Take a bite into one of these thumbprints or better yet, pop an entire one into your mouth. This bite brings me to the days of my childhood where I would often sneak a packet or two of jam cookies into the supermarket trolley, beneath the fruits and vegetables, when my parents were not looking. They would only notice these forbidden snacks far too late and end up paying for them. I always trooped home victorious – that was how I got my jam cookies and I ate them gleefully.
Thankfully, I no longer have to resort to that to get my fix of jam cookies. Not when home-baked jam thumbprints are just an arm’s length from my reach. They give me the happiness of my childhood jam cookies, only more.
Making these thumbprints bring out the child in me. I love pushing my thumb into the rows of little dough balls, one after another, just like how kids enjoy stamping their mark with colourful ink-pads on everything!
These lovely thumbprints are richly- flavoured and super crumbly and the lingonberry jam (which are happily stocked up at Ikea) goes perfectly with them. You can use any other fruit jams in your pantry – raspberry is a favourite of mine.
How about using a few different jams to create a plateful of colourful thumbprints? Sunset orange apricot, passion red raspberries, midnight blue blueberries… Imagine them glistening under the warm glow of the evening sun. Happiness.
And you know happiness is contagious.
Go on and spread the joy with these thumbprints!
Jam (ligonberry) Thumbprints
bite-size happiness thumbprints
200g plain flour, sifted
100g ground almonds
110g icing sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
200g cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1.5 egg yolk (or 1 whole egg)
a dash of vanilla extract
1 tbsp milk (Optional- only if the mixture feels too dry)
Jam (You can use raspberry, strawberry, apricot or in my case, lingonberry)
1. Rub in method: Sift all your dry ingredients into a bowl and start to rub the cold cubed butter to a crumbly mixture. Like pate sable, you don’t want to overwork the gluten in the dough.
2. Add in the egg yolks (you can choose to use a whole egg instead), vanilla extract and rub the mixture through until the crumbs are combined and you are able to form a dough. Add in the milk only if the mixture does not come together. Flatten the dough into a round flat disk, cling wrap it and let it chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes (or overnight).
3. Divide and roll the dough into little balls ( I use about 15g per ball) and lined them on a baking parchment. Leave some space between the cookies as the cookies will spread slightly.
4. Here comes the fun part: lightly flour your thumb and then press on the center of each of the ball. This will be the indent for you to fill the thumbprints with jam.
5. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. Bake for 13 – 14 minutes or until golden brown. I use a fan-forced oven so it is a lot quicker. You might take about 20 minutes for a convection oven.
6. Let the cookies rest on the tray for a few minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.
7. Pass the jam through a sieve to remove the seeds. This will ensure that you will have a smooth jam mixture for your thumbprint cookies. Spoon the jam into the indent of the thumbprints and serve them immediately.
*The dough used for these thumbprint cookies is essentially a sweet shortcrust dough. This recipe could also be used for a tart base.
*Egg yolks: I use egg yolks in this recipe (Also, to use up my egg yolks from my meringues) as this would give the finished product a more golden sheen as compared to using the whole egg. It also makes the thumbprint richer in flavour and a finer crumb.
*The almond meal used gives the cookies an additional rich flavour. If you wish, you could substitute with flour.
*Icing sugar used in such doughs gives the finished product a more crumbly texture. However, it also means that the dough is harder to work with as the icing sugar makes the dough very soft.
*Chilling the dough will relax the gluten in the dough and it will make the dough a lot easier to work with.
*Store the unfilled thumbprints into an air-tight container for a week or two. Fill the centers with jam only before serving. Otherwise, the jam will soften the thumbprints.