Recently I had a craving for thumbprint cookies. I don't know why. I'd never made them before but they struck me as something I wanted to make and eat. I turned to my recently acquired Dorie's Cookies cookbook for inspiration. I didn't find a recipe for thumbprints but found something infinitely better.
There's a lovely story behind the creation of this recipe and you'll find it in the book (page 350). The Classic Jammers are part of her Beurre & Sel collection - which it in itself is a great story, also included in the book.
In her description she says these cookies "seemed better suited to tea trays than to lunch boxes" and I'd agree. In my first batch I made the base a little too thin but even with a thicker base, they're still on the delicate side. But Dorie's method for making perfectly round cookies is genius. I love the way they turned out and, more importantly, how they taste.
There are three parts to this recipe: the vanilla sablé cookie base, jam, and the streusel topping.
The sablé is rich and buttery. Two things I learned when working with this dough. First, you need to roll it out the ¼" thickness specified. As I mentioned earlier, my first batch was too thin and the cookies broke too easily.
The second thing I learned is this dough will soften quickly. If you're making these in the summer (as I was) or in a warm kitchen, you'll have to work quickly to cut out the cookies. I ended up doing a few cookies at a time - cutting them out then placing the uncut dough back in the refrigerator. I also put the cut cookies into the fridge while I waited for the dough to firm up.
For the filling I used my Apricot Jam. It was a little on the thin side so I cooked it down until it was a thicker consistency.
To keep the cookies uniformly round, Dorie uses muffin tins (or 2" ring molds for larger cookies). It's genius, as are so many of her tips. For me it was finding the right size cookie cutter. The first batch was a little large so the subsequent batches I used a smaller cutter. As Dorie said, the cookies will spread out to fill the tin. Another important thing - be sure to grease your tin well.
Finally for the topping, Dorie recommends making a double batch of her "Use-It-For-Everything Streusel". One batch is enough for this recipe but because it's so versatile it can be used to top cakes and brownies and lots of other things. I should have listened to her as I ran out of streusel for the last set of cookies. Oh well, live and learn.
I'm obsessed with these cookies and I absolutely recommend making them. They are worth the effort!