Cherry Almond Thumbprints pair the delicious flavors of cherry preserves and almond to make a buttery shortbread cookie that is perfect for the holidays.
Hello! And welcome to Day 2 of my 12 Days of Holiday Treats series!
This year my cookie boxes will include these thumbprints. There were several years where I made these cookies and each year, the beautifully formed thumbprint turned into a flattened ugly disk by the time it came out of the oven, so I gave up.
Not this time. I have two tricks that will make your thumbprints beautifully shaped. Now, they won’t look perfectly round like a machine made them. They will still each be different and what I call “rustic”, but gone are the days of flattened thumbprints. NO MORE, I say! Ready to know my two tricks?
Okay, here they are: Trick #1: Once you shape the dough (which should be a nice tall and deep thumbprint to begin with) and you fill it with the preserves, stick the entire baking sheet in the freezer. I have a deep freezer in the garage and it fits perfectly. If you can’t do this step, for whatever reason, have no fear. Just make sure your dough and preserves are as cold as you can get them. Trick #2: The second you pull these delicious shortbread cookies out of the oven, use a plastic scraper or spatula to form them back into cute little round cookies. You must work fast while they’re very hot, but you can do it. I have total confidence in your abilities. Of all the cookies I make, I think these may be my husbands favorite and I often have to smack his hand away to maintain my supply to give to others. You can use any kind of seedless preserves you like, but I honestly think there is no better flavor pairing with almond than that of pure cherry. YUM!
Cherry Almond Thumbprints
- 1 cup butter softened
- 2/3 cup white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup cherry preserves
- 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 teaspoon milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attached, cream together butter and white sugar until smooth. Mix in 1/2 teaspoon almond extract. Add flour and mix on low speed just until dough comes together, then flash at a medium high speed for 5 seconds to form the dough into a ball. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheets 2 inches apart. Make a small hole in the center of each ball (I use the ball end of a small wooden honey dipper) and fill the hole with about a 1/2 teaspoon of preserves. To minimize spreading of the cookie, you can freeze the entire sheet for 15 minutes prior to baking.
Bake for 14 to 18 minutes in preheated oven. Depending on your baking sheet, dough may not brown at all. Immediately after removing from oven, use a spatula or plastic scraper to gently reform cookies as they may have flattened out a bit during the baking process. Let cool 5 minutes on the cookie sheet.
In a small bowl, mix together the confectioners' sugar, 3/4 teaspoon almond extract, and milk until smooth. Drizzle lightly over warm cookies.