I will not lie and say I am so creative and inventive that I come up with most of my own recipes. That would be a big, fat lie. I borrow, beg, and steal. BUT I am a firm believer in the fact that when someone says they can’t cook, it’s that they won’t cook. I can understand people who “can’t” make pie, melt chocolate, cook a turkey, but to “can’t” the whole cooking thing is probably more about lack of desire than lack of ability. Cooking is more than adding ingredients, but it is reading, learning, researching, trying, failing, and trying again. And with experience comes the ability to create, modify, and even improve recipes. I’m still working on that. I fail a lot, but I haven’t stopped trying yet.
On Sunday night, with the help of Matt, we made 2 quarts of yogurt, two loaves of my new favorite bread (look for another post soon on that), plum jam thumbprints, and oatmeal fudge bars. I am one of those that generally “can’t” melt chocolate, so that is where Matt’s able chocolate melting hands came into play on the oatmeal fudge bars.
I am not generally a jam cookie person, but I thought these would make a beautiful addition to our Cookie exchange tomorrow. I was right. They are divine. I don’t think I could eat a store-bought one ever again.
Jam Thumbprints (modified from America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book)
2/3 c. seedless jam (I used homemade plum jam – divine!)
2 1/4 c. all purpose-flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1/4 t. baking powder
12 T unsalted butter, softened
2/3 c sugar
3 oz cream cheese, softened
1 large egg
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat. Fill small zipper-lock bag with jam. Whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a medium bowl.
2. In large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-6 minutes. Beat in the cream cheese, egg, and vanila until combined, scraping down the bowl and beaters as needed.
3. Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly add the flour, mix until combined, about 30 seconds.
4. Working with 1 1/2 t. (or so, I totally eyeballed it) of dough at a time, roll the dough into balls and lay them on the prepared baking sheets, spaced about 1 1/2 inches apart. (They will spread.) make an indentation in the center of each cookie with your thumb.
5. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until they ar just beginning to set and are lightly browned around edges, about 10 minutes. remove the cookies from the oven and, working quickly, gently reshape the indentation withe bottom of a melon baller or rounded teaspoon measure. Snip a small corner off of the bag of jam and carefully fill each indentation with almost enough jam to fill the indentation. Rotate the baking sheet and continue baking until lightly golden 12-14 minutes. Err on the side of underdone.
6. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. The jam will be very hot (think candy) but is beautiful. Ours looked a lot like stained glass.