- 1 orange, washed
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 to 2 tablespoons raspberry jam
- 1 to 2 tablespoons apricot jam
- 1 to 2 tablespoons blackberry jam
Be sure an adult is nearby to help.
Position the oven racks in the lower and upper thirds of an oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Zest the orange
Holding the orange over the cutting board, rub it over the small grating holes of a box grater-shredder. Use short strokes and turn the orange as you work. Rub off only the colored part of the peel (the zest), avoiding the bitter white pith underneath. Measure out 1 teaspoon zest and set aside.
Mix the dry ingredients
In a bowl, using a whisk, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt until evenly blended. Set aside.
Mix the dough
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until it is soft and fluffy. Turn off the mixer and sprinkle in the sugar. Continue beating until pale.
Turn off the mixer and scrape down the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add the orange zest, vanilla extract and almond extract and beat until blended.
Turn off the mixer and add half the flour mixture. Beat on low just until blended. Add the remaining flour and beat until blended.
Scoop the dough
Using a measuring tablespoon, scoop up a rounded spoonful of dough and then use your finger to push the dough onto one of the prepared cookie sheets. Fill both cookie sheets with the dough, placing the lumps of dough 2 inches apart so that the cookies have room to spread as they bake. You should be able to fit 12 cookies on each cookie sheet.
Make the thumbprints
Dip your thumb in a little bit of flour and use it to make a dent in each ball of dough.
Fill and bake
Fill each dent with a small amount of jam, scooping the jam with a teaspoon and pushing off just what you need with your finger. You can vary the types of jam you use to make different flavors of cookies. When the cookie sheets are full, put them in the oven and bake until the cookies are lightly browned, about 18 minutes.
Let cool and serve
Ask an adult to help you remove the cookie sheets from the oven and set them on wire cooling racks for 10 minutes. Using a metal spatula, move the cookies directly onto the racks and let them cool completely before eating.
Line 1 cookie sheet with a new sheet of parchment. Scoop out the dough, then fill, bake and cool the rest of the cookies. Makes 32 cookies.
Variations: You can make different types of cookies from the same dough!
Follow the recipe for Thumbprint Cookies but leave out the jams. After you have made a dent in each cookie, press half a dried apricot into each dent (you will need 32 dried apricot halves in all). Continue with the recipe as directed to bake the cookies.
Follow the recipe for Thumbprint Cookies but leave out the jams. After you have made a dent in each cookie, press a chocolate kiss into each dent (you will need 32 chocolate kisses in all). Continue with the recipe as directed to bake the cookies.
Follow the recipe for Thumbprint Cookies but leave out the jams. Also omit the step that calls for making a dent in each cookie. Instead, when you scoop out the dough, roll each scoop gently between your palms to make a ball. Then press one side into a bowl of multicolored sprinkles or decorating sugar. Place the cookies, sprinkle side up, on the cookie sheet and continue with the recipe as directed to bake the cookies.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Sweet Treats, by Carolyn Beth Weil (Simon & Schuster, 2006).