Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Strawberry Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies
There's a lot of talk come Spring about what everyone loves this time of year, be it strawberries, or just lighter, fruitier fare in general (and I'm guilty of it). What's lost in the shuffle are those things that are perfectly fantastic any time of year. Like chocolate chip cookies, cheesecake, blueberry muffins.
Shortbread is brilliant because, if done right, it's rich and still has the ability to melt in your mouth. It's also incredibly versatile. Extracts can be added (orange and lemon are favorites of mine), as can cocoa powder to satisfy the chocolate lovers. Shortbread also makes the perfect vehicle for jam, in the form of thumbprint cookies.
At any given time my pantry is packed with a variety of jams and preserves that are waiting go be marched to their deaths...um, glories, inside one baked good or another. I used three different flavors in this most recent batch: strawberry, raspberry, and blackberry. Any jam/preserve will work. In fact, I've got an imported quince jam that's practically begging for consumption.
Just you wait, quince.
Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies
(makes 5 dozen cookies)
2 c unsalted butter (softened)
1 c confectioner's sugar
4 c flour
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
Jam (or jams) of your choice
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees (f).
Use your handheld mixer to cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy (3-5 minutes). Add the vanilla extract and salt. Switch to a whisk, and slowly add the flour by hand (if you over-mix it, the shortbread will be tough).
Roll the dough into 1/2 tablespoon balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Use your thumb (hence, the name) to make an impression in each ball. Spoon your jam into the wells, and then bake for 8-10 minutes, until the edges are just slightly golden and the jam bubbles.
Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to sit on the sheet for 3-5 minutes before removing them to cool on a wire rack.
Tip: don't eat these before they've cooled completely, or you'll burn the holy hell out of your mouth. I hear.
5 dozen cookies may sound like a lot, but these aren't big, and they're so light it feels like you haven't eaten anything. They go very quickly.