These are our FAVORITE cookies to make during the holidays. Every year during my childhood, my mom and I had a bake-a-thon that we called "Mrs. Claus's Kitchen" during which we baked ridiculous quantities of cookies to give away to everyone we knew.
Katie & Karen in the kitchen circa 1995
These thumbprints are based on a butter cookie recipe from Gourmet Magazine. The basic butter cookie dough is extremely versatile (and freezes well!!). Add toasted coconut and dip in chocolate for coconut sticks, stir in some pumpkin spice for seasonal spice cookies, mix in crushed peppermint candies and make pinwheels! We've tried them all but it always comes back to the thumbprints. They are awesome with apricot or raspberry jam but nothing quite compares to the Port Plum Jam filling.
Port Plum Jam is made especially for us by RE Kimball of Amesbury. They combine the Wild Beach Plum Jam with a dash of Jewell Towne Vineyards Port Wine. The jam lends a lovely sweet-tart, almost cranberry flavor that compliments the rich, buttery cookie base. It's a must try recipe for the holiday season...trust me :)
Port Plums Thumbprint Butter Cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 sticks (6oz) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla
Port Plum Jam, for filling
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
Using a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract. Mix until incorporated. Add flour 1 cup at a time, turning the mixer off while you do so. Blend until a uniform dough is formed.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Scoop dough onto a plate. (We use a 1 3/4" scoop.) Cut dough balls into 1/2 or 1/3 and roll to form a small sphere. If the dough is sticky and difficult to work with, chill for 1-4 hours. Place the balls on a parchment lined cookie sheet 2-3 inches apart. Using the end of a wooden spoon or your thumb, make an indent in the middle of the dough ball.
Stir jam to soften and spoon into a clear, plastic baggie. Cut a small piece off the corner to form a makeshift pastry bag. Squeeze a small amount of jam into each indent.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes, until lightly golden around the edges. Transfer to wire racks to cool.