One of my very favorite things about the Christmas season is baking cookies that bring back cherished childhood memories! I have wonderful memories of baking Christmas cookies with my mom and I have loved baking cookies with my children over the years, creating special memories with them as well. Now that I am an innkeeper, it has been so much fun to bake some of my favorite Christmas Cookies and share them with our guests here at Oak Hill on Love Lane Bed and Breakfast Inn! One cookie that I especially love are Christmas Thumbprint Cookies. They are simple to make and festive, which makes them the perfect cookie to to add color to any Christmas table or bring to a Christmas party. The original recipe is from Betty Crocker’s “Cooky Book” that has been in my mother’s kitchen for over 50 years. Though the cookbook is faded and worn, the cookie recipes are timeless. If you can get your hands on one of these vintage cookbooks, I highly recommend it! My slightly changed version of this yummy shortbread-like cookie is below. I especially love this cookie on cold December mornings with a hot cup of coffee and a warm fire.
1 cup softened salted butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 large egg yolks (reserve whites)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups of all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
2 cups finely chopped walnuts
1 jar of apple jelly
red and green food coloring
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the first four ingredients and then slowly add the flour and salt. Lightly whip the egg whites in a bowl. Use a one inch cookie scoop to form balls and dip them in the egg whites and then roll them in the chopped walnuts. Place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and create round indentations using the back of a measuring teaspoon. Bake for 10 minutes then press them with the teaspoon again to make a nice well in the center. Bake for an additional 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly browned. While the cookies are baking, divide the jar of apple jelly into two bowls. I use Smuckers Brand apple jelly that you can get at the grocery store. Tint one with red and one with green food coloring and whisk it into the jelly to remove any lumps.
Fill half with red jelly and half with green. Serve on a Christmas platter. These cookies freeze well. Freeze the cookies without the jelly filling, then just pull them out of the freezer, thaw and fill them when you are ready to serve. Makes 2 to 3 dozen.