Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Jam Thumbprints

(Remember back in August when I promised to share that apricot cookie recipe? Well, 'tis the season for Christmas cookies to flow like water!)

I found this recipe in The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book and I make it exactly as directed, because those people know what they're talking about. (Though I have used whole wheat pastry flour with success.) Is it just me, or are sugar cookies usually terrible? I looove these cookies because they're not dried out sugar bombs. They're chewy and not too sweet, letting the jam shine.

Jam Thumbprints

1/2 cup jam
2 1/4 cup (11 1/4 ounces) unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup (4 3/4 ounces) sugar
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Fill small zipper-lock bag with jam. Whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a medium bowl.
2. Using hand mixer or stand mixer, beat butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 6 minutes. Beat in cream cheese, egg, and vanilla until combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down bowl and beaters as needed.
3. Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add flour mixture until combined, about 30 seconds.
4. Working with 1 1/2 teaspoons of dough at a time, roll dough into balls and lay them on prepared baking sheets, spaced about 1 1/2 inches apart. Use wet thumb to make indentation in center of each cookie.
5. Bake until cookies are lightly browned around the edges and just beginning to set, about 10 minutes. Remove cookies from oven and, working quickly, gently reshape indentations with bottom of teaspoon. Snip small corner off bag of jam and carefully fill each indentation with about 1/2 teaspoon of jam. Rotate baking sheet and continue to bake until lightly golden, 12-14 minutes.
6. Let cookies cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and let them cool completely, about 30 minutes, before serving.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gift boxes with a few of my favorite things...

Gift boxes are here! It couldn't be easier to put a little sunshine in someone's holiday. A sampler with your choice of 3 jars, ready to put under the tree. (Above are half pints of blackberry jam, 3-way marmalade, and kiwi lime jam.) Wrapping not pictured, but think brown paper packages tied up with string...