When you get an idea in your head, you have to stick with it, it doesn’t matter if the recipe doesn’t really suit this time of year. If you don’t bake it now, then you may never get around to making it. I found the idea for these that I scribbled down in a notepad a while back, a few days ago and I knew I had to try them out. I know that cranberry’s are a Christmassy flavour, but the red glow of the dried cranberry’s embedded into the dough and the jam shining on top is such a pretty colour to glisten against the sun’s ray’s on a spring day. I love how they burst out of the pale, sand like dough.
These are quick to make, no chilling required and you have delicious cookies in under an hour. These would be great for a picnic or a child’s party, their great for sharing or eating one after the other, their small after all, so eating four is like eating one normal sized cookie. I made a few changes from the original recipe. When I decided on making thumbprint cookies, I reached straight for this book as all the recipes in here are worth making and sound delicious and which I’m glad to have in my collection, Great Cookies by Carole Walter. I made a few changes though. Firstly I added ground, toasted cashew nuts instead of poppy seeds as the original recipe states and I added some dried cranberry’s too as I thought they would pair well with my jam of choice. I used homemade cranberry jam that I made at Christmas but had never got round to eating. The original recipe yields 40 cookies but I ended up with 33 cookies from my batch and I didn’t make them any bigger that stated.
These cookies melt in your mouth, their so buttery and flakey melting upon your tongue as soon you gobble one up. The cranberry’s are tart and sweet with the jam enhancing the sweetness. I used vanilla bean paste in these which gives the cookie dough such a light and luscious flavour, I love vanilla and I’ve found that using vanilla bean paste really enhances the taste of whatever it’s being baked into. I also used a little Vietnamese cinnamon in these and you get a little warmth which works well with the nuttiness from the toasted cashews that form part of the cookie dough. Use any flavour jam that you want, but I do think that cranberry jam works best alongside the dried cranberry’s and the cashews. This is my first time making thumbprints and I can’t wait to play around with different flavours and fillings, what’s you favourite combination, I’d love to know.
Yields 33 cookies
300 grams (2 cups) Self-raising flour
Pinch of Maldon salt
1/2 teaspoon Vietnamese Cinnamon
60 grams (1/2 cup) Cashew nuts, toasted and ground very finely
70 grams (1/2 cup) Dried cranberry’s
225 grams (2 sticks) Unsalted butter, firm
100 grams (1/2 cup) Vanilla scented caster sugar
2 Large egg yolks
1 teaspoon Vanilla bean paste
Cranberry jam or any preserve of your choice
1. Pre-heat the oven to 170C,150C(Fan),350F. Set aside three baking trays, you don’t need to butter them or cover them with parchment paper and set to one side.
2. In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, Vietnamese cinnamon, ground cashews and the dried cranberry’s. Stir to mix everything together and set to one side.
3. Using an electric mixer with a paddle attachment set to medium add the butter and sugar and mix just until incorporated. Don’t over mix the ingredients.
4. Add the egg yolks and the vanilla bean paste and again mix until just incorporated.
5. Add the dry ingredients half at a time mixing until just incorporated before adding the final half. Do not over mix as the dough will become oily.
6. Roll the dough into walnut size pieces and place on your baking trays. Using the end of a wooden spoon, about 1/2 inch in diameter, gently indent the middle of your dough balls.
7. Bake them for 10 minutes then removed them from the oven and gently indent the same area as you already have again and fill with around 1/4 teaspoon of jam. Do not overfill otherwise the jam will overflow. Continue to bake for 5-10 minutes, until the edges are golden brown.
8. Using a palette knife or metal spatula, gently transfer your cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe adapted from Great Cookies by Carole Walters
* Store for up to 5 days in a cake tin with a tights fitting lid. Keep in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.