Monday, November 21, 2011

Jam Thumbprints - The Elegant Cookie

The other day I had a practical on amalgam carving and...well, let's just say it started off slightly traumatic. I lost my practical tooth and you don't get a second one, so I was freaking out when this super nice faculty member found it for me. I wanted to thank him, and a few other faculty members, so I decided to make some jam thumbprints on my study break from Hell Week #2 (one week, 2 practicals, 3 exams). It also happened to be Rini's birthday and since I knew she loved coconut, these cookies would be perfect.

I used my tried and true Ina Garten recipe, which I've included below. I must say, these take a lot longer when you make them by yourself - and you have to really watch the coconut so it doesn't burn on the bottom. I forgot I had that problem last time and it repeated itself...luckily it wasn't too bad and I learned for the second cookie tray.

Making these again, I would only dip the top half of the dough ball in coconut - so no burning risk on the bottom. Also, these cookies are great for people who are lactose intolerant (as one of my profs is) - I was doing research and found that butter is usually ok, but check first since I am sure each case is different. My last tip is to use good jam and I don't mean that in a pretentious sort of way. I really think these cookies are super classy and since you're using so little jam, why not make it a nice flavorful one? I usually find awesome jams at great prices at Home Goods or Marshalls in their little foodie aisle.

Jam Thumbprint Cookies

What you need:
3 sticks butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
3 1/2 cups flour

To roll you need: 1 bag of sweetened shredded coconut (use sweetened because the batter is actually not too sweet), and 1 egg mixed with 1 Tbs water for an egg wash

What you do:
3 hours/1 day ahead of time, set out your butter. I never did this before and honestly, nuking it in the microwave isn't a huge problem, but if you know you're making cookies, set out the butter before heading off to work. That way it's the perfect temp for mixing when you are ready for it.

Cream together the butter and sugar until it's fluffy. Add the vanilla.

Add the flour about a cup at a time and mix until the batter just comes together - there is a lot of butter in here so if it looks like little crumbles, don't worry - it'll turn into a nice ball as soon as you pack it between your fingers.

Turn the dough onto a floured surface and make one giant ball. Cut this in half and form 2 discs. Wrap these in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Make your egg wash and set out the coconut and jam.

Take the dough out and form it into little balls.

Roll each in the egg wash and then in the coconut (here is where I would just roll and dip half to avoid burning).

Place on a cookie sheet and make a little indentation in the dough, forming a nice little cup for the jam. Spoon about a 1/2 teaspoon of jam into the cookies. You can put these fairly close together on the tray since there is nothing in the dough to help them rise.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Let cool completely before serving (hot jam HURTS).

I made about 36 cookies with this recipe, but I made them kind of small so they'd cook faster. It was getting close to midnight and I was getting sleepy ;) These make a super gift and I think everyone enjoyed them - I think I'll be making another batch come holiday season when my aunt and I get together to do our Annual Cookie Bake Day.

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