Tuesday, March 9, 2010

TWD: Thumbprints for Us Big Guys


The name of this week's TWD recipe, Thumbprints for Us Big Guys, makes more sense if you own the cookbook (which you REALLY should!), where it follows the "Kids' Thumbprints." The Kids' Thumbprints are peanut butter cookies (or maybe more accurately, peanut butter and jelly cookies), whereas the Big Guy Thumbprints are more of a buttery nutty shortbread cookie. And, as with many things associated with being a Big Guy, making these may involve the kind of minor hassle that you just don't have to deal with when you're a kid; namely, that of tracking down hazelnuts (Dorie's nut of choice for this recipe), which I never even knew were all that exotic until the mainstream Big Guy grocery store in my medium-sized city did not carry them, at least not in any of the normal places where you would expect nuts to be found, like the nut aisle, the baking aisle, and the bulk specialty foods aisle. I eventually asked, and was alternatively sent to the Asian food aisle (?) and told that it was a seasonal item (?). I was not to be deterred, though -- I've had my eyes on these Big Guys for over a year, so if I had to drive to Nashville or Atlanta or even New York itself (or the Whole Foods on 280), I WOULD find the hazelnuts I needed for this recipe. Then I heard that Kayte and Tracey were using almonds, which I had in the house and love, and suddenly NOT running around town on a nut quest seemed like the sane thing to do. And for once, I did the sane thing.

This is a simple recipe. Mix up the dough (a combination of flour and ground nuts, butter, sugar, salt and vanilla and almond extract). No dough chilling required. Then make thumbprints (pinky prints if you want to get technical) in the dough to make room for the jam. Bake. After they come out of the oven, a quick once-over with the trusty pinky may be necessary.

Once they cool, heat up some jam and fill the indentations. I used some raspberry and some strawberry. I had a helper.



She turned five a couple of months ago, and suddenly she can fill thumbprints as neatly as I can. Quit that growing up too fast, kids.

The verdict? Everybody enjoyed these. I baked the full recipe (which yielded 50 cookies) on Saturday afternoon, and here it is Monday night and they're already gone. I knew I could count on David to eat most of these, and he did not disappoint me. His dad and my dad helped him out - thanks, menfolk. I liked the crumbly texture of these. They teetered on the "dry" line, but not in an unpleasant way. If I make them again, I might do a 3/4 flour to 1/4 ground nut ratio rather than 50/50, but that's just quibbling for quibbling's sake - I thought the cookies were great. I think the stronger flavor of the raspberry jam worked better than the milder strawberry. All in all, this recipe is a keeper and I'll make these again. They'll probably show up again at Christmas.

Mike of Ugly Food Dude chose this week's recipe. Nice pick, Mike!

43 comments:

Marthe said...

It must be fun baking with a little helper! I could have used one myself!

mike said...

What an angel.... she's got that assembly-line filling down pat. What a festive plateful! I agree - the crumbly texture was actually quite good. I'm on to the jam wagon next time - looks like those were quite the hit. I found filberts (hazelnuts) bulk and freeze them, but rarely use them - a lot of people just don't like them (as I found out)! I think they're just nuts...

vibi said...

I Kinda regret making only half the recipe... as I was expecting somekinda "trucker" cookies! LOL ...when in the end, they were some of the best I 've ever had...

Guess you guys enjoyed them as much as we did, for they are really inviting with all those beautiful jewel tone colours!

Melissa said...

Cute helper! I used almonds for mine too and really liked them. Glad everyone in your family enjoyed these!

Jessica said...

What an adorable helper! Elizabeth coined the purple fairy cake (blueberry cake), didn't she? I'm predicting genius and great things from that cutie.
I'm so glad that your family enjoyed these cookies. Raspberry and strawberry jams sound really great to me, but I'll take your word that the raspberry was better in these cookies.

Nickki said...

They look beatiful! I also used ground almonds and raspberry jam. What a lovely little helper you have :-)

myfamousrecipe said...

I substituted almonds, too. And I had LOTS of strawberry jam in the house. With two preschoolers at home, I'm all set for recipes that require strawberry jam and/or peanut butter!

Tia said...

your little helper is so precious! looks like she's concentrating so hard and going a great job.

Leslie said...

I also came to my senses and went with the ground almond meal I had in the fridge. Jessica suggested using ground pecans and I might have to try that one tonight. I love your little helper...I can't get over how fast she's growing!

Kim said...

The cookies look great and your helper is adorable. I used almond meal too.

Nancy/n.o.e said...

Your Big Guy cookies are cute but your Big Girl helper steals the show! I agree about the stronger jam flavor being a good match. I'm all for using the nuts on hand; I just happened to have hazelnut meal around but I'd probably love almond even more.

TeaLady said...

I don't know which is cuter the cookie or the cutie. I am looking forward to my new little one to grow some so we can make cookies together like her mom and I did. (And son, too, for that matter.)

Cookies look perfect.

natalia said...

Dear Cathy, your helper is as cute as she could be !! Loved the cookies too !!

Maria said...

Cute little assistant you have:) The cookies look lovely!

Lauryn said...

OMG your little helper is concentrating for hard on her task!!! Love it! Your cookies look great! i used almonds too and loved these cookies so much!

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

They look great! So nice to have help. :)

Peggy said...

I don't supposed you had one left over for me to sample? :) I can't believe how big your helper is getting and so fast! She looks like David to me - does she to you? I bet I would have loved these cookies. May have to try them one day.

CB said...

Asian aisle? I didn't even think to look in my ethnic aisle. And this whole time I was (insanely) running around town looking for hazelnuts, they could have been in the Asian aisle. Doh! Adorable little sous pastry chef you got there. Can I borrow? :)
-CB
http://iheartfood4thought.com

Gabe's Girl said...

That is too funny. The Asian aisle. I found mine pretty easily, $5 dollars later! They are expensive. I should have used my almonds. I think I will make mine for Christmas too! They tasted great.

Amanda said...

So glad these were a hit, and man, she looks so cute in that picture! Mine were a bit dry, but I used Nutella, probably should have gone with jam. Oh well, I love my go-to thumbprint recipe, so I'll stick with that :)

I am reaching out to my fellow foodies today to see if they on my Food Bloggers Discussion List. If you are not we would love to have you! Email me amanda AT amandascookin.com

jillbert said...

Heck yes, I used almonds too. As much as you hear about hazelnuts, they sure aren't easy to find! I like your idea of using more flour and less nuts.

Flourchild said...

Your cookies look perfect and your little girl looks like she could be in a Martha Stewert Magazine!
I will make these again, most likely at Christmas like you!

Katrina said...

Key-ute helper!
I found chopped hazelnuts in the grocery store nut/baking aisle, but I've only ever found them in the one store (Krogers brands).
But darn, if you coulda gotten a trip to NYC out of it, I'd say go for it. ;)
Great post (as always)

Shari said...

These look absolutely beautiful, enhanced by your lovely daughter!
I have a daughter who loves the kitchen too. It's fun to share the joy of baking with a sweet daughter!

Pamela said...

Cathy, what an absolutely great shot of Elizabeth helping in the kitchen! She's such a cutie! Next time around, if there is one, I will definitely try the ground almonds. Seems everyone enjoyed that combo. They look great!

Teanna said...

Hazelnuts: A seasonal Asian delicacy! Haha hysterical! Gorgeous thumbprints!

bakingwiththeboys said...

I was planning to use almonds until I inadvertently spied a little bag of hazelnuts in the baking aisle. This was after I had already looked at one store with no success. Love Elizabeth's shirt! I am bored with boys' clothes...

girl Japan said...

And who says thumbprints are just for the Holidays? Like pancakes only at breakfast... These sound and look amazing..

Jacque said...

Aaaw, I wish I had a little five year old baby girl to help me make cookies. Sniff.

I'll bet they tasted that much better than everyone else's. They look divine!

Di said...

Okay, I had to laugh, because driving all over town(s) after an ingredient is totally something I would do. Er, um, have done, that is. More than once... =) I love the picture of your helper. I waited until the girls were in bed to make my cookies, but I'll have to enlist their aid the next time I make these.

Liz said...

That's so funny you mentioned the title, because I never noticed the kid's thumbprints in the book, and kept waiting for the part in the instructions where she was like, "take your giant thumbs and press a huge hole in the cookies." Obviously that never happened. Mystery solved!

The Blonde Duck said...

They sound delicious!

Bridgett said...

I don't know why hazelnuts are just so hard to find but they are here in CA where I am, too. I finally found they are at trader joe's (and cheaper!) so there is an option should you have one near you. I love your little helper and it looks like the cookies turned out beautifully. Do you deliver?
Take care, Cathy!

Jess said...

I decided to just use whatever nuts were lurking in my freezer (walnuts) and was pleasantly surprised. Glad you didn't go all over trying to find the elusive hazelnuts. Your thumbprints (and helper) are very cute.

Debinhawaii said...

The cookies look delicious and your helper is adorable. That picture of her looks like it should be in a magazine! ;-)

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The Food Librarian said...

These look great....and what a great helper! - mary

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Tracey said...

Your helper is so cute Cathy (love the Flickr photos of the kids!!) :) Glad you were able to make these work with the almonds, since apparently hazelnuts are seasonal & Asian - who knew? Your cookies look terrific and I'm glad they were a hit! I'm not a nut fan so they weren't my favorite but got rave reviews from my testers.

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I hope you had a good weekend!

pinkstripes said...

E looks perfectly natural helping you out. I want to go back and make these.

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