Sunday, 1 June 2014

Raspberry Thumbprints

Raspberry Thumbprints cookies

I bake a lot of cookies! Cookies for breakfast, cookies for coffee, cookies for my kid, cookies for an after-dinner treat - usually these fall into the chocolate cookies category - and sometimes, cookies for making baking experiments. Cookies are perfect for the last scope. In fact usually they are quite easy and fast to prepare (and thanks to the outside temperature here in Dubai I do not even have to wait long for butter to get soft), made with ingredients generally available at home and, let's say, "easier" to eat than for example a cake or a tarte: who can refuse a two-bite dessert? I know, there also some giant cookies that are much more challenging than a layered cake, but I consider them an exception.
Today's cookies are exactly an experiment inspired by a recipe, seen on Martha Stewart's website, for thumbprint cookies whose ingredients included cornmeal. Since I love the crunchy texture given by this flour (some regional Italian cookies made with cornmeal are in my opinion delicious) I wanted to try; I also loved the presence in the dough of orange zest which gives a fresh hint.
The original recipe called for cranberries in the filling jam: not being cranberries available here, I used raspberries which I like and paired perfectly with the base (but I think that also strawberries would work well). I made few adjustment and the result was even better than expected: crunchy on the outside thanks to the sugar crust, with a crumby and nutty interior texture due to the presence of cornmeal; the slightly acidity of raspberry filling perfectly balanced by the sugar crust; all perfumed by the orange flavor. Delicious!

Raspberry Thumbprints
adapted from Martha Stewart
makes about  24 cookies
For the cookies
125 g all-purpose flour
75 g yellow cornmeal, preferably stone-ground
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
100 g unsalted butter, softened
80 g granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 large egg, separated
For the filling
150 g fresh raspberries
125 ml water, plus more if needed
35g cup sugar
1 -2 strip orange zest

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line with parchment paper one or two baking sheets.
Prepare the cookies: whisk together flour, cornmeal, and salt in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer (or by hand like I usually do) beat butter and 45 g sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the orange zest and egg yolk (keep the white for coating the cookies), and mix well. Add flour mixture, and mix until just combined: I always prefer to add flour using a spatula, but the operation can also be done with electric mixer at low speed.
Lightly whisk egg white. Roll the dough into balls of 2 teaspoons each. Dip into egg white, and roll in remaining sugar. As soon as you prepare each ball, transfer, evenly spaced, to the prepared baking sheets. Gently press center of each ball with your thumb or the handle hand of a wooden spoon. Bake, rotating sheets halfway through, until pale golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Gently indent each cookie again using the handle end of a wooden spoon. Transfer sheets to wire racks, and let cool.
Make the filling: bring raspberries, water, sugar, and orange zest to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer, gently mashing the berries, until thick and jamlike, about 15 minutes. (If mixture is too thick, add a little water to thin.) Transfer to a bowl, and let cool completely.
Spoon a small amount of filling into each cookie indentation.
- The dough can be prepared in advance and refrigerated for 2 to 3 days
- Cookies, unfilled, can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 week, in a airtight container
- Filling can be refrigerated for up to 1 week. Since the combination on berries and orange is very nice, I suggest to make a more filling than required for the cookies and use the remaining for other uses: for example on toasted bread instead of jam, or as a topping for a good vanilla ice-cream (in this case, if the sauce is too dense, you can warm it a bit adding some water or even better a drop of Grand Marnier)

No comments:

Post a Comment