I signed up for bringing cookies to a Christmas party at church last Saturday. Cookies are not my favorite things to bake because I had so many failures in making those in the past. However, other things I would have liked to pick in the sign-up sheet were taken, so I was left with no choice. My plan was making the cookies from scratch. If I failed, I would get ready-made cookies from a grocery store.
My first choice was thumbprint cookies from Dorie Greenspan's cookbook. I loved that it had raspberry jam on it because sweet and sour go really well together. While searching for different ideas, I found a recipe used Hershey's Kisses chocolate for the center. So I made two kind of thumbprint cookies, ones with the jam and ones with chocolate. For the chocolate, I placed a Hershey's kiss on each baked cookies then put the sheet pan back into the oven for 5 minutes. Using a small spoon, I pressed the chocolate while it was still warm to flatten the top. Crushed candy cane was then sprinkled over the pressed chocolate.
Thumbprint Cookies from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
Ingredients: 1 3/4 cups finely ground hazelnuts (I used almond meal)
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
8 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature (2 sticks) 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Preheat oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Mix ground hazelnuts and flour. Beat the butter and sugar together using an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add in the extracts; beat to blend. Decrease mixer speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture and mix only until incorporated into the dough.
Working with a teaspoonful of dough at a time, roll the dough between your palms to form small balls and place the balls 2 inches apart on the baking sheets.
Use the tip of you hand, poke a hole in the center of each cookie; be careful not to go all the way down to the baking sheet.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, rotating the sheets from top to bottom and front to back at the midway point.
The cookies should be only slightly colored—they may even look underdone, which is fine; they should not be overbaked.
When the cookies are baked, remove the baking sheets from the oven and let the cookies rest on the sheets for 2 minutes before transferring them to cooling racks with a wide metal spatula and sifting powdered sugar over them.
For the center: powdered sugar
1 cup raspberry jam (or any jam or melted chocolate)
Bring the jam to a boil in a small saucepan over low heat (or bring to a boil in a microwave oven); remove from heat.
Fill the indentations of all the cookies with enough hot jam to come level with the tops. Cool to room temperature.