Saturday, October 24, 2015

Thumbprint Butter Cookies with Cookie Butter Filling

Thumbprint Butter Cookies - made dough October 4, 2015 from Sugar Butter Flour Eggs by Gale Gand
Oy, it’s been really busy lately and I’ve been running in place on the hamster wheel. Or the treadmill if you want to get literal about it. The hamster wheel is for work and the treadmill for my half marathon training. Which has been leaving me with very little baking time and even less blogging time. But I’m stubborn and, despite my efforts at a new direction for my blog and cutting back on baking, I’m still drawn back to it like a rubber necker at an accident.

So much of my identity is caught up in baking, desserts, baking, sweets, and you know, baking. I don’t come with a switch so it’s hard to turn that off. Not that I expected to and I’m still baking drastically less than I used to. I mean, I even almost ran out of butter if that tells you how far off the baking cliff I fell. “Fully stocked” used to mean two or three 4-lb blocks of butter in my fridge, ready for the baking marathon I could have at the first possible opportunity.
But for these butter cookies, I had to plan a trip to Costco and buy butter in real-time because I was out. Unheard of. Though it’s probably just as well I had cut back because you could’ve felled me with cheesecloth and a butter knife when I discovered the price of butter had shot up. $12 for a 4-lb pack? What madness is this? Not that it stopped me from buying it but my thrifty soul cringed.
So the bar is a bit higher that I should only use my preciously expensive butter on recipes that have a high chance of success. I’ve been going through all the recipes I’d been collecting for years promising myself I would try them someday and have had my beady eye on this one for awhile. I did alter the recipe because it was supposed to be filled with jam. But I don’t jam or jelly. However, I do cookie butter. Yup, that’s my crack of choice when filling thumbprint cookies.

My ideal thumbprint cookie wouldn’t spread much, would keep the indentation left in the dough before baking so there would be a good-sized well in the center for me to fill with cookie butter. Sadly, this didn’t meet my ideal. The cookie dough I so nicely shaped baked itself flat so the indent looked more like I had flattened the cookie dough ball with a glass instead of making a well. Fortunately, that didn’t affect the taste and, undaunted by all things cookie butter, I still dolloped some speculoos in the center of the cookie and ate it. And it was good. Butter cookie meets cookie butter. All’s right with my world.
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened
2/3 cup sugar
¼ vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, soft insides scraped out
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ cup cookie butter
  1. Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until fluffy. Add the vanilla scrapings and salt and mix until incorporated.
  2. Portion the dough into golf-ball-sized dough balls, flatten slightly then, using your thumb, press the top of each cookie center to make a shallow well. Cover and chill or freeze for several hours or overnight.
  3. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line several sheet pans with parchment paper.
  4. Fill the wells with cookie butter. Bake until very lightly browned around the edges, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool slightly on the pans then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.