Thumbprint cookies, sweet, buttery, and graced with a slip of jam, have always been a favorite of mine. But, as I got older and had a family of my own, I wanted to make something better, a touch more wholesome, more flavorful. I started baking a healthier version, more nourishing, and richer in flavor: Spelt Thumbprint Cookies.
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Classic thumbprint cookies rely on white flour for their delicate crumb, but whole grain flours provide a deeper and richer flavor. Whole grain flours are also coarser, and I'm partial to the whole grain organic spelt flour. It's has a lovely soft texture that works well in pastries like cookies, and it also has a brilliantly fresh flavor that, when paired with brown sesame seeds, works really well to deliver a Christmas cookie that isn't just a sweet treat. It has depth, too.
How to Make Spelt Thumbprint Cookies
You start with whole grain spelt flour and then enrich the dough with real butter, egg yolks, and sour cream before spiking it with nutmeg and the lightest slip of spiced rum for good measure. You then roll the dough in the palm of your hand to form a little ball and then roll it in sesame seeds which give the cookies a pleasant crunch and a nice, nutty flavor. Then you’ll press a little indent into each cookie, just enough to hold a teaspoon of jam.
To prevent the cookie dough from spreading, you’ll want to toss the prepared cookies in the freezer before you fill and bake them. Traditionally, you’d fill them with raspberry jam, but I’m partial to spiced plum jam my husband makes in the summer when the local orchards are dripping with fruit.
After you bake them and allow them to cool on racks, you can sprinkle them with powdered sugar or serve them as is. They’ll keep about two weeks in an airtight container.
Spelt Thumbprint Cookie Recipe
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Sift the flour, arrowroot starch, baking powder and salt together into a medium mixing bowl.
- In a separate bowl, beat the sugar and butter together until light and fluffy, and then beat in the egg yolk, sour cream and rum.
- Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, and beat on medium-low speed until combined.
- Place the sesame seeds in a small, shallow bowl or on a plate.
- Spoon two tablespoons dough into your hand, and form it into a tight round ball. Roll them in sesame seeds, and place them on the baking sheet no closer than 1 inch apart. Gently press your thumb into each ball of dough to leave a shallow indent.
- Place the cookie tray in the freezer for 30 minutes, and then heat the oven to 350 F.
- Remove the tray from the freezer, and spoon jam into the indents on the cookies.
- Bake at 350 F about 15 minutes or until set. Gently transfer the cookies to a cooling rack, allowing them to cool completely before storing or serving.. Store in an airtight container where they’ll keep about 2 weeks.