Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Holiday Traditions

My family has many Holiday traditions, some new and some that go back through generations.
One of our favorite and longest-standing is the annual
yum of Thumbprint Cookies.
I remember helping my mother make them when i was very small, and my children grew up helping me. When my oldest daughter spent the Holiday season in Italy during college, her one request from home was for a tin of these favored treats. My youngest daughter agrees -- it's just not Christmas if there aren't any Thumbprints!
This is an unusual cookie recipe -- It contains equal amounts of ground
nuts and flour, giving them a wonderful texture. There isn't much sugar to the recipe, and no eggs or leavening products. Trust me; none of this is a typo!
They bake on low heat and will come out of the oven looking very much like they did when they went in.
my oh my! Very rich, nutty and flaky; they are sure to become a favorite with anyone who tries them!

So Merry Christmas -- my gift to you is this wonderful family recipe... enjoy!

Thumbprint Cookies


1 Cup all-purpose flour
Dash of salt
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Cup finely ground walnuts or pecans (I use walnuts)

For filling; chocolate chips, apple jelly

Combine and set aside:

Cream together in Large Mixing bowl or food processor:
Powdered sugar
after these are well blended, add vanilla and stir just long enough to mix it in.

Add dry ingredients, 1/2 at a time, mixing well between halves. Add nuts and continue working the batter until you have a firm ball and a clean bowl.
Cover and chill in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.

To Bake:
Preheat oven to 300f

Spoon off teaspoon-sized chunks from the batter ball and roll into small balls, about the size of a large marble. Place on ungreased cookie sheet about 2" apart.
Make an indentation with your thumb and fill with chocolate chips or a small bit of apple jelly. (For a festive holiday look, the apple jelly can be dyed red or green with food coloring -- I'm a purist and prefer the natural gold color.)
Bake for 20 minutes.
Cool for several minutes before removing from cookie sheet with a spatula. Cool completely before eating.

How many you get depends on how big you roll them -- I get about 2 1/2 dozen per batch, and I always make several batches! (Multiple batches should be prepared separately and not combined for 1 larger batch.)

This is a cookie that benefits from being made ahead of time, as they are even better after sitting in a tin or covered container overnight!

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