Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Roasted almond thumbprints

I hung out with an eight year old on Friday night. I had several half-empty jars of jam in the fridge. We made thumbprints. What's not to like about cooking in which you're required to stick your thumb into a soft mound of dough? What's not to like about filling each little crater with different shades of sweet, sticky jam? What's not to like about something you can make quickly and not have to wait too long to eat? The appeal, really, is universal.

As a rule, the thicker the filling in the thumbprint, the better - the homemade raspberry jam I had was a stunning colour but its runny consistency meant it leaked into the cracks of the cookies, which though delicious, was somewhat less visually enticing. Particuarly successful was lemon curd - a puckering pop of bright, sour sweet against the nutty, buttery base of the cookie. Vegans, if you're feeling hard done by reading this, skip the lemon curd, stick to the jam and check out my friend Elizabeth's recipe for an egg and butter-free version. They're delicious. The ones I made also use nuts - in the form of roasted almonds - which make them slightly more labour-intensive than your basic butter/sugar/flour/egg thumbprint, but I would argue more subtle and satisfying. The cookie tastes of almond rather than sugar, so you're able to appreciate the jam more, and importantly, the combination of the two. Like someone with small thumbs and someone big enough to use an oven. Together, they make one great cookie.