My mom and I used to make a jam thumbprint cookie like this when I very young. I believe ours were rolled in crushed walnuts before placing jam in the center. In truth, I think I like that version the best, both for nostalgia and also for taste, however these are lighter and sweeter and definitely delicious in their own right!
Ina's thumbprint cookies have a shortbread base, which goes over real well with my husband who loves all things shortbread! As mentioned above, Ina also rolls her cookies in coconut flakes before inserting the jam in the center, which really lightens things up from the typical nutty version, and I think creates an altogether different background.
Ina wrote the recipe for both raspberry and apricot jam, but I have a huge variety of jams, jellies, and preserves and with the coconut flavor in mind I wanted to create somewhat of a more tropical version so I chose some mango preserves. That combination was not for my husband, so he wanted to have just plain strawberry for his. I went with some strawberry-rhubarb perserves, but shh....don't tell him and he won't even know.
The dough has to chill and it is somewhat finicky to roll into balls, cracking and what not, but it is not that bad as the warmth of your hands makes the dough balls nice and smooth. They take a quick dip in an egg wash, then a roll in the coconut flakes, then you make an indentation with your finger and insert the jam before baking.
These cookies are light and sweet with just a hint of coconut flavor. I like both the mango and the strawberry-rhubarb flavors, but in my opinion, the mango goes so much better with the coconut. The funny thing is, my husband agreed! He said I could've made them all mango.
I think these would make for a great addition to your holiday cookie collection! So many of holiday cookies are rich and decadent and these feel like and fruity and refreshing in comparison. These are a wonderful and welcome change.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all who are celebrating!
Jam Thumbprint Cookies
Adapted from Food Network
by Ina Garten
3/4 pound (3 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 cup suagr
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
7 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
Raspberry and/or apricot jam (or any jam you like)*
Preheat the oven to 350F. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddles attachment (or with an electric mixer because you don't have a paddle attachment), cream together the butter and sugar until they are just combined and then add the vanilla. Separately, sift together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until the dough starts to come together (mine didn't, probably because I didn't have the right paddle attachment, but I just used my hands and that worked too). Dump on a floured board and roll together into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
Roll the dough into 1-1/4 inch balls (if you have a scale they should each weight 1 ounce). Dip each ball into the egg wash and then roll it in coconut flakes. Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and press a light indentation into the top of each with your finger. Drop 1/4 teaspoon of jam into each indentation. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the coconut is golden brown. Cool and serve.
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