Who put their finger in my cookie?

Who put their *thumb* in my *thumbprint* cookie that is. Welcome to more holiday baking! And more little cookies that you just can’t stop snacking on because they’re just so small and so itty bitty cute…damn you inevitable holiday weight gain for making me feel guilty for such things!

These cookies are filled with buttery goodness and can be made with different kinds of jams, nuts, and even toasted coconut, which leads to an endless assortment of flavor combinations. My sister and I included these on our list of holiday baking (see Butterballs for more on that) and thought that we would be able to bake them without the jam, freeze them until Christmas time, and add the jam after thawing them (that sounds like such a tasty process when I put it that way, doesn’t it?). However, it turns out that if you bake thumbprints without the jam (I almost typed ham…and that would just be awful…you should never bake thumbprints with ham), the “thumbprints” you create actually rise and leave little space to add the filling. The recipe and procedure I’ll give you below came from a combination of trial, error, and Simplyrecipes.com.

Stuff You’ll Need

Makes 18 tablespoon-sized cookies

  • 1 cup or 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated and at room temperature (you will only need the whites if you are coating the cookies with chopped nuts or flaked coconut)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup of your favorite jam (we used peach-mango jam and raspberry preserves)
  • 1-2 cookie sheets
  • Parchment paper

How to Do It

  1. Cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the egg yolks and vanilla to the butter and sugar, and whip until blended.
  3. Gradually add the flour and salt, and mix until the ingredients are just blended but not thoroughly mixed in (you should still be able to see flour). Remove the dough from the mixing bowl, and lightly knead it with your hands until the dough is uniform. Wrap it in plastic wrap, and place it in the refrigerator to rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees while the dough is resting, and line the cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and break into small pieces to form mounds that are approximately 1″ in diameter, or about a tablespoon-sized ball.
  6. Round the mounds before placing them on the paper, and press your thumb into the center of each mound to make a small well (or “thumbprint”!) for the jam. The cookies will spread slightly when baked so be sure to give them 1 1/2-2″ between each.
  7. Fill the wells with jam (approximately 1/2 tsp for each).
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. Remove from the oven, and let the cookies cool slightly in the pan before transferring them to a wire cooling rack.

Tip: Be creative with these! The cookies themselves are buttery and rich, but not very sweet so play with the different kinds of jams/preserves you add to the center. If you want to cover the cookies in chopped nuts, you’ll need to use egg whites and cover before adding the jam. Whip the egg whites slightly with a fork until they’re a little frothy, and dip the rounded balls of dough. Roll them in chopped nuts, and place them on the cookie sheet. Continue with the rest of the procedure for adding the jam and baking.

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