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Anyone who knows me would call me non-traditional or unconventional….my high school voted me most likely to be odd(and most humorous senior female). One exception being Christmas. If I am visiting my parents or they are visiting us for Christmas, I must have the Christmas of my childhood. The same exact dinner every time(with no deviation-I get cranky). The same cookies. The same way we open gifts…and so on. Ironically when they aren’t here I make very non-traditional filet mignon stuffed with crab and garlic mashed potatoes. I only make frosted sugar cookies….although we do follow all the other traditions. If you are sitting there saying, your poor husband doesn’t get any of his traditions….yeah…he doesn’t have any…for any holiday(kind of freaked me out to be honest).

So every year my mom makes the same Christmas cookies but adds one that she hasn’t made before just for variety. Every year she has frosted sugar cookies, date-nut pinwheels(which no one eats but her), russian tea cakes, red and green butter cookies with sprinkles and jam thumbprint cookies. Everyone of these coming from teh Betty Crocker cookbook….the one printed in 1950. Come to find out 90% of everything I ate as a kid came from this book. I of course did not realize this until I bought a reprint of the original a few years back. It makes sense since my grandmother was not a good cook, I guess she had to learn somewhere.

I wanted to start baking cookies and blog about them so that people would have some options in case they were going to a cookie exchange. Most everyone has this recipe but I wanted to start with a cookie that was traditonal to my Christmas. I have to say I have already eaten 3 and I feel like the tree should be up and cocoa should be in my hand…not just yet. The recipe is rather vague, as are most in the Crocker cookbook of yester-year. It said it made 2 dozen, I got 11 cookies. Look for lots more cookie recipes in the coming weeks.

Jam Thumbprint Cookies

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg, seperated
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup nuts(I used walnuts), chopped

Preheat oven to 375F
Mix together the butter, sugar, vanilla and egg yolk. Stir in flour and salt.
Roll into 1″ balls. Dip in slightly beaten egg whites. Roll in finely chopped nuts. Place about 1″ apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 5 minutes. Remove from oven. Quickly press thumb gently on top of each cookie(if you are whimpy use the back of a melon baller). Return to oven and bake 8 minutes longer. Cool.
Place in thumbprints a bit of jelly(I used homemade raspberry).
Feel free to add whatever to your thumbprint. Ganache, icing, chopped up fruit…etc.

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  1. I love to make these for Christmas! Raspberry is my favorite flavor for them. They just look and taste like Christmas….

  2. I love Christmas cookies of all kinds. I’m Moravian so molasses and sugar cookies are huge around here. (Google them! Molasses are super-hard to get super-thing. My grandmother was a genius at this.)

    I got the BC Cookie Book as a wedding gift. It’s awesome.

  3. These look good. I’ve never made a thumbprint cookie but have a recipe in my to try file. I think it’s a raspberry lemon thumbprint from Emeril, but I LOVE the way yours look with the nuts on them. May try these first. I think I’m doing a Cookie Swap this year and these would be fun to try.

  4. Homemade raspberry jelly on top? yum. I really need to get into making my own jellies… oh, the possibilities!

    I’ve been wanting to get that cookbook – looks wonderful, I feel Christmas coming.

    ps- I try to give the baked goods away but I always feel like I have to try it before I give it away – ya know?

  5. I could certainly eat the remaining 8!

  6. Helen- there are only 5 left now! They are all I have eaten all day. Very bad for the diet but I do play hockey in a couple hours so they will hopefully be burned off! :)

  7. Thumbprint cookies never looked so good!

  8. do they keep well? (ie stay crunchy?)

  9. Bea at La Tartine Gourmande says:

    I had never heard about cookie exchange. These cookies really look delicious.

  10. Hockey?? Wow, I’m impressed…ice or field? These cookies look amazing…I’ve made a similar recipe using coconut instead of the nuts…delicious!

  11. I totally agree with Sam – I’ve never seen such a pretty thumbprint cookie! I am so excited you’ll be featuring cookies for a while – I only make 2 traditional recipes and then lots of new ones for Christmas, so I’m always on the look-out. :D

  12. Beautiful…my nana used to make the same thing but she called them Christmas Wreaths…also good with apricot jam.

  13. I love thumbprint cookays! My Mom/Dad are muckin’ with Thanksgiving this year…I’m not a happy monkay!

  14. Great series: I’m like your Mom, I do a few of the same ones every year (though my “few” is more like 15 kinds …) and then experiment with another new recipes. Then the family votes on what’s the best cookie overall and the best new cookie … makes for lots of serious taste-testing! The kids love to call out in the middle of the afternoon, “cookie party” and we all gather around a big tray of cookies and … yes, taste cookies. I always make little cookies, 1 – 2 bites apiece, so that the variety only adds 5 lbs over Christmas, not 10!

  15. Kevin- I play ice hockey…with guys.
    Jill- my mom does raspberry and apricot jam.
    Bea- you don’t do cookie exchnages? Everyone brings 1/2 dozen cookies for each person coming, so at the end of the night you have a variety of cookies to bring home…it’s nice. Oh, and the recipes of course too.

  16. These are some of my favorite cookies…..looking at your beautiful photo brought back some old memories!Happy Cooking

  17. Beautiful cookies Peabody! :)

    I can’t wait to see more. I’m lacking any inspiration this holiday season. Traditional favorites sound perfect to me, so I’ll be eagerly awaiting more recipes. ;)

  18. I want more than just cookies! I’ve tagged you for the Foodbloggers Welcome Dinner, I hope you’ll participate.

  19. hi! stumbled across ur site . it’s LOVELY :D great photos and recipes.

    do you think you could put serving size down too?


  20. Fab looking, as always. It doesn’t look like a cookie, so I’m going to have to imagine the texture of it.

  21. Awesome! I can’t remember the last time I had a thumbprint cookie. Memories…….

  22. These look just like the thumbprints I make for Christmas! For the filling, I use an icing made from confectioner’s sugar. I look forward to these things all year. The recipe comes from my grandma, but I’m sure it’s one of those common american classics.

  23. I’m the same way with traditions. Nothing, absolutely nothing, can change! And these cookies are ones that we always have too. Have you tried leaving off the nuts (although I suppose it would be fine if you left them) and putting a Hershey’s kiss in the middle instead of jam? Then you can satisfy the chocolate people too.

  24. We used to make these too! And we used to put kisses in the middle, and make the jam version too.

  25. Hi, thanks for this recipe. I had a can of pineapples and some flour to use up and had a go at making these. Had to replace some of the flour with cornflour and some sweet rice flour because I didn’t have enough wheat flour left but it came out really nice and quite a lot like the pineapple tarts that I usually get from the stores :D.

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