With Christmas a few weeks away, the bake exchanges have begun. Although this was actually my first attempt at a thumb print cookie, and I was hoping for a higher shape, the flavour and texture of these turned out fabulously. While in Europe I came across a chestnut jam and have been thinking of what to do with it ever since. It is such a rare find that I wanted to make good use of it. Alone on toast is a treat but in these cookies with other nuts is a gift. If you can’t find chestnut jam, there is usually chestnut purée this time of year and you can mix in some sugar and make a similar filling.
These cookies are soft and rich. They are not a crisp cookie, nor are they chewy like a chocolate chip cookie might be. To add to the richness, they are made with brown sugar and have a hint of maple as well before being rolled in pecans.
Start by creaming brown sugar and butter, as with most cookie recipes, to soften the butter and avoid gritty cookies. From there add your eggs and flavours, vanilla and maple. This cookie dough needs to be covered and chilled so it is easier to handle and form balls with.
Once the dough has chilled for an hour, it is ready to work with. Form balls with the dough. They should be about 2″ or the size of a walnut. The recipe will make about 24 cookies (so you have a better idea of size). Roll each ball in chopped pecans. I re-form the ball afterwards just to press some of those pecans into the cookie dough.
Here is where my thumb print attempt happened. I wanted a deep well in my cookie so I used the end of a rolling pin. Make sure you don’t go all the way through. The cookie will spread out and be ready for the filling. The truth is that a thumb of finger will work just as well. However, the rolling pin ensured an even imprint in each cookie.
Once the well is ready, use a small spoon to fill each cookie with the jam.
Bake in a 350º oven for 10-12 minutes. There are different variants that determine how long your cookies need to be in the oven. First is the humidity in your kitchen. Second is the temperature of your dough when it is ready to be baked. Also, each oven is different so make sure you check at the 10 minute mark and leave them in the oven more if needed. If you bake several rounds, you may notice that the cookies baked later on bake a bit faster because the oven is so hot at that point.
Nutty, warm cookies with a chestnut centre help ring in the holiday season.
Chestnut Pecan Cookies
1 C butter (room temperature) (1628/1.93)
1 C brown sugar (829)
2 eggs (148/12.58)
2 C all-purpose flour (910/25.82)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract OR 1 vanilla bean
1 Tbsp maple extract
1 C chopped pecans (600/9)
1/3 C chestnut jam
1. Cream the butter and brown sugar for 2 minutes.
2. Add the eggs, vanilla extract, and maple extract.
3. Add the flour and mix just until blended and lumpy.
4. Mix in the flour until combined.
5. Make a ball and chill in the fridge for an hour, covered.
6. Remove from fridge and roll into 2″ balls.
7. Roll each ball generously in the crushed pecans.
8. Place the balls on a lines cookie sheet.
9. Use a finger to press a well in the centre of each cookie.
10. With a small spoon, fill each well with chestnut jam.
5. Bake for approximately 10-12 minutes in a 350º oven.
6. Remove and let cool on the tray for 2-3 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
Protein 2.1 g