Search This Blog

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Thumbprint cookies for New Year's

These tasty and pretty cookies are a staple for my family at Christmas, but I also make them for our New Year's Eve gatherings.  They seem a little complicated to make, but they are actually quite fast and easy.  Definitely faster than  making sugar cookies with all the rolling out and frosting - but these are so much more elegant.  For Christmas I usually use jewel-like currant jelly or even mint jelly, the picture shows the cookies I made this time with raspberry jam.  The jam doesn't look as showy but it is really delicious on these little morsels.  Make a batch of these for a great way to start out the new year!


1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 large egg yolk
1 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg white
1 cup finely chopped nuts (I use walnuts, but you can use the nut of your choice)
About 6 tablespoons jelly or jam

  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Beat brown sugar, butter, vanilla and egg yolk with electric mixer.  Stir in flour and salt.
  • Shape the dough into 1 inch balls.  Beat egg white slightly with fork.  Dip each ball into egg white then roll in nuts.  Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet.  Press thumb into center of each cookie to make indentation, but do not press all the way to the cookie sheet.
  • Bake about 10 minutes, or until light brown.  Quickly remake indentations with the end of a wooden spoon if necessary.  Immediately remove from the cookie sheet to cooling rack.  Fill each thumbprint with about 1/2 teaspoon of the jam or jelly.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cookies claimed by multiple countries

I first made these cookies many years ago when I had small children and thought these would be good ones they could make with me, since the dough needs to be rolled into balls.  At that time we called them Mexican Wedding cookies.  Later I lost my original recipe and then re-found it in Betty Crocker's Cookbook.....where they are called Russian Tea Cakes.  Recently I heard someone call them Italian cookies.  So apparently everybody wants to claim these yummy morsels as their own!  These are one of three kinds of cookies that I always make for Christmas.  They are delicious and easy to make, but look fun and festive.  (However, they turned out not to be good ones to have young kids help with making the balls of dough....the dough needs to be kneaded a little to hold together well...but kids can roll the cookies in powdered sugar).

Mexican Wedding Cakes/Russian Teacakes

As always, please use "real" ingredients in these cookies.  Real butter and real vanilla.  It makes such a difference in the quality of the finished product!

1 cup butter, softened (it is important that the butter be softened)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 -1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup finely chopped nuts (I have always used walnuts, but you can use any kind of nuts)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  • Mix the butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar and the vanilla with a mixer.  Stir in the flour, nuts and salt and beat until the dough holds together somewhat.  It will look mostly crumbly but should hold together when you squeeze a ball of dough.
  • Shape the dough into 1 inch balls. You will probably need to work each ball in your hands a little to get the dough holding together well.  Place about 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  • Bake 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are set but not brown.  However, be careful not to undercook the cookies or they may crumble when you try to remove them from the cookie sheet.
  • Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes.
  • Roll the warm cookies in powdered sugar, then let cool another 5 minutes.  Roll in powdered sugar again.
Makes about 30 cookies.