Thursday, May 11, 2023

Raspberry-Almond Thumbprint Cookies


I got around to making these raspberry-almond thumbprint cookies after seeing the recipe in Bon Appétit both online and in the print magazine. They make good holiday cookies because of their appearance, but are good year-round too, though admittedly more trouble to make than regular drop cookies. 

I ended up not filling all the thumbprint cookies, because some of my family members prefer them without jam. Moreover, while I don’t necessarily want to compare myself to Shakira, I also had a situation where I had less raspberry jam left than I had thought, despite being the only one who eats it – I used strawberry jam for the filling, but raspberry jam in the cookie dough itself. 

(Bonus tips: I used the empty-but-not-washed raspberry jam jar to make a salad dressing with red wine vinegar and olive oil, plus a dash of Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. And since by the end of making these cookies I only had a few tablespoons of strawberry jam left, I added it to the eggs and milk to make jammy French toast. You’re welcome!) 

The original recipe called for freeze-dried raspberries, which you were then supposed to crush into powder. I’d rather just buy freeze-dried raspberry powder – not only is it less effort, but the grains of powder are a nice, uniform size. I’m not sure what a good volume measurement would be, but the weight remains unchanged – note, however, that you won’t need all of that powdered topping. 

2 ¼ cups (216 g) almond flour or almond meal 
1 tsp. baking soda 
½ tsp. Diamond Crystal or ¼ tsp. Morton kosher salt 
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest 
1 tsp. vanilla extract 
½ tsp. almond extract 
3 Tbsp. + ½ cup raspberry jam 
2 large egg whites, at room temperature 
1/3 cup (67 g) granulated sugar 
½ cup + 1/3 cup (55 g + 37 g total) powdered sugar. sifted 
28 g freeze-dried raspberry powder 

Whisk almond flour, baking soda, and kosher salt in a medium bowl to combine. Set dry ingredients aside. 

Stir lemon zest, vanilla extract, almond extract, and 3 Tbsp. raspberry jam in a small bowl until combined and smooth. Set jam mixture aside. 

Using an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat egg whites in a large bowl until frothy, about 20 seconds. Increase speed to medium-high and continue to beat until foamy and opaque, about 30 seconds. Beating constantly, add sugar in a slow, steady stream. Once all of the sugar has been added, increase speed to high and continue to beat just until stiff peaks form and meringue is dense and glossy. 

Add reserved dry ingredients to meringue and gently fold in with a rubber spatula to combine. Scrape in reserved jam mixture and fold until evenly mixed and a stiff, tacky dough forms. (The baking soda will react with the acidity in the jam and turn the batter grayish. Don’t be alarmed – this is normal.) Cover bowl and chill dough until cold and slightly firm, 1-1½ hours. 

Scoop out a rounded tablespoonful of dough from bowl and roll it between your palms to form a smooth sphere. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. (If the dough sticks to your palms, dampen them lightly with water.) Repeat with remaining dough. You should have about 22 total (I had 22 exactly). Chill dough balls in the freezer, uncovered, until cold and no longer tacky to the touch (they should not be frozen solid), about 30 minutes. 

Place a rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 325 °F. 

Place ½ cup (55 g) powdered sugar in a small bowl. Remove dough balls from the freezer and, working one at a time, toss in powdered sugar until generously and completely coated. Place on another parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing 2” apart. (While you should be able to fit all the dough balls on one sheet, as they will not spread much when they bake, I played it safe and used 2 sheets.) 

Bake cookies, rotating front to back after 10 minutes, until surfaces are crinkled and edges are golden brown, 12-15 minutes (I found mine were still slightly underbaked and a bit too soft for my taste). Remove from the oven and press the end of the handle of a wooden spoon straight down into the center of each cookie, wiggling slightly, to make a divot (be careful not to press all the way through). Let cookies cool on the baking sheet, then carefully peel away from the parchment paper and transfer to a wire rack. 

Combine remaining 1/3 cup powdered sugar (55 g) and freeze-dried raspberry powder. Transfer to a fine-mesh sieve and shake over cookies to coat. (Reserve any remaining raspberry sugar for another use.) 

Heat remaining ½ cup raspberry jam in a small saucepan over medium-low, whisking occasionally, just until fluid (or, heat jam in 20-second bursts in a microwave-safe bowl). Remove from heat and, using a teaspoon, fill the divot in each cookie with warm jam. Let cookies sit until the jam is mostly set, 15-20 minutes. 

The cookies can be stored at room temperature for 3 days, stacked in an airtight container with each layer separated by parchment paper. The jam will cause the cookies to soften over time, but they will still be delicious.

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