Thumbprint Cookies

These are classic cookies distinguished by big jam-filled circles in the middle. They are cute for children, and you can use different types of jam for a variety of colors, but they’re also nice “grown-up” cookies that go really well with tea or coffee. The cookies themselves are dry and crumbly, which sets off the jam very well.

I think these taste best a day or two after baking. A note about the filling: Avoid jelly, as it doesn’t melt enough to fill the center. And orange marmalade is especially delicious — the slight bitterness is wonderful with the sweetness of the cookie.

Makes about 40

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ (icing) sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
2/3 cup jam (try to use seedless varieties)

Heat the oven to 350F/175C degrees.

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixture, using the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, then add the flour and mix until just combined.

Put flour on your hands and pinch off pieces of dough, then roll them around with your fingers to make 1-inch balls. Space them 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. With a floured thumb, make an indentation in the center of each ball, then fill it with 1/2 tsp. of jam. Be careful not to get jam anywhere except in the center of the cookie.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden around the bottoms. Remove them from the baking sheet and place on a wire rack to cool.