Monday, December 14, 2009
My Venture into Cookies
This is my all-time favorite cookie. When I was growing up, my mother used to make these every Christmas. In a way, they're like jam thumbprint cookies in that you make a well in each cookie and fill it with a yummy filling. They are more labor intensive than a regular cookies because you have to make a divot in each one but, trust me, they are WELL worth it. You should take the time to really make the well in the cookie as big as possible so that you can fit in more filling. They are so good!
My mother uses margarine in this cookie and I use butter but, aside from that, I kept the ingredients the same. I make mine larger than my mother's for a simple reason – they're faster to fill because you're not making as many wells. There is no reason you can't make these cookies all year round. It was a tradition in my family to eat them only at Christmas but you certainly do not have to do that.
When I was young, I had no idea what the ingredients were . I just knew they tasted great. I'm not a big sour cream fan so I was shocked to see the filling had sour cream in it when I made these the first time. Trust me – you can't taste the sour cream or I wouldn't be eating them. The brown sugar perfectly balances out the acidic tang of the sour cream. The filling is truly to die for.
Like I mentioned earlier, you can make these with a "normal" amount of filling or really pile it on. The picture at the top of this page has extra filling in each of the cookies. The picture on the right has a normal amount of filling. Both are great so you can't go wrong with either. It's just a matter of preference. Click on either picture for a larger, better-quality image.
Christmas baking is using up a lot of my time so I apologize for the less-than-creative posts as of late. I hope you try these cookies and make them part of your normal repertoire. They are SO good! You'll love 'em. Enjoy – and happy baking!
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2 cups flour
1/2 tsp soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sour cream (not reduced-fat)
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, soda, and salt. Set aside.
Using a mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar until the mixture is fluffy – about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until combined – scraping down the bowl as needed. Slowly add the flour mixture until just incorporated. Tightly cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
While the dough is chilling, preparing the filling by mixing together the brown sugar and sour cream in a small bowl. Add the walnuts and stir until incorporated. Refrigerate the filling until needed.
Preheat the oven to 350F. After the dough has chilled, line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Use a cookie scoop to put 6 to 7 mounds of dough on the sheet pan. I prefer to use a large cookie scoop (2 TBSP), which makes large cookies. You will get about 16 cookies when using a large cookie scoop. You may certainly use a smaller cookies scoop or roll the dough into 1" balls. If you make the cookies smaller, you will get a larger number of cookies out of each batch.
Refrigerate the remaining dough to keep it chilled. These cookies do spread when baking so be sure to leave PLENTY of room between the cookies or they'll run together. Poke your thumb into each mound of dough – leaving about 1/8" thickness of dough on the bottom. Take the effort to make the well as large as possible while keeping a sturdy wall around the perimeter. Fill each well with some filling. I prefer to really mound the filling in the well because I think the filling is the best part of the cookie. Some people prefer less filling because it makes the cookies too sweet. When making these cookies for the first time, I recommend that you put only two cookies on your sheet pan – one with a moderate amount of filling and one with a lot. When the cookies come out of the oven, taste them and decide which one appeals to you better. Note: If you plan to use a lot of filling in each cookie, you may need to make a little extra so you have enough to fill all of the cookies. The filling only takes a minute to make so, if you need to make more, it can be made at a moment's notice.
Bake the cookies for about 9 to 10 minutes or until they are lightly brown. For smaller cookies, decrease the baking time appropriately. Don't over bake. Allow the cookies to cool on the sheet pan for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. While the first sheet pan is in the oven, prepare another one with 6 to 7 cookies. Keep the dough refrigerated until it is ready to go in the oven or the cookies will spread too much. When storing, don't stack the cookies on top of each other or they may stick together.
Posted by Cooking Ventures at 7:40 PM