These cookies have a bit of crunch from the finely chopped pecans, sweetness from the almond extract, and richness from the butter. But it's the thumbprint impressions on top that give them a personal touch. Strawberry and peach jams make beautiful jewel-colored fillings, but you can use other Southern favorite jams, such as blackberry, muscadine, or apple. They're the perfect cookies to make with the kids – let them make the thumbprints and choose the filling.
1 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup strawberry jam
1/4 cup peach jam
How to Make It
Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugar, beating well. Add egg yolks and almond extract, beating until blended.
Combine flour and salt; add to butter mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Cover and chill dough 1 hour.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Lightly beat egg whites. Dip each dough ball in egg white; roll in pecans. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Press thumb in each dough ball to make an indentation.
Bake at 350° for 15 minutes. Cool 1 minute on baking sheets, and remove to wire racks to cool completely. Press centers again with thumb while cookies are still warm; fill center of each cookie with jam.
Not usually a nut person; I went for it nuts and all. After rolling in the nuts, I would rolled them lightly in my hands again and found they stayed together better. Tried several fillings; but I love raspberry. I gave them as Christmas Cookie gifts and got rave reviews.
These were great for Christmas Goodie boxes! They were just like the ones my Grandma used to make years ago but had lost the recipe! I rolled them in candied crushed pecans and used red raspberry preserves. Also found it was easier to use a small 1/4 or 1/2 tsp. measuring spoon to make indentations rather than my thumb. Also, chilling them for overnight after made was a good idea to give the jam time to thicken and made them less sticky! They came out just lovely! Will be an all time favorite!
The reason I gave this recipe a 5 is this recipe is similar to the one I have BUT what gives the best flavor is to substitute the almond extract with pure vanilla extract then fill the indentation with colored buttercream frosting-i.e. red and green for Christmas, pink and yellow for Easter, orange and black for Halloween...can be festive all year long!!!
These cookies were much better than I expected. Delicious!! Once I saw how messy my hands would get towards the end dipping the cookie in egg whites then the pecans I went ahead and made all the cookies into balls then did all the dipping at the same time. Enjoy.
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