It’s that time of year again! It’s time for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!! This is the second year I’ve participated in this fantastically fun baking phenomenon, that was the brainchild Lindsay from Love and Olive Oil and Julie from The Little Kitchen. Last year was a great success, so they decided to do it again for 2012. This year, 575 food bloggers from 8 different countries are participating! In a few days, I’ll be able to pass on a link to you which will link you up to all 575 recipes! One stop cookie recipe shopping!
I was sent the names of three other participating bloggers to swap with. This year, I sent cookies to Ashton over at Something Swanky, Mary at Passionate Perseverance, and Lisa at Clawson Live. Be sure to check out their blogs when you get a chance!
I decided to send out one of my all time favorite Christmas cookies to my matches. I discovered this recipe about five or six years ago in an issue of Fine Cooking magazine. It’s since become a family favorite, and we look forward to enjoying it during the holidays every year. So, it had that going for it. It also had the “I think I can ship them and have them make it to Utah and Virginia in one piece” thing going for it as well.
One of the things that sets this recipe apart from other thumbprint recipes is the use of the nuts. I’ve had traditional thumbprints that are rolled in nuts before baking. The pecans in this recipe are inside the cookie. First, they are toasted, and then ground into a fine crumble in the food processor.
Once the pecans were ground up, they were beaten into some butter until the mixture was nice and light.
Then, I beat in some powdered sugar and vanilla, and then finally mixed in some flour and salt.
The dough is very light, almost reminds me of a shortbread dough.
Once the dough was prepped, I started rolling the dough into 1-11/4 inch balls and I set them about 2 inches apart on my cookie sheets.
Traditionally, this is where the “thumb” of the thumbprint comes in. You are more than welcome to use your thumb, but I find that using the back of a teaspoon to make a little well in the center of each cookie creates more uniformity. (I’m kind of a symmetry nerd that way.) Using my teaspoon, I carefully “thumbprinted” my cookies.
Then, it was time to fill those little guys up. I carefully spooned about 1/2 teaspoon of raspberry jam into the middle of each cookie. You can use whichever type of jam you enjoy. I usually stick with raspberry or apricot.
Once they were all filled with jam, I popped them into the oven to bake.
***One thing I’ve learned about this dough is that it tends to dry out the longer it sits out in between baking sheets. The drier the dough gets, the harder it is to roll into balls. To solve that problem, after I pop my cookie sheets in the oven, I cover the remaining dough in the bowl with some plastic wrap until I need to scoop out more. I just press the plastic wrap right down onto the dough.
After about 15 minutes, they were perfectly golden brown on top, and my kitchen smelled sweet, buttery, and Christmassy. I love these cookies. Can’t say enough about them! They are light, and buttery, and those toasted pecans take them to a whole new level of tasty.
I let those tasty little buggers cool, and then packaged them up to send off to the other bloggers. Thankfully, I had a few left over for my family to enjoy. They would have been pretty upset if there hadn’t been any left! (Either way, I’m pretty sure I’ll make another round of them before the holidays are over!)
I hope you enjoyed them, Ladies!
As soon as I get the link, I’ll post the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap round-up information for you. I’ll also post the links to the cookies that I received in the mail! All I can say is, I’m a lucky, lucky girl. I’m sure the mailman was jealous!
PECAN BUTTER THUMBPRINT COOKIES
Adapted from Fine Cooking
- 3 cups plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp. table salt
- 1½ cups unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 1½ cups pecans, toasted
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- ½ to ¾ cup red raspberry preserves with seeds
- Position a rack in the center of your oven, and preheat the oven to 350*F.
- In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the flour and the salt. Set aside.
- In a food processor, grind the toasted pecans until they are very finely ground.
- Place the pecans in a large bowl with the butter. Beat the butter and pecans together, on medium speed, until very soft and light, about 3 minutes.
- Beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute.
- Scrape the bowl down with a rubber spatula. With the mixer on low-speed, gradually add the flour mixture until totally incorporated, about 30 seconds.
- Using your hands, roll the dough into 1 to 1½ inch balls and set them about 2 inches apart on cookie sheets that have been lined with parchment paper. **Cover the remaining dough, that wouldn't fit on the cookie sheet, with plastic wrap while you're waiting to scoop it out. It won't dry out that way.
- Using your thumb, or the back of a teaspoon measuring spoon, press a small well into each of the cookies.
- Stir the preserves to loosen, and then spoon about ½ tsp. into the centers of each cookie.
- Bake, until the cookies are golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. (Start on the lower end. Mine are usually done after 15 minutes...maybe even less!)
- Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 1 minute before removing to a baking rack to cool completely.
- The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for 4-5 days.