cooking

Heart-Shaped Strawberry Thumbprint Cookies

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thumbprint-cookies-1 Have you ever had thumbprint cookies? I adore them, to me, they are like eating soft shortbread cookies with a jelly middle. My idea of YUM!

This weekend Naomi and I had another adventure in the kitchen, this time we baked cookies. In celebration of Valentine’s day, I was curious to find out if these cookies could be adapted to have a heart-shaped middle. So I made them a week ahead just in case my first idea failed and I would need to proceed onto my second idea.

thumbprint-cookies-2Naomi views baking like a contact sport, she has strawberry preserves on her forehead

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The good thing was, that my first idea worked! I cut a wine-bottle cork into the shape of a heart, and used it to make each indention in the cookies.

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Each cookie has its own character as Naomi was so helpful in organizing how the cookies should be set on the cookie sheet. And the recipe was adapted to fit within the confines of her diet, so she is free to eat as many as she wants...

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Adapted from Siobhan Adcock

Heart-Shaped Thumbprint Cookies

Yield: Makes about 2 dozen cookies (I was able to make 30 cookies)

Tools for heart-shape pressing tool:

  • 1 washed wine cork, I find natural cork works best
  • 1 very sharp knife or xacto blade

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature (I used 1 1/4 cups butter flavored palm oil shortening)
  • ±1/4 cup water (I had to add this as the palm oil shortening is dryer than butter)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup jam such as raspberry, strawberry, or apricot (I used strawberry preserves)
  • Confectioners' sugar for dusting

Special equipment: 2 large baking sheets; parchment paper; small pestle

Preparation: Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and a second rack in the lower third then preheat to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar and beat on medium speed, scraping the bowl occasionally, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until fully incorporated, about 1 minute. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture, and stir until just combined. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap it in plastic, and chill at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.

Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and arrange on baking sheets, leaving about 3 inches between cookies. Using your thumb or the round end of a small pestle, make a well in the center of each cookie. Using a teaspoon, fill each well with jam, being careful not to overfill the wells. Bake, switching the cookies between the upper and lower racks about halfway through baking, until golden, about 15 minutes. Cool the cookies on baking sheets for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with confectioners' sugar. Continue baking cookies on cooled baking sheets. DO AHEAD: The cookies can be baked ahead and stored, in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 3 days.

Make sure to make a deep impression in the dough with your thumb or a small pestle (use the heart-shaped cork and press indention between 1/4 to 3/8 inch deep), and don't overfill the hole with jam, as these cookies will flatten and spread in the oven. (I heated the preserves some to make it easier to spoon into each indention). Also, be sure to leave plenty of room in between the dough on the cookie sheet. Use a doily as a stencil to dust the confectioners' sugar in a festive pattern.

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