Cookies

Chocolate Cherry Thumbprints

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Is everyone tired of cookies yet? I hope not, because I’m still baking them! I know it’s January and I’m meant to have kale and quinoa on my mind, but I don’t. I’m still thinking about tarts, meringues, and lots of cookies.

Perhaps it’s because of my shortened holiday season, but I’m not ready to let go yet. I refused to allow my husband to take down our Christmas lights on January 2, my trees are still up, and I haven’t put away any decorations. The holidays can last a little longer, right? Please? I still have so much I want to bake!

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After indulging ourselves over the holidays, its easy to see why we start to crave a little balance in our lives. But I’ve never been one to go on a cleanse and swear off sugar in January, even just for a few days. A healthy diet should include a little Vitamin J, for junk food, as my Dad would say.

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These cookies are essentially chocolate shortbread, with a tasty jam filling and a drizzle of chocolate. You can, of course, use any jam you like, but sour cherry and chocolate is a pretty perfect combination.

In the recipe below I’ve listed the flour and cocoa powder amounts by both volume and weight. When baking, its always preferable to measure by weight if you can, especially for dry ingredients like flour and cocoa. The amount of flour in 1 cup can vary dramatically based on how you measure it (scoop and level vs. spoon), and exact measurements are important for baking success. Kitchen scales are very easy to find now and relatively inexpensive; I highly recommend getting one if you are interested in baking.

I also think sifting the cocoa powder and flour is a non-optional step. I’ll often just call for stirring dry ingredients with a whisk, which combines and aerates them without as much fuss or mess as sifting. However, cocoa powder is notoriously lumpy and really benefits from being properly sifted using a fine mesh strainer. Taking the extra time for that step is worth it!

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Chocolate Cherry Thumbprints
Adapted from Dorie’s Cookies
Makes about 30 cookies

  • 9 1/2 ounces (about 2 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 ounce (about 1/3 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 large egg white, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Jar of sour cherry jam (you’ll need about 1 cup)
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350°F and place the oven racks and the top and bottom thirds.

In a medium bowl, sift the flour and cocoa together. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and salt together on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Reduce the speed to low and blend in the egg white and vanilla until the mixture is smooth and no longer looks curdled.

Slowly add the flour mixture, mixing only until the flour is absorbed before adding more. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed, and finish mixing by hand to avoid over mixing.

Line 2 baking sheets with a nonstick liner (like Silpat) or parchment paper. Scoop the dough in generous tablespoonfuls, and roll into balls. A small cookie scoop is a good tool for this, but a tablespoon will work as well.

Place on the prepared baking sheets, spacing about an inch apart to fit 15 cookies per sheet. Make an indentation in the center of each ball with your thumb, and fill each indentation with about a 1/2 teaspoon of the jam.

Bake the cookies for 16 to 18 minutes, or until they feel firm to the touch and the jam is bubbling. Switch and rotate the pans halfway through the baking time so the cookies bake evenly. Remove from the oven and cool cookies on the pan for 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to finish cooling completely.

While the cookies cool, melt the chocolate. Place the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and heat on full power for 30 seconds. Remove the bowl and stir with a clean spatula. Repeat 1-2 more times until chocolate is melted. Pour into a small pipping bag or zip top bag and snip the tip. Drizzle over the cookies, then place them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes until the chocolate sets. Return them to room temperature to serve.

Cookies can be stored in a single layer in an airtight container at room temperature for several days.

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