Strawberry Almond Thumbprint Shortbread Cookies

Good evening everyone,

What a title that is!

The husband unit invited some childhood friends of his over to the house for chai and lunch.  At. The. Last. Possible. Minute.  Okay, well maybe not the last possible minute but close.  It was late at night the evening prior when I found out about it.  So what do you do when you make most things yourself and avoid processed food?  You get to work.  Part of that is so that your guests will have good food, the other part of that is so that you won’t end up in a jail cell for throwing heavy or sharp objects at the husband unit.

I decided to make some thumbprint cookies to go with the chai tea.  In India, guests are served cookies, salty snacks and other tasty tidbits with their tea prior to or after lunch.  For lunch, the menu included naan bread, jeera rice, shahi paneer and makhani dal.

Let’s start with the thumbprints:

Shortbread cookies are very easy to make – the preparation, cooking and decorating (if you decide to decorate them) are all quick and easy.

Strawberry Almond Thumbprint Shortbread Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cold and diced into 1 Tbsp pieces
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup strawberry puree

Glaze (optional)

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp almond extract
4 – 5 tsp water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour and salt, set aside.

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend together butter and sugar until combined (it will take few minutes since the butter is cold). Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Add the almond extract and mix for 1 minutes.  Add flour blend until mixture comes together.  Do not use too high a speed to avoid warming up the butter.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls, about 1 Tbsp each, and place 2-inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Make a small indentation with thumb in each cookie, large enough to hold 1/2 tsp of puree.  Fill each imprint with puree. Chill in refrigerator 20 minutes.  Bake in preheated oven 12 – 14 minutes.

Cool at least 5 minutes on baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Allow to cool completely.  Drizzle cookies with glaze when when cool. Store cookies in an airtight container.

For the glaze:

Whisk all glaze ingredients together in a small mixing bowl, adding enough water to reach desired consistency. Pour or spoon mixture into a sandwich bag, cut a small tip from one corner and drizzle over cookies.

Tips:

You can use other extracts to flavour your cookies or leave the flavouring extract out altogether.  We have used vanilla, rum and lemon extracts in these cookies (all alcohol free varieties).

You can use whatever fruit puree, jams or preserves you want as well.  We had strawberry puree on hand.  I’ve also used pumpkin, apple, orange marmalade, lemon custard.

You can flavour your shortbread as well.  I’ve used poppy seeds and grated lemon rind; chai masala powder; orange rind and lime zest, depending on what might suit my filling.

Don’t skip refrigerating your cookies before you bake them!  They may flatten into pancakes on you!

Shortbread doughs are dry.  Avoid the temptation to add liquid to the dough to make it more pliable.  It should just hold together.

 

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