December is here, and it brings along chilly weather that makes me want to bake! Not only is it a great way to make your home nice and toasty but you also get a batch of fresh baked goods too. So, how can you refuse?
I decided to make thumbprint cookies with an olallieberry jam center. You might be thinking…what the heck are ollallieberries? That was my thought exactly when we first talked about it in my food science lab. It turns out that it’s a cross between a raspberry and a blackberry, with less tart than the raspberry and seeds like the blackberry. It’s the best hybrid berry for the jam that we got to prepare and package in this same lab. The jam was literally hot off of the machines and were still quite warm by the time I got back to my apartment. There was nothing else to do then to try the unsettled jam with vanilla ice cream! It.Was.Perfect. After having a few spoonfuls (okay, maybe more than a few), I thought of other scrumptious opportunities to use this jam. I immediately thought, “COOKIES!!!”
So, I browsed through Food Gawker, in hope of finding the perfect recipe and I did! It’s a fairly simple recipe from Ina Garten. T’was a fun and festive way to spend my Saturday afternoon. And BOY, did it smell just like heaven.
In terms of baking advice, I followed the recipe pretty strictly and it turned out just fine. Here are some things I did differently or would have done differently:
- I replaced sweetened flaked coconuts for crushed almonds and, of course, instead of raspberry jam, I used ollalieberry jam.
- When I first started making the dough, I was worried that it was too crumbly but that’s perfectly fine because this was the desired texture. Remember to let the dough settle in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. It makes it a lot easier to mold too!
- My cookies didn’t spread out as much as I thought they would. If this happens, try molding your dough into little disks instead.
These cookies require a little more prep work but I think it was time well spent! Especially considering that my cookie plate only held a few crumbs by the end of the night. And NO, it wasn’t all me
- 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
- 7 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
- Raspberry and/or apricot jam
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In an electric mixer fitted with the 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 andsugar. Mix until the dough starts to come together. 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 weigh 1 ounce.) Dip each ball into the egg wash and then roll it in coconut. 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 a golden brown. Cool and serve.
Have fun and get creative!