I very often have a hard time using up various preserves, to the point where they go bad and need to be chucked out for the chickens. I know, #firstworldproblems. But it's surprisingly difficult, especially having grown up in the city, to change the mindset from what do I want to eat from the store - to what can I use from the pantry in a tasty way?
Living in the city, it's not really a thing to preserve foods for storage. Buy shelf stable goods in case of emergencies, but make it yourself? No. Only weirdo foodies do that.
Moving to the country has been such a mental switch on the food scale. Even the foods I don't grow myself I mostly only try to eat when they're in season, with the notable exception of apples. And what do you do when you eat with the seasons? Make preserves.
In the summer and fall we have such a bounty of fresh food, it's so easy to enjoy, but winter cooking requires more creativity since the flavour and texture of produce changes so much when it's preserved. That abrupt switch from fresh to thoroughly preserved can really mess you up, and personally, I always slip on the jam.
I never used to eat jam. Only in the last year or so have I begun to enjoy it on pancakes instead of syrup, and even that doesn't go through the stuff very fast. Currently in my pantry are about two dozen jars of jam that I need to use up in the next few months before they officially go bad.
And so we come to the subject upon which I will lather with jam: cookies. For, just as I was considering my dilemma, a recipe for thumbprint cookies came into my life via my favourite baking magazine. With just a wee bit of tinkering I found a cookie recipe that worked for me, full of nutty goodness and wearisome jam.
Thumbprint Jam Cookies
* Recipe originally altered from the 2019 summer issue of Bake From Scratch
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped almonds, can be exchanged with other nuts
2 1/4 cup all purpose flour, divided
a pinch of salt
a pint of raspberry jam, or any other jam of your choice
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
a few tablespoons of boiled water
Preheat oven to 350º. Line baking trays with parchment paper.
Using a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar. Add in the egg yolks one at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl before adding the vanilla.
Pour the almonds and a 1/4 cup flour into a food processor and blend until almonds are finely ground. Add the residual flour and salt, pulsing to combine everything.
Putting the mixer on low, beat the flour mix into the butter just until combined. If the dough is crumbly where the mixer couldn't reach, combine everything again by hand until well incorporated.
Form the dough into balls one inch in diameter, and press into the sheet using your thumb. Space the cookies about an inch apart on the trays. Spoon in the jam.
Bake for 15-17 minutes, until cookies are slightly golden in colour. Leave to cool on a rack.
Boil a kettle of water. Place the powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Add the vanilla and gradual increments of the boiled water, mixing the sugar and liquids together before adding more water. You are looking for a nice super thick glaze that still runs off the whisk. Drizzle the glaze over the cookies, and leave to harden.