All right my friends. Here we go. Day 1 of the 12 Days of Cookies. Happy December! If you recall from the previous post, we’re going to spend the next month taking one really good basic butter dough and turning it into twelve wonderful, completely different cookies. Today I’m kicking off this cookie extravaganza with a classic: Jam Thumbprints. Couldn’t be easier.
So you’ve got the dough ready to go and it’s at room temperature (right?). Depending on how many cookies you want, cut off a portion of said dough; ½ of the batch will yield about 4 dozen cookies. Roll the dough into tablespoon or so sized balls, roll those in finely chopped nuts, press a little dent in the center and fill with jam. Bake until golden brown and you have a classic holiday cookie. Really, it couldn’t be easier.
This is the perfect recipe for those odd bits and bobs you have lying around. Those little bits that are not quite enough for some recipe so they just sort of hang out for months on end? You know what I’m talking about; the stray bags of nuts or that smidgen of jam in the bottom of the jar that for whatever reason, every member of your family ignores. Yeah, you know. Pretty much any combination works, though I particularly like pistachios with apricot jam but use what you like or need to use. Maybe do a few different types. I did two here: the aforementioned pistachio/apricot and a pecan/plum combo that was quite nice
Need some ideas? How about pistachio/apricot, pecan/mixed berry, almond/orange marmalade, peanut/strawberry, walnut/blackberry or hazelnut/raspberry? That should be enough to get you started. Happy baking!
STRESS BAKING THERAPY FACTOR: ROLLIN’ ON AND ON. There’s something wonderfully therapeutic about rolling little balls of cookie dough. It’s completely mesmerizing. I like it; a lot. The combination of rich butter cookie, a little bit of nuts and a fruity jam is irresistible. I will go for these first, each and every time. Delicious! They also look so pretty on a cookie platter; like a speckled jewel. They are a holiday must have.
Cookie Prep: Basic Butter Cookie Dough
2015 12 Days of Cookies: Pretzel Caramel Shortbread, Fig Mezzaluna, Dutch Windmills, Bourbon Peach Rugelah, Chai Spiced Meringue Kisses, Almond Joy Bars, Swedish Kringla, Chile Lime Macaroons, Orange Cranberry Cornmeal Shortbread, Eggnog Buttons, Ginger Palmiers, Rainbow Cookies
seven years ago: Pumpkin Bundt Cake
six years ago: French Apple Tart
five years ago: Southern Cheese Straws
four years ago: Kale & Squash Salad
three years ago: Apple Cider Rolls
two years ago: Port Wine Cheese Log
last year: Caldo Verde
makes about 4 dozen cookies
½ batch Basic Butter Cookie Dough, room temperature
¾ cup fruit jam
finely chopped nuts such as pistachios, pecans or walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line 2 sheet pans with parchment or silicone baking mats.
- Roll the dough into 1” balls and roll in the finely chopped nuts. The easiest way to do this is to place the chopped nuts on a cutting board and roll the dough ball, with a flat hand, in the nuts pressing gently to adhere and fully coat.
- Arrange the coated cookies 1” apart on the prepared sheet pans.
- Using your finger, gently make an indentation in the center of each ball.
- Fill each indent with a teaspoon of jam; a piping bag or even a small baggie with the tip snipped off makes this pretty easy.
- Bake 10-12 minutes until the edges are pale golden, rotating the pans halfway through.
- Let the cookies cool on the pans for 2 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make ahead: the best bet is to roll the dough into balls and freezer on a sheet pan until firm. Once frozen, transfer to a Ziploc bag labeled with the cookie name and baking temperature/time. When ready to bake, let the cookie balls defrost then proceed to roll in the nuts, etc.