Friday, January 28, 2011

Butter Pecan Thumbprints with Lemon Curd

Thumbprints are one of those cookies that you inevitably see on a plate of Christmas cookies. When the offerings are so rich, I tend to shy away from the cookies that I don’t like as much. Ok, there aren’t cookies that I really dislike, but up to now, thumbprints have been fairly low on my list. I think the ones I’ve had in the past were filled with garish red and green jelly. Cookies with a big glob of unappetizing jelly? No thanks, I’ll stick with a sugar cookie or something.

My tastes have matured a bit, because I’ve now started to be more open to thumbprint cookies. I’ve made Caramel Cashew Thumbprints and Pineapple Coconut Thumbprints and one for Tuesdays with Dorie. When I first saw these cookies, I was immediately drawn to them. These were unusual in that you bake the cookies twice: once without the lemon curd and once with it. I was intrigued. I like lemon curd and hadn’t used it in a long time. I figured I’d give it a try.

I read through how Ninette of Big, Bold, Beautiful Food made these and she had gone through some trial and error. She suggested shaping the cookies and then freezing them for a short while to make sure they don’t spread. That worked really great (although my cookie sheets BARELY fit into my freezer) and they held their shape perfectly. The lemon curd in these is the perfect accompaniment. I love lemon all year around, but it’s especially nice in the middle of winter. I think I’m really starting to like thumbprint cookies!

2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups toasted pecans
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Lemon curd (about 1/2 cup)
Powdered sugar

Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

Combine flour, pecans, and salt in a food processor and process until finely ground. Set aside. In a large mixer bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg yolks and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture. You may need to mix in the last of the flour mixture by hand.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place on the prepared baking sheets, about an inch apart. Gently push the center of each ball down, creating an indentation, either with your thumb and/or the back of a rounded measuring teaspoon. To help keep the cookies from spreading, place the cookie sheets in the freezer for 20 minutes to chill.

While the cookies are chilling, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Bake the cookies until just set, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and press the indentations again. Fill the warm cookies with about ½ teaspoon of lemon curd. Bake for an additional 8-10 minutes, until very lightly browned.

Allow to cool on the cookie sheets for 5 minutes and then move to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust lightly with powdered sugar.

Recipe from Big, Bold, Beautiful Food


briarrose said...

Lemon curd is a great thumbprint choice. Looks tasty.

Lisa said...

I think I'd prefer your lemon filled thumbprints to jam filled ones too. There's just something about lemon that is so tantalizing. I have a linky party on my blog every week called "Sweets for a Saturday" and I'd like to invite you to stop by this weekend and link this up.

Anne said...

I love lemon curd and haven't made any yet this year. This recipe is the push I need to do that- these cookies look awesome!

Ninette Enrique said...

Thanks for trying the cookies ... I'm glad my little experiments were useful to you!