Tag Archives: Christmas

Thumbprint Cookies

Okay … This is probably the most serious post I will ever make. I have been debating back and forth in my mind whether or not to share this recipe with the cyberworld, because I love being the only person I know who has it! It is my absolute favorite recipe. For anything. Ever.

I have been making them since I was literally four years old (maybe even longer, but I remember helping with them at four). I have never missed a Christmas season baking them. Each year, my sister Laura made candy cane bread, Denise made cheesecake bites, Linda made cinnamon twists, Kim made pretzel cookies, and I made these.

To this point, I have never tasted anyone elses’ thumbprint cookies that come close to as good as these. For real. And I am not usually one to say that something I made is hands-down the best, but these cookies freaking rock. The recipe originally came from some random old calendar my father has, and it doesn’t need alteration (except for doubling the recipe, which I’ve already done for you here).

The secret to these cookies is that they use brown sugar instead of white. Yep, that’s it. No crazy ingredients, nothing fancy. Just brown sugar. It makes for a caramelized undertone that, when paired with quality jam, leaves nothing to be desired.

So, I present to you …

The Best Thumbprint Cookies You Will Ever Taste In Your Entire Life
or, Asshole Cookies, as my best friend affectionately calls them.

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Don't skimp on the quality of jam here, it's the star of the show!

  • 1 c. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 c. sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • seedless preserves or jam (I made half the batch with Jett’s Natural Produce Peach Butter and half with Jumbars Jumbleberry Jam)

Directions:

  1. Cream butter and sugar in large mixing bowl.
  2. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla.
  3. Add flour and salt. Mix well.

    Dough

    Dough before chilling

  4. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill at least 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°.
  6. Roll dough into 1″ balls and place 1″ apart on lightly greased or parchment covered cookie sheet.

    Dough Balls

    Dough Balls

  7. Gently press thumb into center of each cookie to form depression in dough.

    Thumbprinted

    Thumbprinted

  8. Fill depression with small spoonful of preserves or jam.

    Jam Filled

    Jam Filled

  9. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  10. Cool on racks.

    Thumbprint Cookies

    Tell me these aren't the best thumbprint cookies you've ever eaten.

 


I’m Back!

Well, that was a lovely break—I’ve barely touched a computer for the past week! Between last minute gift crafting and a whirlwind Christmas weekend, I am still recuperating, but am back to blogging with some really exciting posts coming up! Our holiday was great. We got to enjoy seeing every single one of my four sisters (plus their husbands & children) and were happy to have Kevin’s grandmother with us as she spent her first Christmas living in Bethlehem.

I think our handmade gifts went over well (look for a handmade gift guide coming soon!) and we were very fortunate to receive so much.

Food Related Gifts

Hmm, I think people may have realized we enjoy cooking & growing food … New toys include an ice cream maker, panini press, herb dryer and dumpling press, plus I now have a TON of books to read for din-spiration and research!

Irie Tuna

Irie also got in on the action with a tuna & crackers gift set!

Our Christmas weekend included all the fixin’s for a holiday—Way too much food, plenty of booze, a trip to take my nephew to see Santa, Moravian Lovefeast/candle service, the Hanukkah menorah being lit at Christmas dinner, bouncing around between parents’ homes, laughter and Christmas movies.

Star of Bethlehem

As much as I get frustrated during tourist seasons in this town, it is pretty cool to have a "real" Star of Bethlehem hanging over our valley.

I hope you all had a great holiday, whether or not you celebrate Christmas. I’ll be playing catch up around here the next few days, so keep your eyes out for new posts!


Taking a Break!

I Love Lucy Chocolate Factory

This is basically a picture of my kitchen last night, trying to coat & package over 100 truffles.

This week, in order to bring our homemade Christmas to fruition, I am taking a week off from blogging! There are still coloring books to draw, caramels to package, lots of gifts to wrap and a couple of errands to run, so I’ll be focusing my efforts on getting everything done by next weekend!

What do you have to look forward to when I return next Monday? Well, here’s a sampling of what I hope to post next week:

  • A cookie blow out including pumpkin chocolate chip, honey herb, peanut butter and my can’t-live-without-them thumbprint cookies
  • Candies! Truffles & beer-pretzel caramels!
  • Homemade herb salt
  • Homemade sugar scrup
  • A guide to handmade gifts for any occasion you might have coming up
  • and more …

So, whoever may be reading this, I wish you merriment as this holiday season kicks into high gear, and I’ll see you Monday!


Help Irie Feel Irie Again!

Irie is our cat. We adopted her seven years ago, on a whim, after we saw an ad for her in the newspaper and discovered she lived around the corner from us. She is one of the most chilled out cats you will ever meet, which really fits with the meaning of her name:
IRIE
(I-rie \I ‘ -ree\ adj)
1: To be at total peace with your current state of being. The way you feel when you have no worries. 2: Powerful and pleasing 3: Excellent, highest 4: The state of feeling great. 5: IRIE stands for I Respect I Eternally. Meaning you have respect for yourself; being happy with who you are. 6: To be at peace and harmony with your self and the status quo of your existence. 7: Jamaican term for everything is good, higher self, serenity 8: To be happy, to be high, most commonly used by Jamaicans.
Irie is now fourteen years old, which is not young, but she should still have a few good years left in her. Unfortunately, Irie hasn’t been feeling very irie lately—Her appetite is small, she is limping … She’s just not feeling up to par. We’ve spent a decent chunk of our budget trying to figure out what is wrong with her, and the vet finally decided she has awful arthritis and needs to be on steroids and pain meds. They seem to be working, but Irie has racked up quite a vet bill.
This is where you can really easily help! The vet is having a holiday photo contest on Facebook. All you have to do is like the photo on the Facebook page, and Irie has a chance of winning a $50 gift certificate to the office!
IriesHolidayDigs

Irie's hopefully winning photo for the vet's contest!


Weekend Hodgepodge

This past weekend was full of some really great things, plus a bunch of little annoying things that went wrong. I took a vacation day from work on Friday so that I could catch up on life, which made Thursday night the start of my weekend.

Nawab

Kevin and I headed to Nawab for a delicious meal of chicken tikka mushrooms and chicken madras with naan. After dinner, we wandered into Home & Planet, one of my favorite south Bethlehem stores and ran around 3rd & 4th streets looking for a cup of coffee. (Really, nowhere to get a good cup of coffee after 6pm?! Deja Brew was even closed!)

Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

After wandering on southside, we drove over the hill to DeSales University to see a performance of Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, thanks to a gift of tickets from my in-laws. It was a great play! The music was varied and lively and the actors were energetic and well rehearsed.

Friday was my “vacation” day, which I spent doing several grown up things, interspersed with a lot of good food. I started the day with laundry, which I despise more than about any other routine task in my life. To make it even more fun, I realized as I was pulling clothes out of the dryer that my husband had one of those pretty Vespers candles in his dress pants pocket when they went through the machine. Yeah, beeswax and dryers and dress pants don’t mix well. Even an hour of ironing with a paper bag on top couldn’t remove the stains.

Borscht

Fortunately, my mood was quickly rescued after the laundry fiasco by a delicious lunch with a friend. We went to the Black Forest Deli, where I tried (and discovered I love) borscht.

Pierogies

To fill out the lunch, we shared this enormous platter of pierogies. The dough on Russian/Ukranian pierogies is slightly different than I am used to from Polish ones, but still delicious!

After lunch, I went back to my dull grown-up activities, running to the vet for meds for Irie and heading over to the DMV to get my driver’s license renewed. Of course, no trip to the DMV would be complete without ridiculous bureaucracy and being yelled at by a cranky woman (who’s voice sounded exactly like my grandmother), but I did walk out with a new license.

Hampton Winds Scallops

For dinner, we met my parents for an early birthday celebration at Hampton Winds, the culinary student-run restaurant at Northampton Community College. What a fantastic meal! Five courses for $30. I had an asiago chicken appetizer, beer cheddar apple soup, chopped salad with gorgonzolla & cranberries, cumin-dusted diver scallops with poblano grits and chocolate raspberry mousse.

Hampton Winds Dessert Cart

Throughout our meal, we were reminded to save room for dessert as this enormous cart was wheeled past us to various tables.

Birthday Gifts

I got this pretty sweater and this interesting hand-blown glass speech bubble as birthday gifts from my parents. I can't decide where to hang the bubble!

 

Valley View Farms Market

Saturday morning, I headed to Easton to check out the brand new Valley View Farms Market, which carries products from several local farms. The store is great, and the owner has many more ideas he'd like to implement. Unfortunately, the raw milk vendor doesn't have the appropriate license yet to sell at a retail store, so I headed to Northampton to get milk from Keepsake Farm. Unfortunately again, they sold out of milk before I got there (calves were suckling, so not as much milk available. So, a couple of hours and a quarter-tank of gas later, I got milk from Klein Farms.

Next up was supposed to be the student sponsored holiday dinner where I work. The invitation said to arrive any time between 5 & 8pm, so we thought we were fine arriving at 6:30. Nope. All the food was away! So, to Wegmans we went and I ended up with some tasty (but not free like the other dinner would have been) sushi for dinner.

Slow Cooker Cabbage & Potatoes

Sunday, I was up bright & early to get cabbage, bockwurst & potatoes cooking in the slow cooker.

 

Jumbars Sausage

We had our weekly Jumbars fix for breakfast. I forgot to take a picture of my amazing pumpkin pancakes and sausage until I just had this bite left!

Sawing Tree

After breakfast, it was time to get Kevin's pickup truck from work and go to Brookside Tree Farm for our Christmas Tree! I tried sawing it down, but eventually handed that duty over to Kevin.

Christmas Tree

Once we got home, we decorated the tree and house and stacked our gifts beneath the tree. Seeing them all there makes me realize how much we've actually made!

Ganache

The evening was spent making candies. We ended up having to fight with this ganache a bit, as it "broke" or separated when we mixed the cream & chocolate. After some difficult tempering, we got it!

Beer-Pretzel Caramels

These beer-pretzel caramels also proved to be a challenge after the caramel boiled all over the newly scrubbed stove and one of the batches never set. But, they taste amazing.

Christmas Irie

Finally, we decked Irie out in her holiday finest and took some pictures to enter in an upcoming photo contest at our vet. I'll post the voting link here when I have it—The prize is a gift card we could use to pay off our vet bill! It's like Irie got a modeling job to pay off her vet bills. 🙂


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