Mondays with Martha: Sweetheart Thumbprint Cookies
- Cooking My Way Through This Month's Martha Stewart Magazine -
Volume: January/February 2020
My Rating: 10 out of 10
Mood Music: If This Isn't Love - Jennifer Hudson
Whether you want something delicious for Valentine's Day, Galentine's Day, or just want to add a classic, incredible shortbread cookie to your repertoire, this. recipe. is. it! Goodness knows that I love a jam cookie, but these ones are truly special. Out of the oven they are the most irresistibly flaky and buttery cookie, and then the next day they condense into a more solid cookie, but equally amazing. When I saw it in the January/February issue, I knew I just had to try it and I can't wait to make this recipe again and again. It's a keeper!
If you have never made cookies with powdered sugar before (as opposed to granulated sugar), it makes the texture extremely fine and smooth. There are no gritty sugar crystals in the cookies, which make them so soft and decadent. If you choose to add the decorative sugar that this recipe calls for (but I omitted), then you will have that crunch, if that's what you are looking for.
The cookie dough comes together quickly and easily in my Kitchenaid mixer, and then i started rolling the cookies into equal-sized dough balls. Keeping them as close in size to each other as possible will help them cook evenly, so I'd recommend looking them over and pinching off the extra dough and re-rolling the larger ones. I was a little skeptical of how this whole make-a-heart-with-the-bottom-of-a-fork/spoon/knife concept would work out; I was so worried that these v-shaped cuts would expand into huge openings that I made sure to analyze all of my silverware for which had the skinniest handle and use that one. Well, they did NOT expand into huge openings. So, I ended up with very skinny hearts! Next time I will go big or go home, 1) because I love jam, and 2) because the bigger hearts look oh so much cuter.
In the end, I opted not to add the dusting sugar on top (see step 3 below), because I wanted a smoother-textured cookie, but I do think that Martha's version looks really cute, so I will definitely try that method one of these days. Overall, I cannot recommend these cookies enough and hope that you test them out and enjoy them with your loved ones!
Recipe c/o Martha Stewart Magazine Jan/Feb 2020
Sweetheart Thumbprint Cookies
-1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter; room temperature
-1/2 c. confectioners' sugar (aka powdered sugar)
-1/4 tsp. pure vanilla extract
-1/4 tsp. kosher salt
-1 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
- sanding sugar, preferably a combination of fine and coarse
- pink of pink luster dust (optional)
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 c. jam (e.g. orange, apricot, peach, strawberry, or pineapple)
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Beat butter with confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and salt until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute. Beat in flour until a dough forms.
Roll level tablespoons of dough into balls; arrange 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Using the end of the handle of a flat-bottomed eating utensil or rubber spatula, press two deep indentations into the center of each ball to create a V (it will expand during baking to become a heart).
Bake until bottoms are golden and cookies are just set, 17 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, stir together sanding sugar and a tiny pinch of luster dust. In a small bowl, beat egg white with 1 teaspoon water. Working with a few cookies at a time, brush tops with egg wash and sprinkle generously with sanding-sugar mixture.
Return to oven and bake until egg wash is dry and sugar has set, about 1 minute. Let cookies cool 5 minutes on sheets, then transfer to wire racks and let cool completely.
In a small saucepan, bring jam to a boil. Press through a fine-mesh strainer; discard solids. Spoon into heart indentations (about 1/2 teaspoon per cookie), or transfer heated jam to squeeze bottles for more precision. Let jam set completely before serving. (Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to 5 days.)