This week was Serious Eat’s annual cookie swap, a fabulous tradition of serious sharing of sugar and spice. It felt only fitting to bring a sweet that reflected Clara’s presence on the site, and so, in honor of Market Tours, we brought two cookies inspired by December’s posts: German and Spanish.
In honor of Stammtisch Pork Store and Imports, we made lebkuchen. We had a packet of lebkuchen spices leftover from our last trip to Munich, and even better, in Glendale we’d found back-oblaten, the baking wafers traditionally used in lebkuchen. We revisited last year’s recipe with some adjustments, reflected here.
In honor of Despaña, we made thumbprint cookies filled with our homemade membrillo. Thumbprint cookies – basically, shortbread – are delicious, though not particularly impressive in and of themselves. What makes them shine is the jam, and as far as we’re concerned, the jam-ier, the better. We had membrillo on the mind — we’d discussed it at great length with Lee Salas, Desapaña store manager, on our visit — and had a homemade batch in the fridge just waiting to be used, so we went for it. Turns out, membrillo is great filler for thumbprint cookies. It’s a bit tart, but subtle, and as it’s more of a paste than a runny jelly, you can really jam it up without fear of making a mess of your cookies. It’s a great holiday cookie – light, not too sweet, and small enough to eat in just a bite!
check out all the cookies from the swap over on serious eats! >>
thumbprint cookies with dulce de membrillo
makes four dozen
adapted from joy of baking
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar, plus more for rolling
2 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
The zest of half a lemon
2 cups all purpose flour
pinch of salt
1 cup membrillo, or even a little more.
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg yolks, vanilla and lemon zest and beat on medium until smooth. Add the flour and salt and blend at low speed until thoroughly combined. Dough will be firm.
3. Scoop tablespoonfuls of dough, roll into 1-inch-diameter balls, and roll to coat in sugar. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, 1 inch apart. Make an indent in the middle of each cookie with your thumb or other instrument. Don’t press all the way down – you want enough of a base for the jam – but don’t be afraid to make a wide well.
4. With a fork, mash the membrillo into a more spreadable consistency. Spoon membrillo into the well of each cookie.
5. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through, until the cookies are browned on the bottom and firm to the touch. Cool, then store in an airtight container.