Thumbprint cookies might be my perfect Christmas cookie (and a fair number have been consumed with no holiday excuse). Tasha Tudor’s thumbprints used to be my favorite, made with white flour, lots of butter, and dollops of sugary strawberry jam.
But recently I found this recipe made with barley flour, which adds to the nuttiness, and oil rather than butter. I printed it, used it, but didn’t attribute my paper copy. Wandering websites looking for the exact recipe, I finally found Blythe Danner’s (she makes them often for her grandchildren). Thank you Blythe Danner!
These are a one-bowl cookie (a big bowl, though I have cut the recipe in half very successfully): combine all the ingredients: four cups of barley flour, three cups of raw whole almonds (crush in a food processor in about 10 two-second pulses), one teaspoon fine salt, one teaspoon ground cinnamon, one cup of canola oil, and one cup of real Vermont maple syrup.
Stir. Form into balls (about tablespoon size) and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Make the signature indents with a digit and fill with a spoonful of jam.
They are so good these cookies, and a perfect way to use up any bits of jam in the fridge (or the really beautiful blueberry jam made with honey by my friend who lives down the bluff). The jam with honey gets a little sticky and chewy, but it sets off the nutty dough just perfectly. (Some blogs I read in my tracing-the-recipe search suggested using ganache, if you like a chocolate-filled thumbprint.)
It takes about 20 minutes for the cookies to be evenly browned. Cool. Eat. Enjoy.
Let holiday cooking begin!