Thumbprints with Whipped Icing
Makes about 3 dozen cookies
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
2 to 3 tablespoons cold heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Red and green food coloring
1. Put the butter in a bowl and whip, using a hand mixer, until light and fluffy. Add half of the sugar and whip on low speed until smooth. Add the remaining sugar, 2 tablespoons of the heavy cream and the vanilla and whip until light and fluffy.
2. Divide icing between 2 bowls. Add a few drops of green to one and a few drops of red to the other and mix until combined and smooth. Keep in a cool place until you are ready to use.
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup packed light brown muscovado sugar
¼ cup packed dark brown muscovado sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups sifted flour
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
¾ cup finely chopped toasted walnuts or pecans or hazelnuts or peanuts
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugars and cream until lightly and fluffy, scraping down the side of the bowl a few times. Add the yolks, one at a time, and continue mixing until incorporated, consistently scraping the side and bottom of bowl. Add the vanilla and mix for 10 seconds more.
2. Add the flour and salt and, with the mixer set on low, mix until the dough just comes together. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours before baking.
3. Preheat the oven to 375°. Divide the dough into 36 pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Roll the balls in the egg white and then in the nuts. Bake on a lined baking sheet at 5 minutes, then remove from oven and use your thumb to make an indentation in the center of each cookie. Bake for 8 minutes longer or until lightly golden brown and just set. Let the cookies sit on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a baking rack. Let cool completely before filling.
Jam-filled: Delete the nuts in step 3. Roll balls in the egg whites and bake as instructed. Let cool and fill with your favorite jam, jelly or preserve.
Caramel Pecan: Substitute pecans for the walnuts in step 3. Combine 15 Werther’s Soft Caramels and ¼ cup of heavy cream in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until completely melted. Fill each cookie to the top with caramel. Let set and drizzle with melted semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate.