Thumbprint cookies

cloud_swiftAugust 13, 2012

Made these for cookie trays for a lunch after a memorial service.

I tried a test batch with a Joy of Cooking recipe and they were good, but I noticed a lot of the recipes on line were different and used no leavening agent. So I tried the Joy of Baking recipe. These were so flaky and rich tasting.

I'm not sure how the cookies keep from being too dense with no baking powder or baking soda. Perhaps the air beaten in during the creaming of the sugar and butter and then during the addition of the egg yolk makes them light?

Instead of jam, I used fruit fillings made from dried apricots and dried tart cherries. They have an intense flavor and they don't bubble up and overflow like jam sometimes does.

The other cookies were peanut butter, chocolate chip and a simple crisp lemon cookie. These brought the cookie trays up a notch.

Here is a link that might be useful: Joy of Baking Thumbprint cookie recipes

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Those are lovely cookies. Your fruit filling idea is a really good improvement and I'll be giving that a try. Thanks for the tip and the recipe.

Thumbprint cookies are a Christmas tradition at our house and I use several recipes. Instead of making the imprint with my thumb, I like to use something that is round. I have an over-sized thimble made from porcelain I use to make the indent in the cookie dough. A round impression helps keep the jam in the cookie better than a slanting thumbprint.


    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 8:29AM
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I like the idea of using a dried fruit filling. I'll have to try that. I make Thumbprints every year at Christmas too.


    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 8:56AM
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I like making these for parties and showers in the springtime. I made tiny balls (powdered sugar/milk) and color them a pale blue and put three in the 'nest'. Perfect little robins' nest of eggs.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 10:42AM
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By the way, the dried fruit filling has an optional ingredient - chopped nuts. When I made it before (for hamentaschen at Purim), it was without the nuts. This time, I added chopped almonds thinking that since the cookies were rolled in almonds, that it would be nice to have them in the filling too. In the future, I would leave the nuts out. IMO, the filling color is prettier with out the nuts - adding them dulls the color - and the purer fruit flavor is better.

It is still very good, but without the nuts is better. Either way, the filling is good spread on bread, toast or pancakes. The nuts are nice for that - kind of like getting nut butter and jam spread on at the same time. The cookies only used a tiny bit of the filling so I've got about a pint of each left.

I should find an appropriate size thimble. I tried using the handle of a wooden spoon, but it wasn't big enough around so these were made with my thumb. A thimble would be faster and more uniform.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 12:22PM
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I would be concerned the nuts would get rubbery in the fruit filling - especially if they aren't consumed quickly after they are baked. Maybe a little of almond flavoring in the fruit would compliment the chopped almonds in the dough.

I got my thimble eons ago on a family trip to Harold Warp's Pioneer Village in Minden, Nebraska in the gift shop. When I bought it I knew exactly what I would use for -- thumbprint cookies. ;-)


    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 1:38PM
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I've noticed that a lot of thumbprint cookies tell you to put the jam or whatever you use in after the baking is finished. I was surprised by this as I'd always just assumed it went in during baking as this recipe says to do.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 2:52PM
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Arkansas, there are two reasons for putting it in after. One is to avoid the bubbling over or burning jam issues. The other is that one needs to re-push down the thumb print after the dough rises in the oven for some doughs.

The Joy of Cooking recipe which has baking powder in the dough says to bake for 5 minutes, take out of the oven and push the thumbprint back down (it had mostly disappeared at that point), fill and bake another 8 minutes.

The non-leavened dough is convenient as well as very tasty since it doesn't puff as much and can be filled from the start.

Grainlady, the nuts in the filling are ground before adding to the filling. The dried fruit is heated with some orange and lemon juice to rehydrate it partially. Then the dried fruit mixture and and the whole thing is pureed in the food processor. There are no noticeable pieces of nut in the resulting puree so I don't think they would get rubbery.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 3:08PM
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Arkansas, I just remembered another reason to put jam in after baking which the Joy of Baking recipe mentions. If one wants to bake these way ahead, one can fill with the jam later to keep the jam from making the cookies soggy. The filling I made has less liquid than jam so I don't think that's as much of an issue with it.

When using jam, I prefer the flavor more with the jam baked at least a bit.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 3:14PM
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As a child, I remember hating to eat all of the cookie
surrounding the 'thumbprint'. I mean, that is the best
part of the cookie. I'm the same way today.
Why can't cookies be made with a giant's thumbprint
in them?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 3:32PM
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My late mom's recipe is similar to that JoC recipe (more vanilla extract, no salt but she used salted butter). We've always called them "thimble cookies", but we formed the indentation with the end of a wooden spoon handle.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 5:54PM
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