Today's cookie is not usually anyone's favorite cookie but it's a cookie that I enjoy from time to time.
Thumbprint cookies with Peach Preserves & Homemade Strawberry Jam
The main difference between my thumbprint cookies and OPCs (Other People's Cookies) is that I do NOT bake the jam in my thumbprints. Sure, it makes for potential for more mess--cookies sticking together if you don't keep them in a single level, jam tumbling out of the cookie--but it's a mess that's worth it. A friend pointed out that baking the jam concentrates the flavor of the jam but it also makes the jam turn gummy and have that 3 years old mouth feel. Blah. Not for me. I like my jam to be bright and fresh tasting in my thumbprints.
If you prefer the 3 year old jam feel take the cookies out halfway through the baking time, fill with jam and return to the oven. Otherwise, follow my recipe below. The recipe easily halves; I like to make a couple dozen when I make these because I don't make them that often.
1.5 cups softened butter
1 cup sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla
4 egg yolks
3.5 cups flour
4 egg whites, lightly beaten
2.5 cups finely chopped/coarsely ground walnuts
Jam or Preserves of your choice*
1. Preheat the oven to 350 and line baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly grease baking sheets. In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
2. Beat in the vanilla and yolks until well combined. Slowly mix in the flour. If the dough seems too soft, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until easy to handle. I've found that I am always able to handle the dough immediately as long as my butter was room temperature and not too soft.
3. Shape the dough into 2 inch balls, dip in the beaten egg white and roll in the walnuts. Place on baking sheet. Using your thumb, press an indentation into the center of the cookie. Shape the remaining dough, place each cookie about 2 inches apart.
4. Bake at 350 for 13-17 minutes or until the edges are lightly browning on the edges. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and let the cookies cool for a minute. They will have puffed slightly in the oven and you will need to use your thumb or finger to press down the indentation you made prior to baking.
5. Fill each indentation with jam or preserves and then place cookies on wire rack to cool. Serve or store cookies in an airtight container in a single layer.
*A couple thoughts about filling thumbprints: Some people like to fill their thumbprints with icing which is fine and often tasty but I feel the walnuts are really complimented by using homemade or high quality jam or preserves. Also, I think this is a fine way to use up the last couple of tablespoons in various jam and preserve jars as you certainly don't need to fill them all with the same type of filling. I'm not the only one with more than one jam open in my refrigerator, am I?