Cooking with Pete and Barb Marczyk: Thumbprint cookies with a trio of jams
Pete Marczyk and Barbara Macfarlane do not leave their work behind when they leave Marczyk Fine Foods and head for their great old Denver house with the big, new kitchen. They often bring some of their market's choicest ingredients home with them and cook up a feast.
Thumbprint jam cookies -- also called "Trios" -- are classics, and while they're especially popular during the holidays, Barb says that the impending arrival of spring is reason enough to dig out your baking sheet and gather a crowd of cookie cohorts. This recipe, which uses jams from Dagstani & Sons, a local company that sells their products -- fruit jams, preserves and marmalade -- at local markets, including Marczyk's, benefits from three combinations of jams: caramel apple, pear vanilla and peach cardamom. "These jams are classic with just a little bit of crazy," says Barb, adding that jams are becoming increasingly popular -- and this company, she insists, makes them right. When making the following recipe, you hold try to avoid using any large pieces of fruit. It's a bit time consuming, but "they're fun to cook and the presentation is beautiful," says Barb, noting that they pair especially well with a pot of hot tea.
Recipe adapted from The Gourmet Cookie Book
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt 2 sticks (1/2 pound) unsalted butter, softened 1 cup sugar 1 large egg 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 2 tablespoons each of your favorite 3 jams or jellies.
To make the dough: Whisk together flour and salt. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until very pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes, then beat in egg and vanilla. At low speed, mix in flour mixture in 3 batches just until a dough forms. Divide dough in half and form each piece into a 6-inch disk, then chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm, about 1 hour.
Assemble and bake cookies
1. Preheat oven to 350° with rack in middle. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. 2. Roll each of 3 separate level teaspoons of dough into a ball, then flatten each ball slightly (to 1-inch wide and less than 1/2 inch thick). 3. Arrange them in a triangle on baking sheet, with edges touching in center, then make a deep indentation in center of each round with wooden spoon handle. Make more cookies, arranging them 1 inch apart on baking sheets. 4. Fill indentations in each cookie with about 1/8 teaspoon jam (each cookie should have 3 different fillings) 5. Bake until cookies are baked through and golden brown on edges, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on baking sheets 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely. 6. Continue to bake more batches on cooled baking sheets lined with fresh parchment.
* The dough can be chilled for up to 2 days before assembling the cookies * Before filling the cookies, chill them so they hold their shape when baked * The cookies will keep, layered between sheets of parchment, in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.
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