Part XL: Wailer
I like utility.
Utility’s the reason I’ve always loved thumbprint cookies so damn much. On first glance they don’t seem like much to write home about; they’re just regular cookies with an extra pocket to put even more sugar in. Typical fatassery, nothing more.
But there’s more to it than that; there’s something elegant and brilliant and goddamned beautiful about the technique behind it…because all you’re doing is making a LITERAL thumbprint in the cookie. Any other cookie, or baked thing, would make you do some crazy amount of folding, rolling, or stuffing to get a nice filling like that.
That’s exactly why the thumbprint cookie is special: you get all of the fancy oohs and aahs of a lovingly crafted macaron or croissant or some other French thing that takes years of being a pastry apprentice to pull off, and it takes all of one second. Press your thumb down, pull it back up. That’s it. THAT’S. IT.
I know I’m proselytizing a bit for a damned cookie, but like I said: it’s a stroke of genius. And it’s pretty tasty too, so that’s why I’m making some Biscoff Thumbprint Cookies with Blackberry Jelly.
Here’s what you need:
– 1 1/4 cups AP flour
– 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/2 baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 3/4 cup crunchy or creamy Biscoff (pick crunchy if you want a crunchier cookie, pick creamy if you want a crunchier cookie but also like being disappointed)
– 1 stick (4 oz) softened butter
– 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
– 1/3 cup granulated sugar
– 1 egg
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 3 1/2 cups blackberries
– 1 1/2 cups sugar
– 1 tablespoon lemon juice
– 1/2 teaspoon pectin (You don’t HAVE to use the pectin…but it helps)
Here’s how you do it:
First, preheat your oven to 350.
Whisk together all the dry stuff that isn’t sugar: flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Beat the Biscoff (note: this stuff goes under a ton of names, apparently. I’ve seen it as Speculoos and Cookie Butter too. Just find it and get like…roughly a gallon of it, it’s goddamned amazing) and butter together on medium speed until smooth. If you’re using the crunchy kind, beat it until mostly smooth.
Add in the brown and not-brown sugar, and beat that in too. Make sure it gets fluffy and lighter in color, otherwise your cookies are gonna come out like bricks. Great for self-defense; not so much for eating.
Next, mix in the egg and vanilla.
Grab that dry stuff and mix it in on low, otherwise you’ll have none of your ingredients in your cookies and all of it on your nice tile floor. Or linoleum. I don’t judge.
Once everything’s all incorporated, get yourself a small bowl of sugar and roll your balls of dough in it. You want the balls to be roughly tablespoon-sized, but don’t worry if they’re a little bigger or smaller. They’re cookies, not skyscraper blueprints: you’ll be fine.
Put everything on a couple of baking sheets and try to keep them about 2 inches apart. You’ll probably run out of room and end up with a couple mutant cookies like I did, but they still taste just as good. Just banish them to a dark corner or something.
After about 10 minutes, take them out and do the thumbprint thing. If they’re not puffy and a bit cracked, put them in for a couple minutes longer. You CAN use the end of a spoon or something to press down the cookies, but it’s called a “Thumbprint Cookie”, not an “Ow It’s Too Hot I Need a Spoon” cookie. You’re a big boy/girl, you can handle a second of slightly warm cookie touching your precious thumbs. Heaven forbid you should have trouble playing Angry Birds or whatever.
Stick the cookies back in for about 7 more minutes. You know the drill: if they’re golden, you’re golden. Once they’re good to go, take them out, let them cool off for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Next comes the jelly.
Jelly’s pretty mindless: just put all the ingredients in a pot of medium low heat and wait until it becomes jelly. That’s it.
Ok, there’s slightly more to it than that. Stir the pot every once in a while and try to crush the berries against the sides to release those delicious juices. Once it the berries are mostly broken down and jelly-y (should be about 30 minutes or so), press the whole mixture through a sieve. If it’s still not thick enough by then, add a little more pectin and keep stirring for a few more minutes.
Granted, if you were to literally leave things in that pot and just stir, you’d have jam, not jelly. Even more effortless, but since I assume you don’t want a cookie filled with seeds, we’re gonna do the jelly option.
Once you’ve strained the jelly, put it in a jar and throw it in the fridge for an hour or two. If it’s not jelly-like by then, keep it in there until it is.
Put the jelly in the thumbprints and you’re done.
That, and filling up your mind cookies with some fresh beats. This week it’s the one and only DOOM with Coffin Nails: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nruUwYobgM
Ok. So I got a little excited about these cookies. Maybe a little too excited.
But I can’t help it! There’s something about a perfect marriage of utility and tasticity that just makes the pants under my apron tingle a bit.
Maybe it’s that they’re so damn simple. With all of this Williams and Sonoma $59.99 Motorized Avocado Pitter BULLSHIT flopping itself into my mailbox every other week, it’s downright nice to be able to make something this tasty by just…sticking my thumb in it.
Simplify. That’s what I have to say. That, and see you fine people next time.