Maybe a peck on the cheek is good enough for some people, but why not go full on? Butter is okay, people. And instead of an extract, go ahead and use whole nuts. That’s the new news from the food gurus. Low fat? That’s so Joy of Cooking, 1997 edition!
To show you how it’s done, here’s JoC’s reduced fat, middle-school-slow-dance thumbprint cookie ingredients, followed my a more… R-rated version.
Makes about 3 ½ dozen cookies
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
So far, pretty normal. Except for that cornstarch, maybe. Then we go on to:
3 1/2 Tbs. unsalted butter, softened (who can figure out 1/2 a Tbs. of butter? Something’s not right here)
3 Tbs. corn or canola oil (Mmm…. oil in my cookies. Delicious!)
1 Tbs. light corn syrup (Ack! Michael Pollan would puke. Plus there’s evidence this stuff has mercury)
1/2 c. sugar
1 large egg
1/4 tsp. very finely grated lemon zest
2 1/2 tsp. vanilla (Why so much? To make up for the lack of buttery goodness, no doubt)
1/4 tsp. almond extract (Like I said, not necessary if you use the actual nuts)
1 ¼ c. all-purpose flour
¼ c. whole wheat flour
½ c. almonds or walnuts, ground or chopped fine
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
8 Tbs. (1 stick) butter, softened
½ c. sugar
1 large egg
¼ tsp. lemon zest, finely grated (optional)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Either way, continue the ingredient list with:
about 2/3 c. jam or preserves that can hold up to baking.
And whether you’re going the closed-kneed route or the mouth-wide-open way, the method’s pretty much the same.
Grease 2 cookie sheets and preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Whisk together the flours, walnuts, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter, sugar, egg, lemon zest, and vanilla. Stir dry ingredients into the buttery ones, just enough to combine. Form dough into ¾” balls, placing 2″ apart on the greased cookie sheets.
Press each cookie with a thumb or knuckle to form wells in the centers. Fill each center with a dab of jam.
Bake for 6 to 9 minutes, until the tops are just brown. Let cool slightly on the cookie sheets before removing to cooling rack (they’ll still be soft when they just come out of the oven).
Enjoy immediately or, if you have will power, let cool completely and then store at room temperature in airtight containers.
Eat early and often, and never at arm’s length.