Sunday, December 23, 2012

Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies with Fruity, Nutty, Chocolaty Flair

I am beginning to think the only holiday traditions we have are intending to do festive activities and not following through.  For instance, this year we were going to carve pumpkins for Halloween, like we did last year.  Didn't actually happen.  It got pushed back and back until it would have been December 1 and we would have been the weird people with a jack o lantern out on the porch in December instead of glittery Christmas decorations. For Hanukkah, we plan to make latkes at least one of the nights.  This year we managed to make some before Hanukkah started.  But not during.  Even though we swore to ourselves we would.  Quite frankly, there didn't seem to be any reason not to make these again. We were looking forward to them! We actually completely failed to celebrate this holiday. Candles were bought for the menorrah and never even lit.  And now on to Christmas, we still have a few days, but it is looking increasingly likely that the gingerbread houses will not indeed be assembled and decorated.  Perhaps we crack under holiday pressures? At some point these things sound super fun but once they are upgraded to the category of tradition they also bring a sense of obligation, a yoke we refuse to wear?  Lazy? Busy? Perhaps we prefer to go with the flow, and see what new fun things each season brings? I have no idea.  But there is actually one tradition - ok, I'm not using that word anymore - one activity that always happens this time of year... one that, without fail, actually happens.  The cookies are always baked.  The exact list of cookies changes each time.  There are a few stalwarts, lending their years of experience to the annual cookie brigade.  But it is the addition of new cookies that adds excitement and a sense of whimsy to the mix.  These particular cookies are actually a hybrid between the new and old- a former heavy hitter recipe from my mom that got a bit of a chocolate makeover.  So here are some shortbread thumbprint cookies filled with either apricot or orange spread.  Or a raspberry, for funsies. Drizzled with a chocolate and almond ganache. Toasted almond slices optional.

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups flour
1/3-1/2 cup apricot or orange spread
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1-2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/3 cup toasted almond slices, optional

Using electric mixer, cream butter and sugar.  Add in extract.  Slowly stir in the flour.  The mixture will look sandy at first, but the dough should come together, just keep the mixer going.  Feel free to add just a touch of milk if it doesn't seem to come together.  Refrigerate for at least an hour.  Form into 1-inch balls.  Use the handle of a wooden spoon to press an indentation into the ball.  Fill with either the apricot spread or place a raspberry in there.  Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned.  Cool for a minute on the tray then move to a cooling rack.  Combine chocolate chips and cream in a microwaveable bowl.  Carefully microwave for 30 seconds, or until the mixture is melted.  Stir in the almond extract.  Drizzle chocolate mixture over cookies.  Add toasted almond slices to each cookie, if desired.


  1. I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one who doesn't always follow through on well-intended plans

  2. I never manage to get holiday plans done- and yes they DO sometimes end up feeling like an obligation, like another thing on the to-do list even though they're supposed to be fun... I can tell why you made these, though. These thumbprint cookies are definitely tradition-worthy so I'm actually going to use your recipe to make some tonight- with a christmassy apple and walnut mince filling. Thanks for the recipe Jenn, and happy holidays and new year too! :)

  3. I don't even make plan any more ;-))
    These thumbprint cookies look beautiful.
    Merry Christmas!

  4. Yummy, these cookies look fantastic aqnd I am loving the fruit there in the center. Beautiful!! Happy Holidays to you and your family. Cheers!

  5. Well, if you have to choose only one "traditional" thing to follow through with, I'd certainly vote for these cookies! :)

  6. As long as you have cookies, you are pretty much in Christmas celebration mode! These are such a fun twist on thumbprints!

  7. Oh I never keep up with when I'm "supposed" to make something. There is too much pressure! But frankly, you never need an excuse to make cookies!

  8. If we have dessert and cookies in particular we have a great Christmas! These cookies look so elegant. And I love the variety :) Happy Holidays, Jenn!

  9. Your cookies look amazing!
    I've missed your posts!

  10. Fantastic Jenn, the cookies look awesome and I love the chocolate/raspberry notes.

  11. Those cookies look beautiful and delicious...Happy new year,guys!

  12. Congratulations Jenn Kendall! Thank you so much for taking the time to share this exciting information.

    Olive oil


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