It’s February in Vermont and the snow is piling up outside.
I love watching my little boy play in the snow and my husband get bright eyed planning his next snowboarding adventure. I, however, am a California girl living in Vermont. Sure, I love the romance of snow in the winter. It’s beautiful! But the cold gets old, and I’m pining for the warmth of summer on Lake Champlain.
You can love or hate it, but it’s ultimately how you embrace the cold and create your own winter sanctuary that will get you through it. Winter is my favorite time of year for baking and doing my best to create “hygge” – that feeling of warmth and coziness that the Danish have mastered and even have a special word for. A roaring fireplace, warm woolly socks, a candlelit dinner with friends and family, turning on the oven and filling the house with the sweet smell of your favorite baked things… all these help battle the fatigue of winter.
Making these thumbprint cookies was a bit of hygge therapy for me.
I needed to keep it simple because I didn’t want to run to the store for ingredients (remember the snow!). If you have the basics (flour, sugar, butter, eggs, baking soda, salt, and vanilla) and a bit of jam kicking around, you can make this! Because these cookies are so simple, it really lets the jam filling shine. The key is to choose a thick jam that will set nicely.
For this jam, V Smiley harvested black currants from her mother’s farm property in New Haven, Vermont. Taking a bite of these jammy cookies had me daydreaming and made me so appreciative of Summers in Vermont. It reminded me how important it is to capture the essence of our Summer’s bounty (in jams and other preserves). It really comes in handy on a day like today.
Recipe (adapted from Siobhan Adcock via Epicurious)
Makes about 30
DO AHEAD: The cookies can be baked ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature, up to 3 days.
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup thick jam
- Special equipment: 2 baking sheets; parchment paper; small pestle or your thumb
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar and beat on medium speed, scraping the bowl occasionally, until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until fully incorporated, about 1 minute. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture, and stir until just combined. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap it in plastic, and chill at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.
- Roll the dough into 1-inch balls and arrange on baking sheets, leaving about 2-3 inches between cookies. Using your thumb or the round end of a small pestle, make a well in the center of each cookie. Using a teaspoon, fill each well with jam, being careful not to overfill the wells. Bake, switching the cookies between the upper and lower racks about halfway through baking, until golden, about 15 minutes. Cool the cookies on baking sheets for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.