If you were to ask me if I had a favorite baker, I would tell you Gale Gand. She appears on random Foot Network shows from time to time, but I would believe that most people do not know who she is. Despite that, she is in fact my favorite baker simply because I have never, ever had one of her recipes fail me. I love the balance of flavors and ingredients that she creates. So when I went to try my hand at butter shortbread cookies for the first time, I did not falter or fear. And as always, I didn’t need to.
You’ve seen butter thumbprint cookies before. They can be topped with any sort of jam/jelly or with a dollop of chocolate. They’re rich and buttery, but not overwhelming. They’re divine. And easy to make! I love easy. I whipped these up for a BBQ right before I had to leave and they were perfect. They travel well and are total crowd pleasers.
There’s not really too much to say about this recipe. I followed it to the letter and it gave me perfect cookies, no tricks involved. This might have to go into my box of standby recipes now. The ingredient list is tiny; I always have them on hand. If you can’t find real vanilla bean, I’ve read that people have used a teaspoon of vanilla extract in this recipe instead, with no adverse affects. Enjoy!
Giant’s Thumbprint Butter Cookies | Butter, Sugar, Flour, Eggs by Gale Gand
* 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
* 2/3 cup sugar
* 1/4 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, soft insides scraped out
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
* 1/4 cup apricot, raspberry, or another jam of your choice
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a baking sheet.
In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or using a hand mixer), cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the vanilla scrapings and salt and mix until incorporated. Add the flour and mix at low speed until incorporated. Using your hands, roll the dough into golf-ball-sized balls and arrange them 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet, flattening them out a bit as you go. Using your thumb, press the top of each cookie to make a shallow well. Roll your thumb back and forth to widen the well. Using a small spoon, fill the wells with jam. Bake until very lightly browned around the edges, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool on the pan. Store in an airtight container.