This week's TWD was chosen by Mike of Ugly Food for an Ugly Dude : thumbprints for us big guys! The recipe is considered "grown-up" because of the ground hazelnuts used in the dough and the raspberry jam used to fill the cookies. My dislike of nuts is well-documented on this blog but since cookies are easy to share with others, I went ahead and made these anyway. I had no problem convincing my mom to take them home to share with my stepfather, a man who, fortunately for me, is more than happy to help eat the many goodies I make!
While I had hazelnuts in the house, I went with almonds for these cookies instead. I didn't bother blanching them before I ground them up so there were little specks from the skin in my finished cookies. The dough comes together easily, with just a few ingredients - flour, ground nuts, butter, sugar, vanilla extract and almond extract. Though I don't particularly like almonds, almond extract is one of my favorite scents ever and I'm always happy when a recipe calls for it. I made half of the recipe and ended up rolling the dough into 25 little cookies. A lot of the TWD bakers mentioned problems with really crumbly dough but mine didn't give me much trouble. I used the end of a wooden spoon to make the indentations in my cookies.
The cookies spread quite a bit in the oven, so I probably should have refrigerated the dough before baking them. The indentations also became less deep in the oven so when I took the cookies out, I used the end of the wooden spoon to redefine the impressions. I dusted all of the cookies with confectioners' sugar as they sat on the rack cooling. I didn't bother putting anything under the rack, though, and the effect was actually pretty cool (if not a bit of a pain to clean up):
There were so many options for fillings for the cookies! My friend Kayte mentioned lemon curd as a possibility and I thought that sounded wonderful, but I ran out of time to make it so I went with the raspberry jam. I warmed the jam in the microwave until it was quite warm and very thin (about 45 seconds) and then spooned it into the cookies. It thickens as it cools and makes a wonderful filling. The cookies were buttery and quite delicate - almost crumbly like shortbread. I liked the contrast of the sweet jam too but at the end of the day, this kind of cookie just doesn't hold a lot of appeal for me. I'm sure they'll be much more popular with my stepfather though! Many thanks to Mike for hosting this week! You can find the recipe for the thumbprints on his site.