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Mix-and-Match Thumbprint Cookies

Thumbprint cookies. Remember them? They had a very specific function: Shortbread as jam delivery system. This subtly sophisticated, decidedly kid-friendly cookie may not be exactly like the one of your childhood, but it’ll still conjure the same memories, albeit in a more adult-like manner.–Renee Schettler Rossi

LC Any Which Way Note

This recipe allows for quite some playfulness when it comes to mixing and matching the nut in the shortbread with the preserves dolloped in the center. Some of us found pine nut and fig preserves to be a welcome, if fancy schmancy, departure from tradition, whereas some of us were quite partial to red jam with walnuts. Others found apricot preserves with pistachios to be quite nice. The options are as unbounded as your imagination. Troubled deciding? Make a sampler in kaleidoscopic colors.

Mix-and-Match Thumbprint Cookies Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 1 H
  • Makes 4 to 5 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the baking sheets
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups finely chopped pine nuts, walnuts, or pistachios
  • About 1/2 cup fig jam, or other preserves of choice

Directions

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (176°C). Lightly butter 2 baking sheets or line them with Silpats.
  • 2. In a large bowl with a standing or handheld mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar, honey, and vanilla on medium speed until light, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in the flour just until incorporated. The dough will be quite stiff. Switch to a spoon and stir in 1 cup of the nuts.
  • 3. Pinch off walnut-size pieces of dough and roll them between your palms into balls. Place on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 1 1/2 inches apart.
  • 4. Bake until firm to the touch and just golden on the bottom, 10 to 13 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes before making an indentation in the center of each with your thumb, the handle of a large wooden spoon, or the tip of a clothespin. (If you try to make the dent too soon, the cookies will crack.) Transfer the indented cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  • 5. Fill the indentation in each cooled cookie with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of the jam. Then sprinkle the jammy center with the remaining nuts and watch the cookies disappear. (If giving the cookies away, be careful to package them in a single layer so as to avoid the dread jam-sticking-to-the-bottom-of-the-other-cookies-and-making-them-slightly-soggy situation.)
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