One of my standard Christmas cookies is jam thumbprints. I have at least a half-dozen different jam thumbprint variations that I regularly bake. The one below, I call “bird nests” because the cookie is dipped in egg-white and rolled in chopped pecans, before it is baked. The nuts give the cookie a “rugged” appearance.
Use high-quality jam, to get the best results. My personal favorite is sour-cherry from Stonewall Kitchens.
Makes about 4 dozen
1 1/3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup plus 1tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk
2/3 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup flour
1 egg white, slightly beaten
3/4 cup chopped pecans
Apricot, cherry, or raspberry Jam
Preheat oven to 350F.
Beat together butter, sugar, and salt until light and fluffy. Beat in yolk. Add vanilla and beat until smooth. Beat in flour gradually. Until just well combined.
Form level teaspoons of dough into balls. Dip in egg white and then into chopped pecans. Arrange on baking sheets 1inch apart. Make a small indentation in center of each ball with thumb or instrument. Fill indent with 1/4 teaspoon jam.
Bake cookies 12-15 minutes, until edges are pale golden. Cool on baking sheets 2 minutes. Transfer to racks to cool completely.