We are entering the time of year when the smell of cookies baking in the oven just feels right. Yesterday I started making these New Mexico-Inspired Thumbprint Cookies as my husband and kids were getting ready to run some errands around town. The dough came together so quickly that by the time I put it in the fridge to rest, the kids were still getting dressed. Those of you with kids will understand when I say that thirty minutes later the cookie dough was fully rested and ready for rolling into balls, and my kids were looking for their socks and shoes.
All of this is to say that making these cookies is easier than you might expect and takes less time than it takes some people to get dressed. I did notice both my husband and the kids keeping an eye on the kitchen timer, so maybe they were carefully planning the timing the whole time. After all, they all were able to grab a warm cookie on their way out the door.
An Unexpected Love for Thumbprint Cookies
I’ve been thinking about thumbprint cookies for a long time. I never really thought about how much I love these buttery, jam-filled cookies until I had one of Dolina’s Polish Tea Cookies filled with either orange marmalade or raspberry jam. As with many food (and life) discoveries, sometimes it takes one extraordinary moment of noticing to change how you see something forever. I know this sounds dramatic but it’s true. Since I do not have much of a sweet tooth, my mind doesn’t gravitate toward desserts the way it does to cheese, fresh bread, popcorn, or butter. Before tasting this cookie at Dolina, I had never given this style of cookie a second thought. But since then, a new room in my mind went under construction and recently opened, dedicated entirely to this delightful cookie.
I learned that while many people call them Thumbprints, they are also referred to as Polish Tea Cakes, Jam Drops, Butter Balls, Hallongrotta (Swedish for “raspberry caves”), and Niçois Suns, a French version made with almond paste, apricot jam, and pistachios.
The version here touches on the classic approach to a shortbread-esque type of cookie but we handle it a bit differently and include an egg yolk for stability and a very slight textural chew.
The Importance of Precision: Weighing Ingredients for Baking
You’ll notice that I include the weight measurement in grams for both the flour and the pecans. So if you happen to have a scale, I encourage you to use it. If not, don’t worry. Weighing ingredients is the most accurate method of measuring and this is particularly important in baking. If you use a measuring cup for the flour, just be sure to scoop a heaping amount into your measuring spoon and scrape off the excess with a butter knife.
Infusing New Mexico Flavors
I had lots of fun thinking about the flavors of New Mexico and this specific time of year. I used pecans from CLC Pecans grown in Lovington, New Mexico, and filled each cookie with a small spoonful of Heidi’s Raspberry Jam, both of which I purchased at The Santa Fe Farmers Market. I added cinnamon, anise (inspired by the beloved biscochito cookie), and a touch of lavender to the dough. The final result might be my new favorite holiday cookie.
This particular recipe is relatively small. The cookies I made were on the bigger side and the recipe yielded 16 cookies. I could have made them smaller and the yield could have easily jumped to around 20. This is entirely up to you. The size of the cookies you make will directly influence the time it takes to bake. So I would say that 15-25 minutes is the window. Keep an eye on them and trust your instincts. You want to look for golden brown bottom edges and remember—they will firm up as they cool.Print
New Mexico-Inspired Thumbprint Cookies with Pecans and Raspberry Jam
Discover a delightful twist on a classic with these New Mexico-inspired thumbprint cookies. This recipe incorporates pecans and Heidi’s Raspberry Jam for a unique holiday treat. Learn how to achieve the perfect texture and taste, and explore the versatility of this beloved cookie style.
- Prep Time: 35 mins
- Cook Time: 25 mins
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 12-20 cookies
- Category: dessert
- Method: bake
- Cuisine: New Mexican
for the cookies:
- 1 1/4 c. (150 g.) all purpose flour
- 1 c. (120 g.) pecan pieces
- 1 t. kosher salt
- 1 t. ground cinnamon
- 1 t. anise seed
- 1/2 t. dried culinary lavender buds (optional)
- 1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 t. vanilla extract or paste
- 2/3 c. granulated sugar
for the filling:
- 1/4 c. jam of your choice
Line a large baking tray with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
In a very dry blender, add the flour, pecans, salt, cinnamon, anise seed and lavender. Blend until the flour mixture looks relatively smooth. It’s ok if you see a few pecan pieces throughout.
Mixing the ingredients
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or a large bowl with a wooden spoon), beat together the butter, egg yolks, vanilla, and sugar until light and fluffy. You will need to use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides down a couple of times until the mixture comes together. Add the flour mixture and mix until the dough just comes together. If it looks a little crumbly, it’s ok. It will come together more as it rests. Cover and let the dough rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Making the thumbprints
Preheat the oven to 350 f. After the dough has rested, use your hands to roll pieces of dough into (evenly sized) balls and place them around 2 inches apart on your prepared baking sheets. Make an indentation around halfway down the dough with your thumb or the back of a wooden spoon. Fill each “cave” with jam.
Baking the cookies
Bake for 15-25 minutes, until the bottom edges are turning golden brown. Remove from the oven and let sit for a few minutes. Use a spatula to transfer them to a wire cooling rack. Let cool for at least five minutes before taking a bite as the jam will be piping hot.
Keywords: Thumbprint Cookies, Pecans, Raspberry Jam, New Mexico Flavors, Baking, Holiday Cookies, Shortbread Cookies, Jam-Filled Cookies, Cookie Recipes, Homemade Treats, New Mexico Ingredients, Baking Tips