Today I have a holiday present for you from my friend Tracy. She's a top notch baker, and every year around this time she and her husband host a cookie party. Everyone brings a platter of their favorite cookies, you eat a bunch at the party, and then you take home what you like best—a mixed bag. It's a nice way to learn about other people's recipes, and also to switch up what you're eating at home. We make an awful lot of sugar cookies this time of year. My favorite cookie to bring home from the party is one Tracy makes: her grandmother's thumbprint cookie, filled with things like dark chocolate ganache and beach plum jelly and homemade chocolate mint jelly.
This year, I asked her for the recipe. She very graciously agreed to share it—with all of us. I'm making mine in every shade of red: red currant jelly I made with fruit from Silverbrook Farms, beach plum jelly that Alex's grandmother put up last year, strawberry jam with fruit from Tony Andrews Farm in Falmouth, and even raspberry jelly from our plants out back. In case you're feeling inspired, here you go: Gramma Hill's Thumbprint Cookies. Happy baking everyone!
GRAMMA HILL'S THUMBPRINT COOKIES
Tracy coped this out from me from her own tattered copy, which has clearly seen many Christmases. She says she learned to make the cookies from her grandmother, who was blind. She didn't cook much, but Tracy would go and bake with her each year around the holidays, helping her measure out sugar and flour.
1 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, separated
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
chopped nuts (Tracy uses cashews, her grandmother used peanuts)
red and green jelly
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Get out several baking sheets and set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla. Stir in the flour until the dough is just mixed.
Roll the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll each ball in the egg whites and then in the chopped nuts, then place them on the baking sheets.
Bake for 5 minutes, then pull the cookies out and use your thumb (or a coffee scoop if your thumbs are tender!) to make a well in the center of each cookie. Return the trays to the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes longer. Pull the cookies out and immediately fill them with jelly. Cool and serve at room temperature. Yum!