23 February 2010

Cookie, Cookie, Cookie Starts With 'C'!

Back in the day, when my three kids were rammin' and tearin' around the house and yard, I made cookies a couple times a week. Really! They were packed in school lunches, sent off to bake sales, packed up and taken to Scout meetings, shared at pot luck suppers, and sometimes, as in these cookies, stowed away for 'adult consumption'. Let the kids have the soft molasses cookies that have about 4 dozen to a batch and three or four bites per cookie ... Silent Bob and I would savor these little two-bite treats.

I love these little cookies because they are a low-key imitation of the Austrian Ischl Tarts ... you know those gorgeous shortbread cookies that have two layers and a raspberry jam filling that peeks through a center hole in the top layer that has been perfectly dusted with confectioner's sugar? They are an art form that I just don't have the patience to make. Thumbprint cookies, however, are just my speed.
Today, I'm excited to make these, as I still have some raspberry jam that I made at the height of the summer berry season. It will be a welcome taste of summertime that Silent Bob and I will share when we sip our tea later this afternoon. Perhaps you might like peach jam or strawberry jam in your 'thumbprints'...

Oven 350º - 15-18 minutes

Lightly grease cookie sheets.

In a mixing bowl, whip until smooth:

1 c. butter, softened
½ c. light brown sugar
2 large egg yolks, reserve whites for later use
2 tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Stir in:

2¼ c. flour

Set dough aside while you whip the egg whites and ½ tsp. water in a small bowl.

In another small bowl:

1 ½ c. crushed walnuts or pecans

Place the bowl of egg whites and other bowl of nuts near the cookie sheets.

Roll the dough into small ping-pong ball-sized cookies, using your hands.

Dip the balls into the egg and then into the nuts.

Place one inch apart on the cookie sheets.

Press a deep thumbprint into the center of the balls and bake.

Remove from the oven and cool on a platter.

While the cookies are still warm, spoon a bit of jam into the thumbprints.

Dust with 10X sugar just before serving.

Note: Any jam will do – orange marmalade, raspberry, strawberry, or peach jams are favorites with the Lindquists. I also add a half envelope of citrus infused sugar ... I picked my supply up when I was living in Germany and have used it sparingly in just a few recipes that I want to be lemony and sweet. You can find it in specialty markets and sometimes in German bakeries here in the States. Just an aside for those of you wanting to experiment...

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