Nutty Jam Thumbprints
These Nutty Jam Thumbprints could win a cookie contest on looks alone, but they’re just as delicious as they are pretty. The cookie is actually a Mexican Wedding Cake, also known as a Russian Tea Cake, Viennese Crescent or Snowball. Delicate, nutty and not-too-sweet, these cookies make the perfect shortbread-like base for a dollop of luscious fruit preserves. The recipe is adapted from Alice Medrich’s award-winning cookie book Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy.
The most tender wedding cookies are made with superfine sugar, so begin by pulsing the granulated sugar in a food processor until it is fine and powdery.
Next, add the flour, salt and pecans.
Process the mixture until the nuts are finely ground.
Add the butter in small pieces.
Then pulse until the mixture comes together.
Transfer the dough to a bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight. Roll the dough into balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Use the handle of a wooden spoon to press an indentation about 3/4 of the way down into the center of each ball (you could also use your thumb but a wooden spoon works much better).
Bake for 22-24 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a rack. Let the cookies cool slightly, then dust them generously with powdered sugar.
Now, for the fillings. You can use any jam or jelly you like. I love Bonne Maman Raspberry, Four Fruit or Apricot. For kids or chocolate lovers, try Nutella or chocolate ganache.
Fill the cookies using a tiny spoon or the tips of teaspoon handles.
That’s all there is to it. Such beauties!
Enjoy and Happy Holidays!
Adapted with modifications from Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy by Alice Medrich
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (spooned into measuring cup and leveled off with knife)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1-1/2 cups pecans
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Confectioners' Sugar, for dusting
- 1/2 cup favorite jam, jelly or preserves (best quality, such as Bonne Maman)
- Put the granulated sugar in the food processor and process until it is fine and powdery, about 30 seconds. (Be sure to cover the feed tube so the powder doesn’t float out.)
- Add the flour, salt and pecans and pulse until the nuts are finely ground.
- Add the butter and vanilla and process until the mixture looks damp and comes together. Transfer the dough to a bowl, cover with saran wrap and refrigerate at least one hour or overnight.
- Position racks in upper and lower thirds of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on prepared baking sheets about about 2 inches apart. Use the tip of a wooden spoon handle to press an indentation about 3/4 of the way down into the center of each ball. Bake for 22-24 minutes, or until lightly colored on top and golden brown on the bottom. (If your oven cooks unevenly, rotate cookies from top to bottom and from front to back halfway through baking time.)
- Let the cookies cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. Using a sieve, dust cookies with confectioners’ sugar. Use a tiny spoon or the tip of a teaspoon handle to fill with jam, jelly or preserves.
Necessary Equipment: Food Processor