Sunday, April 08, 2007

pantry cookies

It was a long, exhausting, and emotionally trying week, and all I wanted to do was have a quiet, solitary Saturday night at home. This was somewhat ruined by the utter horror that was The Lake House on HBOHD, but luckily I decided to bake cookies while it was on so I could tune out the wooden tones of Keanu Reeves (this somehow seeming easier than changing the channel).

In my less than classy neighborhood, the supermarket closes kind of early, so I had to figure out what kind of cookie I could make with only the ingredients the I already had in the pantry. And that's how I decided on Thumbprint Cookies. My grandmother used to make these cookies, filling the hole you make with your thumb with jam. Unfortunately, I never got her recipe and hers were somehow better than every other Thumbprint Cookie I've ever had, but this recipe does come close.



1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg, separated
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 - 3/4 cup (100 grams) nuts (I use walnuts, but any will do) toasted and finely chopped
1/2 cup jam


Preheat oven to 350°. Cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, approx. 2-3 min. Add egg yolk and vanilla and combine. Combine flour and salt in a sifter and sift into wet mixture, stirring until it just comes together. Shape into a ball, wrap in plastic and store in fridge while preparaing the nuts.

Chop nuts very finely.

I used my mezzaluna for this, which isn't the most efficient way, but I hate cleaning the food processor so there it is. To toast, spread the chopped nuts onto a baking sheet and place in the 350° oven for 8-10 minutes. They should be lightly browned and aromatic.

Whisk the egg white until frothy. Remove the dough from fridge. Shape dough into 1-inch balls, coat in egg white, then roll in chopped nuts and place 1 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat.

Use the tip of your thumb and press down into the top of each ball to make a well.

Fill each well with jam, I used strawberry and black currant because that's what I had. Raspberry and apricot are probably more classic. Bake for 15-18 minutes until cookies are set and lightly browned.

Cool on a wire rack. Devour.


gouge away said...

you have a mezzaluna with its own specially shaped board?
you will forever trump me as a cook - I only have 2 pieces of le creuset.

faycat said...

I only have 1 piece of Le Creuset. Unless you count the spatula that I got for free at a PBS conference.