Recipe - Thumbprint Cookies

I must apologize to you all for not posting up another Triangle Restaurant Week review but both my roommate and I woke up too late to make it to the lunch we had wished to have today at Piazza Italia! So as an apology, I offer to you my recipe for thumbprint cookies. This was my first time making shortbread but it turned out alright after some long hours in the kitchen for me. If you don't know what thumbprint cookies are, they are basically small shortbread cookies with indentations and filling in the middle. This recipe's not for you if you don't realize that shortbread has a lot of butter...and you're averse to using butter. Anyhow, I had a craving to have these for some reason so really wanted to make them; I loved the Knott's Berry Farm packages of these growing up! So yes, here we go!

Step 1: Ingredients (serving size: approximately 8 dozen cookies)

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup jam of choice
  • 2 large egg yolks, softly beaten
  • 3 sticks cold unsalted butter, cut to bits
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

Step 2: Mixing dry ingredients
Combine your flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

Step 3: Mixing in the butter
This will probably seem a little gross to you because there is so much butter but put that into your bowl. Hopefully you have chopped it into bits; the picture shows it in chunks that were still too big. I had to use my chopsticks to cut them smaller. A whisk would probably work best for this part of mixing but alas, I only had chopsticks. You are going to mix these ingredients together until it resembles coarse meal as pictured below.

Step 4: Making the dough
Separate your egg yolks from the whites and then beat the two yolks together slightly. Add this to your mixture and form into a ball of dough. I ended up making two balls of dough because for some reason, it was hard for me to get everything to stick together. I blame getting too much yolk on my hands and not enough in the mix! Stick the dough (wrapped in plastic wrap) into the refrigerator for about 1-2 hours. I had mine in too long and it took forever for the dough to soften once it was time to use it.

Step 5: Forming the cookies
Get your jam ready with a small spoon. I used the 1/4 teaspoon that I had used earlier to measure the salt. You can choose any jam you want to use but since I had an abundance of strawberry, that's what I ended up adding to my cookies. Form balls of dough that are a little larger than teaspoon size after you have taken the dough out of the refrigerator and let it soften a little. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahreinheit. For the cookies, press an indentation into the center of a ball of dough, making sure not to crack the dough around the edges; if you crack it, re-roll and try again or use your fingers to smooth over the cracks. To be honest, this is for aesthetic reasons only so if you are fine with cracked cookies, go for it; I did when I got tired of perfecting them all but I made sure to eat those myself and not share it with others. Fill these impressions with your jam!

Step 6: Completion
Bake the cookies for about 10-12 minutes depending on how thick the center of your cookie is. You want to make sure that it cooks all the way through but doesn't burn. Because there is so much butter in the dough, the cookies will have a tendency to burn quicker so keep an eye on your batches. Enjoy the cookies afterward - I shared mine with people and got positive reviews all around!