Does everyone remember the Nursery Rhyme “Little Jack Horner”? He’s that kid who sat in the corner stickin’ his thumb in pie. I think of that little kid, being a little brat stickin’ his thumb in pies when I see thumbprint cookies. And I just think, too bad he didn’t make these cookies because he wouldn’t get in trouble for stickin’ his thumb in them!
You all know that I have failed on the classic cookie front. I need a well rounded (ha ha pun SO intended) education on the classics and I have never EVER made thumbprint cookies. Here’s why. They are bland and awful.
There, I said it and I don’t feel better having said it. I don’t feel better because one of the earliest thumbprint cookies I remember eating were made by my Nana. And I love my Nana fiercely. And traditionally she’s a great baker. You really can’t beat her pies, they are the best. But her thumbprints….well…..ya.
I’ve eaten only a couple others and never went back. Be it chocolate thumbprint or jam thumbprint I’ve had the same reaction. Bland bland bland! Do you blame me for turning away from each recipe or cookie offering I’ve received with these?
But these! These are heaven! They are Raspberry Thumbprint bar cookies, which really switches them from rounds to squares. Genius! Just like Wendy’s square hamburger. I love innovation!
What really had me jonesin’ for these cookies was the dough. It was NOT bland! I did change up the recipe a tut by adding some almond extract and boy did that make all the difference for me. And it was buttery and melt in your mouthy and stunning. I omitted the white chocolate drizzle since I don’t have any white chocolate, but the addition of the almond extract married so well with the raspberry jam you never even missed it. I’m telling you, it’s one of those eyeball rolling in the back of your head good!
I brought them into work for Christmas and my coworker avoided them like the plague stating that she did not like jam in her baked goods. You know what I did? I put my arm around her and said “I know how you feel. I felt the same way about raisins and red licorice. But let me tell you sister, these are awesome. Take one little bite and you will be transformed!” Reluctantly, with a puckered up expression very similar to a 4 year old having to apologize to their sister after they pushed her in the mud (and was SO not sorry!), she took a small bite. Guess what happened? Her expression cleared and a small smile creeped across her face and she mumbled “I guess it’s alright.” (Because really, what petulant 4 year old ever admits you were right, hm?) I caught her grabbing a few more throughout the day.
My job was complete that day. Another soldier on the side of Miss Sassy Buns.
Thumbprint Cookie Squares – slightly adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications – Christmas Cookies – 2009
1.25 c salted butter
1.25 c powdered sugar
1 tsp almond extract
3 c unbleached all purpose flour
1.25 c raspberry jam
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and grease a 15x10x1 inch baking pan (jelly roll pan). In a standing mixer, beat the butter on medium-high until fluffy (about 2 min if the butter is straight from the fridge), then turn the speed down to low and slowly add the powdered sugar until combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl and beat in the egg just until combined (about 7 seconds) add the almond extract (or any extract you want really). Turn the speed up to med-high for about 7 seconds o fully incorporate, then back it down to low again and add the flour, 1 cup at a time just until mixed.
Once the dough is done, scrape it into the prepared pan and press the dough into the bottom of the pan. Make sure to cover the bottom and get into the corners. Then, using your thumb (or knuckle) press slight indentations all along the dough (nine rows of 6 indentations each – like above) and fill each indentation with a scant tsp of the raspberry jam (you can pick whatever flavor you want here too, just make sure it’s going to pair well with the extract you use).
Bake in the oven for 20 min or until the edges are light brown. Take it out of the oven and let cool completely. Once cooled, cut into squares, making sure that each little jewel of jam is smack in the middle. Smack lips together in anticipation, get a glass of hot cocoa (preferably with homemade baileys – those of us of drinkin’ age) and enjoy!
Until next time!