Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Day 3: Pumpkin Butter Thumbprints

Pumpkin Butter Thumbprints
On the third day of cookies, my oven baked for me, something more holiday-y. The original inspiration for the cookie came from my new favorite baking book, Dorie Greenspan's Baking. In her "Thumbprints for us big guys" recipe, she paired hazelnuts in the dough with raspberry jam, and like Dorie, that is one of my favorite combinations. However, for a more seasonal twist, I decided to use pecans and pumpkin butter. Pumpkin butter is one of the elusive seasonal Trader Joe's items that everyone madly raves about. So the last time I was there, I picked up a jar of the stuff to see what the big deal was about. It's full of warm spice flavor (almost a little overpowering) but a little lacking in the pumpkin department. Overall it's pretty tasty but way too sweet for me so I like to use it as a baked goods filling. If you don't have a Trader Joe's near you, you can use some homemade pumpkin butter (Smitten Kitchen has a recipe) or apple/pear butter or any other jam. You can also play around with what nuts you use, from walnuts to hazelnuts to almonds or even a combination. The dough is actually the same one I use for Mexican wedding cookies/Russian tea cakes, another holiday favorite, but with the exception that I can stick my finger in these and fill their little cookie tummies with jam.


Pumpkin Butter Thumbprints
With inspiration from Dorie Greenspan

1 C + 2 Tbsp whole pecans
1 C AP flour
1 stick of butter
3 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp of vanilla extract
Powdered sugar
Pumpkin butter (or your favorite jam)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.

In a food processor process the nuts until they resemble coarse cornmeal. Do not overprocess otherwise you'll end up with pecan butter. Then add the sugar, salt, and flour to the nuts and pulse a few more times until there are no distinguishable pieces of nuts.

Cream the butter with a hand or stand mixer then add the extract and mix. Add the processed pecans and flour and mix until the dough comes together.

Scoop about 1 1/2 teaspoons balls of dough. I use a 1-tablespoon cookie dough scooper and break up the dough in half for 1 1/2 teaspoons. Roll the dough into a ball and press an indentation in the center of cookie with your finger (my thumb is too big so I used my index finger) or the back of a wooden spoon (this might be a little small so you'll have to make the indentation a little bigger). Space the cookies about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 15 - 18 minutes, they will be lightly colored but not too brown.

Wait until the cookies are completely cool then dust them lightly with powdered sugar. Then fill the centers with pumpkin butter or jam. You may need to warm the pumpkin butter or jam so you can fill the cookies. The filling will set as it cools.


As a bonus I have also included a Nut Crescent/Mexican Wedding Cookie/Russian Tea Cake recipe.

Nut Crescent/Mexican Wedding Cookies/Russian Tea Cakes

1 C + 2 Tbsp whole pecans
1 C AP flour
1 stick of butter
3 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp of vanilla
Powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Farenheit.

In a food processor process the nuts until they resemble coarse cornmeal. Do not overprocess otherwise you'll end up with pecan butter. Then add the sugar, salt, and flour to the nuts and continue to process until there are no distinguishable pieces of nuts.

Cream the butter with a hand or stand mixer then add the extract and mix. Add the processed pecans and flour and mix until the dough comes together.

Scoop about 1 tablespoon of dough and shape into balls, crescents, logs, or rings. Bake at 325 degrees F for 18 to 20 minutes. The cookies should be pale golden and beginning to brown on the bottoms. Wait until the cookies are completely cool, then roll them in powdered sugar.


Day 1: White Chocolate Cashew Macadamia Butter Cookies
Day 2: Shortbread Bars with Mango Jam

10 comments:

Peabody said...

Love the pumpkin butter idea.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Amy, these look so good!
I really wish I lived nearby. :)

Bettina said...

i love all things pumpkin! they're absolutely gorgeous and scrumptious looking! yums!

Bellini Valli said...

The twist on these thumbprint cookies is very exciting..only a foodie could get excited about a cookie!!

Maria said...

I have made Dorie's original thumbprints and they were excellent! I will have to try this twist! Thanks!!

Cheryl said...

Never saw pumpkin thumbprints. Fantastic idea, and anything that uses pumpkin butter is great with me.

Deb said...

What an innovative idea! They look gorgeous.

Lydia said...

I've always loved making thumbprint cookies -- love the pumpkin butter filling.

Wandering Chopsticks said...

We're cooking the same again! I made these a month or so ago and also filled them with pumpkin butter from TJ's. Freaky!

I haven't gotten around to posting my recipe yet though.

Amy said...

Peabody,
Thanks!

Patricia,
Aw I wish you lived nearby too, then we can do cookie swaps. :) I love your chocolate cookies.

Bettina,
Hehe, Steven's not a big fan of pumpkin.

Bellini Valli,
Hehe that's so true, I get very excited about cookies.

Maria,
Dorie's original thumbprints are excellent.

Cheryl,
Thanks!

Deb,
Thank you! Loved your pumpkin butter post.

Lydia,
They are always so fun. :)

WC,
Wow we are like long lost blogging twins. :)

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