These cookies have always been a favourite of my youngest daughter, who believe it or not, is not a fan of chocolate chip cookies!
I am also a fan of them for a few reasons....they are easy to make, they are fun to eat and they are flexible as far as allowing me to use up bits and pieces from the baking cupboard.
They do come with two warnings, though. Firstly, do not even try and eat them until they have cooled completely, or you will burn your mouth with the boiling hot jam. Secondly, they are way too easy to eat and disappear very quickly.
That being said, let's bake some cookies!!!
Turn the oven on to heat up to 350F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a food processor, grind until the nuts are fine:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup pecans
In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, whip until light:
8 ounces softened butter
Add the ground nuts and sugar to the butter, and continue to mix until combined, and creamy.
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Mix to combine.
Add half the dry ingredients. The total dry ingredients are:
2 cups flour
1/2 cup icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
When the first half of the dry ingredients are incorporated, add the rest and mix until just well combined. You will have a firm dough.
Roll the dough into balls that are about 1" in diameter. You should have about 32 balls.
Gently flatten each ball until it is about 2" in diameter, and press down with your thumb in the centre to make an impression (this is where the jam will go).
Bake the cookies until they are set, but not completely cooked, about 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven and gently press the thumbprints down, as the dough will have risen slightly while baking.
Place a spoonful of jam into each thumbprint.
Place the tray back into the oven to finish baking.
Bake until the edges of the cookies are golden and the jam is starting to bubble, about 6 - 8 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool completely.
These cookies make a great snack, are great as part of a dessert platter or with ice cream, and are fun to give as hostess, teacher or Christmas gifts. Just remember to be patient and let them cool!
- Thumbprint cookies can be made two ways...with the nuts incorporated into the dough as I do, or with the balls of dough rolled in nuts before baking. I prefer to have the nuts in the dough, as it is one less step after the dough is made, there is less chance of the nuts burning in the oven, and the nuts add a nice crunch and richness to the dough.
- As far as jam goes, any jam you have works. I used the apricot and vanilla jam I made this summer, with the fruit from our tree.
- Other fillings can also be used; some need to be added after the cookies are completely baked and cooled. Those that can be baked include jellies, fruit compote or even Christmas mincemeat. Those that need to be added once the cookies are cool include ganache, fruit curds such as lemon or lime, dulce de leche, buttercream.
- As long as you have 1 cup of nuts in total, anything goes. I have used pistachios, hazelnuts, pecans and almonds. Try macadamia nuts, peanuts or walnuts.
- If you do not have a food processor, buy ground nuts and use those instead. For 1 cup of whole nuts you will need approximately 150g of ground nuts.
- The balls of dough freeze well; defrost and proceed from there. I like to do this, baking the cookies as needed over Christmas. It also stops us from eating them all!
- Once the cookies are baked they last for 2 - 3 days, as the jam starts to soften the cookie. They still taste great, but don't have the contrast of gooey jam and crispy cookie any longer.