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Cranberry thumbprints

Cranberry thumbprints
Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

Many hands help make holiday cookies. That's true when you're gathered with family and friends and vats of colored icing. It's true when you're running a contest for cookie recipes, when it takes thousands of readers, dozens of cooking school ... Read more

Total time: 1 1/2 hours, plus cooling and chilling times | Makes about 6 dozen cookies

Cranberry jam

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water, divided
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen cranberries
  • 1 (1-inch) piece cinnamon stick
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch

Step 1In a medium saucepan, whisk together one-fourth cup of water, the sugar and orange zest. Stir in the cranberries and cinnamon stick and bring to a low boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 2In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tablespoons of water with the cornstarch to form a slurry. Thoroughly stir the slurry in with the cranberry mixture and continue to cook for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly, to thicken. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. This makes a scant 1 1/2 cups jam, more than is needed for the remainder of the recipe. The jam will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 2 weeks.

Cookies and assembly

  • 2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground flax meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup coarse raw sugar (for rolling)
  • About 3/4 cup cranberry jam
  • Powdered sugar for dusting (optional)

Step 1In a medium bowl, whisk together the whole-wheat pastry flour and the all-purpose flour, along with the flax meal and salt.

Step 2In the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then the orange zest and juice. Reduce the speed of the mixer and slowly add the flour mixture until thoroughly combined to form a dough.

Step 3Roll about 1 1/2 teaspoons of dough into balls. Roll each ball in the raw sugar, then place on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing about 2 1/2 inches apart. Press an indentation into the center of each ball using your thumb or finger.

Step 4Refrigerate the sheets until the dough is hardened, 20 to 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Step 5Bake each sheet of cookies for 7 minutes. Remove each sheet, and quickly re-press the indentation in the center of each cookie using the handle of a wooden spoon. Continue baking the cookies until set and golden, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool on wire racks.

Step 6To assemble the cookies, place a small dollop (about one-half teaspoon) of the jam in the indentation of each cookie. Sprinkle powdered sugar over the cookies, if desired, before serving.

Note: Adapted from a recipe by Kim Gerber.


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