Classic Christmas recipes can conjure up some of the fondest food memories, for sure, but it’s fun every now and again to break with tradition. Here, I’ve put a twist on two holiday must-haves – the thumbprint and the gingersnap – by combining them into one doubly delectable cookie. Psst! This is quite possibly my favorite recipe from Cookie Swap!
Yield: 3 1/2 to 4 dozen (1 3/4-inch) thumbprints
Prep Talk: Store in airtight containers at room temperature up to 1 week. For crun-chewy outsides, enjoy within the first 3 days before the cookies soften through and through.
- 3/4 cup apricot jam
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup minced crystallized ginger
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon mild molasses
- 2 large eggs, separated
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups slivered almonds, finely chopped (for rolling)
1 | Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line two or more cookie sheets with parchment paper (or silicone baking mats).
2 | Make the cranberry-apricot filling. Place the jam in a small bowl. If there are any large apricot chunks (greater than 1/2 inch) in the jam, pull them out and chop them into small pieces. Stir the pieces back into the jam along with the chopped cranberries. Set aside for use in Step 6.
3 | Mix the thumbprint dough. Mix the dry ingredients and crystallized ginger together in a medium bowl. Break apart any ginger pieces that may be clinging together. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the molasses, egg yolks, and vanilla extract, and beat until well blended. Turn the mixer to low speed and gradually add the flour mixture, blending until just incorporated.
4 | Place the chopped almonds in a large bowl to form a shallow layer; then lightly beat the egg whites. Set aside for use in Step 5.
5 | Portion the dough into 1-inch mounds using a level 1 3/8-inch (#70) scoop or 2 level teaspoons per mound; then roll between your palms into perfect balls. Work with one ball at a time from here. Lightly coat the ball with beaten egg white; then tumble in the almonds to evenly cover it. If needed, roll the ball between your palms again to fix the nuts firmly in place. Repeat with the remaining balls.
6 | Arrange the cookies about 1 to 2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets and gently press a deep cup-shaped indentation into the center of each ball using your thumb, or as I prefer, the handle-end of a wooden spoon. Bake the cookies 13 to 14 minutes or until the nuts are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and re-press the indentations; then fill each with 1 rounded 1/2 teaspoon filling. Bake another 3 to 4 minutes. (Note: I like to fill the cookies partway through baking to prevent the jam from bubbling over the cookie edges. Also, avoid over-filling the cookies, or you’ll end up with overflow regardless of when you fill.) Transfer the cookies to wire racks and cool completely before storing as described in Prep Talk.