Hazelnut crunch on the outside, soft inside and topped with a sweet and tangy homemade raspberry jam, can it sound better? I doubt if they can taste any better. I must warn you....they are very addictive. These are called thumbprint cookies since they are shaped with your thumb. You may ask why not with any other finger? I think because our thumb is the broadest of all our fingers, shaping the cookies becomes easier.
This recipe is very versatile, you can replace hazelnuts with any other nut like almonds, walnuts etc. and you can use any other fruit preserve or jam like blueberry, strawberry, apricot etc. instead of raspberry but I am not sure if any other combination will taste as delicious as hazelnuts and home made raspberry jam.. I will have to try out.
These thumbprint cookies are baked twice, I mean with a break. The jam is dolloped on them after they are baked. To save on time and to enjoy these cookies whenever you want, once the dough has been shaped to little balls, freeze the cookies uncovered on a baking sheet. After a couple of hours or overnight, transfer them to freezer proof containers or ziplock bags. Whenever you feel like eating them, remove from the freezer and proceed as mentioned in the recipe below. There is no need to thaw them first.
Source: Martha Stewart's Cookies
Makes 25 to 30 Cookies
165 grams all purpose or plain flour
90 grams butter at room temperature (Note: my international friends might have to use 115 grams butter instead of 90 grams, the reason being that the local brand unsalted butter available in India has a higher water content as compared to international brands).
100 grams + 2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 large egg separated, each part lightly beaten and at room temperature.
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract.
pinch of salt
1/2 cup toasted and skinned hazelnuts.
Sieve the flour and salt together and whisk to combine. Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and on medium-high speed, beat the butter and the 100 grams sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and mix.
Reduce speed to low. Add the flour and mix until just combined. Refrigerate the dough for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 165 degrees C. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Using a food processor or a mixer grinder, pulse the hazelnuts until coarsely or finely (your choice) ground. Do not over process or it will turn into nut butter. Tip in the hazelnuts into a bowl and mix in the 2 tablespoons caster sugar.
Roll the chilled dough into approximately one inch balls. If the dough has become too tiff to shape, leave it at room temperature for 5 mins and then try again. (If you are using frozen dough balls, proceed from here). Dip a ball in the egg white mixture and then roll it in the hazelnut mixture.
Place them one inch apart on the lined baking sheet. Press down gently with your thumb until it makes an impression.
Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and press the center again gently with lightly floured end of a wooden spoon.
Keep the baking sheet in the oven again and bake until golden brown,about 8 to 10 minutes more. Place the baking sheet on a wire rack to cool. After about 5 mins, remove the cookies from the baking sheet and place them on a wire rack. Fill the center of the cookies with raspberry jam. You can use either a teaspoon or a piping bag. Let the cookies cool completely before munching on them.