Sunday, January 2, 2011

Shortbread Jam Cookies aka My Failed Thumbprints

My mom has been here this past week for a much needed visit. It's been way too long since I've last seen her!   Anytime one of my parents come, all three of us who live in Israel get together by my sister's house for Shabbat and this weekend was no different. My sister asked me to bake cookies and when I asked her what she wanted me to make she said thumbprints. Apparently, they're her favorite cookie. I looked through all my books for a recipe, but they either used only part of the egg (hate waste!) or used nuts. I finally found a recipe for Giant Jam Thumbprints in one of my recent [bargain!] book purchases, Butter Sugar Flour Eggs. A quick scan through the recipe indicated to me that these were going to be shortbread like, and I was totally okay with that. Except that my thumbprints didn't quite turn out that way. They spread and turned out to be cookies with jam in the middle. So why am I posting this recipe if it failed? Well, for one, to show you that even though I only post the recipes that come out good, from time to time, I totally flop. Either you chuck it or serve it despite its looks, either way you learn from it and keep baking. Secondly, even though these dont look anything like they're supposed to, they tasted like they were supposed to and they all disappeared from the container, despite my shock. Shortbread is never bad, and shortbread with jam must be better. So instead of getting rid of them, I just decided to rename them, Shortbread Jam Cookies. Who knows? I might even make them this way on purpose next time with a different flavored jam. But if I wanted to make them turn out right, I would be sure to chill the dough quite well before shaping because it seems that the heat from my hands while rolling the cookies warmed the dough, causing the fat to melt before the cookie set. If this were a bar cookie, the pan would contain the spread. Not so here. 
Shortbread Jam Cookies
slightly adapted from Butter Sugar Flour Eggs

8 ounces unsalted butter or margarine, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups plus 2 tbsp flour
apricot jelly as needed

Preheat your oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Set aside.
In a bowl, cream the margarine and sugar until fluffy. Add the vanilla bean paste and salt and beat until incorporated. Add the flour and mix on low until blended.
At this point, I would recommend gathering the dough into a ball and chilling. 
Break off golf ball sized pieces of dough and roll into balls. 
 Using your thumb, press in the center of the ball to leave a deep indentation. Place on the cookie sheet. Repeat until the sheet is full.
 Spoon a teaspoon of jelly into the well of each cookie.
Bake until very lightly browned around the edges, around 25-30 minutes. Let cool slightly on the pan before removing gently to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container if not serving right away.

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