Did you ever make a pinch pot? Making thumbprint cookies kind of reminds me of making pinch pots.Press your thumb down into a little dough ball to form a tiny bowl in the cookie dough. Then fill that little bowl with something sweet and tasty! I like to fill them with a little glop of homemade jam or jelly.
For years, though, every time I made thumbprint cookies the jam bubbled out of the little dough holes while baking, resulting in messy looking cookies. But I think I have finally discovered the secret to making thumbprint cookies that look classy. The key is to not over fill the dough holes. Some people put their jam in a sandwich bag, cut a tiny corner out of the bag, and use the bag to pipe the jam into each cookie. This doesn't work for me. I always end up putting too much jam into each cookie this way. Using a teaspoon doesn't work for me, either. Again, I aways let too much jam fall into the cookie.
This time, though, it dawned on me... it's a tiny little cookie, so use a tiny little spoon! I remembered one that might work. It's a tiny spoon, passed down to me from my grandmother, a tarnished little travel souvenir from long ago. I dug through the silverware drawer and retrieved it.
Wouldn't you know, it worked like a charm! Not one cookie in the whole batch overflowed! And finally! A great use for this charming little spoon!
For the dough I use the Argo cornstarch Basic White Sugar Shortbread Cookie recipe. It makes a light crunchy buttery cookie that almost melts in your mouth. It holds it's shape when baked. And it's not overly sweet, complimenting the jam nicely. Since Argo has kindly shared the recipe on their site, I will reprint it here, with my adaptions for making Thumbprint Cookies.
SHORTBREAD THUMBPRINT COOKIES
(adapted from the Argo brand Basic White Shortbread Cookie recipe)
1 cup softened butter (no substitutions)
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
And a little bit of jam or jelly
Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
Mix butter, sugar, and vanilla together. (The Argo recipe says to use an electric mixer for this. I just mix it well with a spoon.)
In another bowl, use a whisk to blend flour and cornstarch together. Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, mixing well after each addition. (I begin mixing this with a spoon but eventually it is easier to mix and blend together by kneading it with my hands.)
Roll into 1-inch balls. Press thumb down into each ball to form a deep little bowl. Place on parchment lined baking sheet. (I do this in case I spill jam onto the baking sheet.)
Put a little glop of jam (or jelly) into each cookie bowl. Try to only half fill each little bowl.
Bake for 25-30 minutes.