Friday, May 15, 2015

Pecan Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

There are some times when you feel like experimenting and then there are times when you just want to know that a recipe is perfectly reliable and meets all your expectations.  This is one of those recipes.

This is a fabulous cookie from Joanne Chang, owner of Flour bakery cafĂ© in Boston’s South End and author of three cookbooks.  In the last few years, she’s expanded to four bakeries throughout Boston.  Baking with Less Sugar is her latest cookbook.  Needless to say, she's earned quite a reputation.

This is a simple cookie dough infused with the flavor and texture of toasted pecans and brightened with a small dollop of raspberry jam.  The cookie is crisp and light.  The tart jam acts as a delicious foil for the butter and nuts.  I fudged a bit on the preparation by mixing the dough in a food processor rather than using the creaming method in a stand mixer.  If you’d rather follow Joanne’s precise directions, just follow the link below to the original recipe.

These cookies are really wonderful.  I love the combination of nuts and raspberries and this cookie does a great job of promoting both.  They’re delicate and crumbly with just a hint of sweetness.  This is a recipe you’ll definitely want to promote to your favorites list, not only handy for the holidays but available whenever you’re in the mood for a super delicious bite.

Bench notes:
-  Joanne Chang’s weights for flour, pecans and powdered sugar are very different from mine.  I went with all her formulations and those are presented in the recipe below, with the weights first.
- Toast pecans in a single layer on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes.
- I use a measuring 1/2 teaspoon to make the “thumbprint.”  That makes them pretty uniform and perfect for the 1/2 teaspoon of jam.
- This recipe makes a lot of cookies.  I got about a dozen more than the 4 dozen the recipe states.  The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for 3 - 4 days. They will soften over time because of the jam filling.  They are still delicious but if you want crisp cookies, I recommend making a half batch.  

Pecan Thumbprint Jam Cookies
Makes about 60 cookies

14 1/4 oz (3 cups + 2 tablespoons) flour                            
6 oz (1 1/2 cups) pecans, toasted                                               
3 oz (1 cup) powdered sugar                                                       
1/2 teaspoon salt                                                                                                   
12 oz (3 sticks) cold unsalted butter       
2 teaspoons vanilla                                                                                   
1/2 cup - 3/4 cup raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.   Line baking sheets with parchment or silpats. 

Place the flour, pecans, powdered sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor.  Process until the nuts are finely ground.  Cut the butter into 1/2” pieces and add along with the vanilla.  Process until the dough begins to form clumps around the blade.

Roll the dough into 1 1/4” balls and set them about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets.  Press your measuring 1/2 teaspoon or your thumb gently into the middle of each ball to make a well for the jam.  Stir the jam to loosen it and then spoon about 1/2 teaspoon into the wells.

Bake until the cookies are golden brown, about 17 - 20 minutes. Place the pans on a wire rack to cool. 



SallyBR said...

Lovely batch of cookies, I think I rather use your variation of the recipe for mixing the ingredients.

perfect cookies to share with colleagues from the department, so if you don't mind, I am pinning you..... rather, your post ;-)

and I wish you a wonderful weekend!

pastry studio said...

Happy weekend to you, SallyBR!! I found making them in a food processor really didn't impair their deliciousness. Thanks very much for the pin and cheers to your colleagues!

SallyBR said...

Do you think that making half the recipe would still be doable in the food processor?

i think I want to bake a batch on Sunday but I rather make 30 cookies only....

pastry studio said...

Yes, that's what I did and it worked out beautifully. It's actually much more manageable that way.

SallyBR said...

Awesome! Thanks so much!

SallyBR said...

Just baked them! The trays are cooling on racks now. Mine did not turn out as beautiful as yours, but of course... OPERATOR ERROR..

I think I should have used less dough for each cookie and spread the jam on a larger circle. Still, it was fun to do it, my first time ever with this type of cookie!

thank you!!!!

pastry studio said...

Oh, awesome! Love your determination. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Three Cheers!

Carol Roe said...

Could Strawberry/Rhubarb Jam be used?

pastry studio said...

Hello, Carol WY! Sure, any jam can be used as long as it isn't too watery. Strawberry/Rhubarb sounds really delicious.

SallyBR said...

Finally blogged about them!!!! If you have a chance, stop by and see if you like them... well, as I mentioned to you, they did not turn out as gorgeous as the ones you made, but plenty delicious!

Hope you are having a wonderful weekend!

pastry studio said...

Great post, Sally - your cookies look fabulous!

I left a comment on your blog but I don't think it stuck……Anyway, I'm really pleased you and your crew had a chance to make and enjoy them. I think it's one of my favorite cookies and yours look beautiful.