Friday, February 12, 2016

Lemon Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

Even as I signed up for the Bake Sale at my daughter's school, I started imagining the possibilities and initially started with lofty goals of making cutely decorated cake pops or pretty cupcakes but then as the date drew closer and I realized I would be doing much of the baking on a weekday and so needed baked goods that were quick and easy to make, would keep well and not require refrigeration....  So, I started to fall back on my usual recipes like Chocolate chip cookies and Brownies but my daughter got swept into the excitement of it all and insisted that we offer something different and with a twist and not the usual fare.

She searched high and low for recipes or ideas and since her favorite flavors are lemon, mint and raspberry she was thrilled to find Emeril's recipe for these Lemon Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies. I was skeptical about trying something new for a bake sale (in case it flopped, I may not have time for a redo ) but she convinced me fairly well on how this was an easy recipe, had great reviews and that it would taste good.  So we chose this cookie recipe and a twist to our usual brownie recipe to incorporate some whipped cream cheese with vanilla and sugar for a Cheesecake Swirl Brownie.

True to her words, this is a very easy recipe that gives fabulous results.... The cookie is buttery with a fragrant, bright lemon flavor and the tartness of the raspberry jam makes for a cookie that is not cloyingly sweet but tastes fabulous.


Raspberry Jam/Jelly - about half cup (I used Smucker's Natural brand) 
All purpose flour - 2 1/4 cups, levelled
Baking Powder - 1 tsp
Salt - 1/4 tsp 
Butter - 2 sticks (1 cup) at room temperature
Sugar - 2/3 cup
Egg Yolks - 2 (from large eggs), preferably at room temperature
Fresh Lemon Juice - 1 tbsp

Lemon Zest - 1 tsp (I grated the zest of 1 large lemon)
Vanilla extract - 1tsp

1) Combine Flour, Baking Powder, Salt and Lemon zest in a medium bowl and mix together.
2)  In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar till light and fluffy (takes about 2-3 minutes)
3) Next beat in the egg yolks , lemon juice, vanilla extract.
4) Add the Flour mixture in 2 batches and beat until moist clumps form. Mix the dough with your hands and refrigerate for about 30 minutes atleast (you can also let it stay in the fridge covered for a day).
5) About an hour before baking, remove dough from the refrigerator and leave it out. Knead the dough until it becomes pliable. This ensures that the dough won't crack
6) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
7) Make 3/4 inch or 1 inch balls, roll them tight and place on a baking sheet. With a 1/2 tsp measure (dipped in flour) press into the dough ball gently to form an indentation (this is where the raspberry jam will go) and is technically our thumbprint :)  We could use our thumb to press down but I found that using a half tsp measure provided a better, more uniform indentation. (see video below)

8) Once the cookies are pressed down, fill the indentations with half tsp of Raspberry Jam.
9) Bake for 13-16 minutes until the bottoms turn golden. Remove and allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

This is a very versatile recipe and you can change the fillings to make different variations and flavors.. such as strawberry. Or you can skip the lemon flavoring and fill the cookie with some nutella or with some chocolate and nuts.

We packed our goodies in ziploc bags and stapled some decorative napkins (cut into strips) to make them "fancy" and more appealing. Both, the cookies and the brownies were sold out and that made us very happy.