Thumbprint cookies have been a Christmas tradition in my husband’s family for generations. We made walnut-covered, jam-filled thumbprints one recent night with Brian’s brother, Tom. They were local jams and preserves, all naturally made and a good assortment of flavors. The week before, we had made two earlier batches with several tweaks: no eggs in the recipe, and some with different jams, with almonds, without any nuts, or filled with chocolate. This recipe is easy to tweak!
I started with a plain butter cookie recipe. It worked perfectly with Ener-G Egg Replacer, if you want them eggless! These are the jams in our most recent batches:
- Pear Brandy Northwest Slug Butter from Lopez Island Farm
- Peach Orange Northwest Slug Butter from Lopez Island Farm
- Apple Raisin Walnut Northwest Slug Butter from Lopez Island Farm
- Maury Island Farm Marionberry Jam
- Maury Island Farm Red Raspberry Jam
- “The Alps” Apple Butter (not pictured, a spiced apple butter from Leavenworth — Washington’s Bavarian village
- Woodring’s Strawberry Fruit Spread (not pictured, but the most aromatic of them all and one which I eat on my toast every morning
Here is the recipe I used, from a basic butter cookie recipe I had seen on Food Network:
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar or brown sugar (I tried both and both worked well – I prefer the brown)
1 tspn salt
1 tspn vanilla extract
1 egg, or equivalent of 1 egg replaced with Ener-G Egg Replacer
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped walnuts
You might need to use a finger or a small measuring spoon, if your thumbs are too big :D My husband at work:
1. Beat butter, vanilla, salt & sugar till fluffy.
2. Beat in the egg or Egg Replacer till it is all incorporated.
3. Slowly add some sifted flour to the wet ingredients until the dough forms.
4. Form a ball or log & wrap in plastic wrap. Make sure it’s airtight, & refrigerate for about 3 hours, until nice & cold.
5. Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C)
6. Spoon the dough out into tablespoon-sized balls.
7. Roll dough balls in chopped walnuts. At this point, I like to take a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon to make dents in the cookies — this keeps them evenly sized. The boys like to use their fingers and thumbs. Whatever you like, make them deep enough for plenty of filling!
8. Bake them for about 12 minutes or till their dough is a pale golden brown.
9. Let them cool, then fill with your favorite jam or even chocolate chips. Alternatively, I also loved filling in the jam before baking, as the jam became nice and firm.
10. Store in an air-tight container in a cool place and enjoy many!
Note: Northwest Slug Butter does NOT contain slugs :)