Simple Marmalade Thumbprint Cookies are one of the joys of winter ~ they only show up in our house during this short period between Thanksgiving and the New Year, and boy are they good.
The soft shortbread dough comes together in a few minutes, and then you get to roll them into little balls with your palms and squish them down to make the little divot for the filling…it’s almost like fooling around with play dough, but in the end there’s a delicious reward.
Any jam will work for the sweet centers, but when the temperature drops I instinctively gravitate toward marmalade, and I’m finding all sorts of ways to use it lately. It goes so well with a thick slab of toasted whole grain bread and a steaming cup of Earl Grey in the morning. But then again I also love it in my Whole Wheat and Oatmeal Marmalade Bars. The combination of the edgy marmalade and sweet vanilla bean in this cookie is just perfect, I think I first started dreaming about it last year when I made these thumbprint cookies.
Since I bought my vanilla beans in bulk last winter I feel like I’ve been set free to use them in all kinds of recipes. I can’t believe I used to buy them one, and then I’d hoard it like gold. It’s an investment, for sure, so buy your beans from a reputable dealer, but I have to say, for me it was money well spent. Look for bulk vanilla beans online here, and here, and here, for starters.
Find a source you trust, and feel confident paying a bit more for quality. You can store vanilla beans in a dark cupboard for up to a year.
If you like to bake cookies, you probably already know that they are vulnerable to every little variation you can throw at them. Different pans, different ovens, even different brands of butter can make a difference. Be sure you’ve got the details right ~ careful measurements…oven temperature spot on…chilled dough…
do a test cookie or two first before you sacrifice the whole pan to the oven gods ;)
TIP: If your cookies flatten too much, make sure the dough is chilled before baking. Also try rolling the balls of dough in granulated sugar before making the indent.
- 1/2 lb unsalted butter (2 sticks)
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large egg yolks
- the seeds from 1 vanilla bean (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup marmalade
- 2/3 cup confectioners sugar
- milk or cream to thin
- Cream the butter and the sugar together until fluffy.
- Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, and the vanilla beans seeds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to get everything well incorporated.
- Blend in the flour, slowly, and mix until the dough comes together.
- Wrap the dough well and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375F
- Use a small scoop to portion out tablespoon sized balls of dough and roll into balls. Place on an ungreased baking sheet.
- Press an indent in the center of each ball of dough with the back of a 1/4 inch teaspoon. Fill the indents with 1/2 tsp of marmalade. It's ok to mound the marmalade a bit.
- Bake for about 8 minutes until the cookies are set, but not browned.
- Let them cool for 5 minutes in the pan, and then remove to a rack to cool completely.
- Whisk the sugar with enough milk or cream to make a glaze and drizzle over the cooled cookies.
- You can halve this recipe if you like.
- I used my mini 1 inch cookie scoop to make the perfect sized balls of dough.
- If you’d like a little hint of crunch in your cookies, roll the balls of dough in granulated sugar before making the indent.