Almond Thumbprint Cookies

INGREDIENTS:

COOKIES
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter (Plugra is best), cut into cubes
3/4 cup unblanched almonds, ground finely
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Chopped pistachio nuts, for garnish

FROSTING
6 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup half-and-half
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

METHOD:

Preheat oven to 350℉.

In the bowl of food processor, place flour, sugar and salt. Pulse several times to mix. Drop in butter cubes and process until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add almonds and vanilla and process with several very short pulses to combine. Pour mixture into large mixing bowl. Work mixture with fingers until a ball of dough is formed. Then shape into 1-inch balls. Place balls on greased cookie sheets; make a depression in center of each cookie.

Bake about 8 minutes; remove from oven. Dent top of cookie again and bake about 8 minutes longer; cool.

FROSTING

Combine 6 tablespoons butter, half-and-half and brown sugar in saucepan. Bring to the boil and cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly; remove from heat. Cool about 15 minutes, then stir in confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Beat until smooth and thick.

Fill depressions in cookies with butterscotch frosting and sprinkle frosting with nuts.

YIELD: 60

SOURCE: Recipe adapted from the Chicago Tribune Annual Food Guide Holiday Cookie Contest, December 4, 1986

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