Alright I'm finally starting the Christmas cookie posts! Yes unfortunately they're a bit late but delicious cookies are always wanted right?
These cookies were made specifically for my boyfriend. I, for some reason, have been anti-jam in or on things (except peanut butter & jam sandwiches) for quite a while. Jam on cookies or in baked goods was an especially atrocious act. Thumbprint cookies were the epitome of baked goods I did not want to eat or make. Last year I made thumbprint cookies with my friend but we didn't put any jam. But I thought they'd be something my boyfriend would really enjoy so I told him I'd make them for him this Christmas. (This story ends with me accepting jam in and on baked goods and enjoying the jam on this cookie.)
I used the same recipe that I used the first time from a Martha Stewart cookie magazine, omitting the nuts. But for some reason, this time the dough was really crumbly. There was no way I'd be able to roll it into a ball and not have it fall apart when I made a thumbprint in it. I have no idea what went wrong since they were so easy to make the last time. I thought I might have measured the flour with the wrong measuring cup but I don't think I did. Anyway, I decided to make it easy on myself and just press the dough into a pan and bake it, then spread it with strawberry jam and make a mess of white chocolate on top of that. The white chocolate didn't drizzle as I'd wanted it to (I added a bit of butter) but ah well.
It actually turned out quite tasty! And I was happy that I was able do something creative about my mistake. My mom was really addicted to it and told me I wasn't allowed to give any of it away. I was really happy with how the cookie turned out. Kind of shortbread-y. And I even liked the jam on it. I initially tried to cut the giant cookie into pieces but realized that wasn't going to work. My boyfriend then came up with the name cookie bark for it, so we broke it into pieces and that was that.
I really want to try making jam thumbprint cookies again, hopefully successfuly! I've also seen a pistachio thumbprint recipe that has white chocolate ganache instead of jam that I want to make (The Good Cookie) and chocolate strawberry thumbprints. Try making these thumbprint cookies, either the original way or as a bar (much easier but not as cute)!
adpated from Martha Stewart Holiday Cookies 2005
Note: This dough has to be refrigerated for 2 hours.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg, separated, each part lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup toasted skinned hazelnuts, ground*
strawberry (or whatever kind you like) jam, for filling
Preheat the oven to 325F. Put butter and 1/2 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment: mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg yolk and vanilla, and mix well. Reduce speed to low. Add flour and salt, and mix until just combined. Refrigerate dough for 2 hours.
Stir together toasted hazelnuts and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar in a small bowl. Roll dough into 1 inch balls: dip balls in egg white, then in hazelnut-sugar mixture. Space 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Press down center of each ball with your thumb. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven: press down centers again with the end fo a wooden spoon. Return to oven. bake cookies until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes mroe. Let cool slightly on sheets on wire racks. Fill each center with jam. Cookeis can be stored in a single layer in airtight containers at room temperature up to 2 days.
*You could easily use any nut you like here I think. Grind the hazelnuts with the 2 tablespoons of sugar to avoid the hazelnut turning into a paste/hazelnut butter. Or just finely chop the nuts.
To make cookie bark: Omit the hazelnuts and 2 tablespoons sugar. Press the dough into a parchment paper lined 9x13 dish. Bake for about 15-18 minutes or until firm enough. (Sorry I can't remember exactly how long I baked it for and I think I did it for too long.) Once cool, spread a thin layer of jam over the entire cookie. If you want, drizzle chocolate on top as well, then break into pieces.