Chow Town

Hunting for good cookie recipes? Here’s one for Lemon and Strawberry Thumbprints

Lemon + Strawberry Thumbprints
Lemon + Strawberry Thumbprints Specil to The Star

Tell me about your favorite cookie! I want to know everything.

How is it made? Is it crisp or chewy or both? Do you make a batch or does someone make them for you? Do you make them to share or do you stockpile them? As we step in to the world of cookies together, I am wondering … can we swap recipes?

I feel like I need the spark of a few tried and true cookie recipes in my repertoire. If you share recipes with me, will you please be super specific? There are so many ways to get mixed up in a recipe, but I stand a chance if you can really lay it all out for me.

One of the best things about cookies is the dough. Sometimes it is even better than the baked cookie. Have you ever (accidentally) had salt in your sugar bin? I can’t recommend it. Worst bite of cookie dough ever.

Most cookie dough can live happily in your freezer … leaving you prepared for unexpected guests, late night cravings, last minute school parties and a quick homemade gift. You can easily mix up a couple of batches of dough on a rainy day, divide it up into portions, bake some and then freeze some. Armed with a respectable inventory of dough, you are ready for anything. We’ll dive in to more of a specific plan about all of this soon.

There is something missing from my lemon thumbprint cookie recipe below — the strawberry jam formula. My recipe still needs work before it is shareable. If you make a great jam, use that. If not, please buy a lovely jar at the farmers market this weekend. I love this bright lemon and strawberry version of the thumbprint.

Mix it up:

▪ You can leave out the lemon, add a little almond extract, and then use orange (or other citrus) marmalade for a fancy pants orange almond thumbprint.

▪ Add a small sprig of fresh thyme to the cookie dough along with the lemon zest.

▪ Use a raspberry rose jam and Meyer lemon zest and juice.

▪ A little splash of slightly reduced balsamic vinegar can be take the place of the hot water to loosen your jam.

▪ If you want to freeze this dough, form it in to a log, wrap tightly with plastic wrap, and the place in a freezer safe zip bag. Thaw it in the fridge.

Lemon + Strawberry Thumbprints

Makes about 48 cookies

1/2 cup (approximately) strawberry jam

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature

2/3 cup granulated sugar

2 large egg yolks

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice (strained)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, combine the jam with about 1 tablespoon of hot water to loosen (unless your jam is soft). Stir to combine. In a medium bowl, combine the sifted flour, baking powder and salt and whisk together.

In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy. (I use a paddle that has a spatula built in.) Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

Beat in the egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla. Carefully add the flour mixture in 2 additions and beat just until moist clumps form. Do not over mix. Gather the dough together into a ball.

Use a small portion scoop or just pinch off the dough to form 1-inch balls. Place on the prepared baking sheets, spacing 1-inch apart. Press your index finger (floured) to create depressions in the center of each ball. Fill each indentation with about 1/2 teaspoon of your jam.

Bake thumbprints until light golden brown, about 10-13 minutes. (I bake about 5 minutes, turn my pan 180 degrees, and then finish the bake.) Cool completely.

Erin Brown is a passionate and energetic wife, mother, pastry chef and proprietor of Dolce Bakery in Prairie Village.