3/4 cup of your favorite jam
Parchment paper

Cream the butter and sugar on high speed for about 3 minutes.

Separate the eggs. Add the yolks and vanilla extract to the butter mixture. If using nuts place the egg whites in a shallow dish on the side and whisk them until bubbly and frothy (the egg whites will be used to keep the nuts on the cookies).

Add the flour and salt. Mix until just combined. Place the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes and preheat the oven to 350F.

Roll the dough into balls about 1 inch in diameter. If using nuts, coconut, or sugar, dip the balls into the egg whites then roll them into the nuts, coconut or sugar until covered. Place the balls on parchment lined cookie sheets.

Press down with your thumb to make a small well in the center of the cookie. Do not press too hard or the cookie will fall apart. Fill with 1/2 teaspoon of jam.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until slightly firm. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet to firm up before moving them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

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