I was reading the Parade section of my Sunday paper this past week, minding my own business, when I came across an article about a VERY favorite singer, Michelle Branch. In the article, she of an Angel’s voice wasn’t talking about her golden voice, music, or even being a beautiful celebrity.
She was focused entirely on baking – more specifically baking with her adorable little girl. I just became an even bigger fan.
She included a favorite recipe – for Thumbprint Cookies. Being a fan of both the baker and the baked, I tried the recipe the very next day.
This is, honestly, the best Thumbprint Cookies recipe I’ve ever tried. They’re light, buttery, and look as delicious as they taste. This one’s a complete winner.
Thumbprint Cookies Recipe
2 cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter (no substitutes!)
1/2 cup superfine sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract (or 1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp almond extract)
Your preferred jam or other filling
1/2 cup sifted confectioner’s sugar
Sift together flour and salt; set aside. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy; add extract(s). Slowly mix in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until just blended. Chill dough for 1 to 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Meanwhile, quickly shape dough into 1 inch balls and space them 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Make a deep thumbprint in the center of each; fill with preferred jam or chocolate.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until cookies are the color of pale sand. Transfer to wire cooling racks.
When cooled, dust with confectioner’s sugar. Pack in tins for gifts or serve to holiday guests.
- Don’t mishandle the dough – these cookies don’t have to look absolutely perfect. And the more you handle it, the softer and mushier it gets.
- Wait until the cookies cool a bit before sprinkling them with powdered sugar. If you do it as soon as they come out of the oven, the sugar will completely disappear.
- Even if your cookies don’t look perfect, they’ll still taste amazing. If you follow the recipe, you can’t go wrong.
This recipe makes about 48 cookies.
I used 2 tsp vanilla extract as opposed to part vanilla and part almond extract, although I can only imagine how delicious that’d be! For my filling, I went with Strawberry jam this time – but I’m anxious to experiment with something citrus-y as well as chocolate-y. Be sure you don’t overfill the holes with your jam – you want the jam to stay in the little hole in the center.
Also, you might want to try a cooled cookie before dusting with powdered sugar – you may decide to just serve them as is. If you do opt for a dusting of powdered sugar, go lightly. Whatever you do, don’t mask the buttery flavor or the wonderful flavor of your filling. (Strawberry jam is really perfect for these cookies.)
Also, when you put the dough into the refrigerator to chill – you might want to keep a close eye on it – maybe even two eyes. I left mine in there apparently too long because my dough was hard enough to knock someone out (you’ll be glad to know I didn’t test this out). HOWEVER, I let the dough sit there for a few minutes, on the counter, then proceeded. The cookies, honestly, couldn’t have been any more delicious if Mrs. Claus had made them herself.
So buttery. So rich. So wonderful. So going to make another batch this weekend.