In a world where we have the luxury of choosing between the perfect chocolate chip cookie and a good-enough-to-be-a-gourmet-thumbprint-cookie-so-I’ll-eat-several-thank-you-very-much variety, I always go with the latter. I do have my secret chocolate chip cookie recipe that I have shared with no one thus far. And yes, much to seasoned blog readers’ satisfaction I have spared the internet from yet another recipe. I’ve yet to hear about an offer I can’t refuse for it to be pried off my chocolate laden grips though, so you can bet that I’m hopeful to share someday, just hopefully not to your dismay.
Having said that, few things to me are as satisfying as thumbprint cookies. Well, we do have dulce de leche alfajores, caramel doughnuts with apple jelly, chocolate cupcakes paired with rum caramel, and the like, but having grown up on thumbprints like an American kid having lived off too many packets of Famous Amos, I’ve developed an utmost affection towards them. They’re truly pleasing to look at and an extravagant way to introduce a high noon tea party, an inexpensive way to make a thoughtfully wrapped Christmas goodie bag, or a simple delight to munch on during your drive home. Being well known for their buttery yet sensible texture, they render just the right combination of pliable crunch.
Now quince spread, otherwise known as dulce de membrillo in the Southern Hemisphere, is most delectable and aromatic in its unique signature way. While I wouldn’t say it’s anything like berries though the color suggests just that, I would loosely describe it as a concoction of dates, apples, currants, grapes, and orange all in one. Knowing that it is also one of Skye’s favorite flavors tickles my fancy, because after all, she is a kitchen goddess and I admire everything she does. A legendary in the field of curating flavors and story telling, if you will. And if she condones my profession of love for this underrated fruit then it can’t be too bad of a thing, now can it?
Of course, finding quince paste isn’t an ideal task if you don’t have a local Argentinean store in your whereabouts, but lucky for you, Food52 seems to have taken care of that! While quince is ideal for this recipe since it’s reminiscent of foreign flavors like the ones I grew up on, you are more than welcome to use regular fruit jams of your choice. Note that I chose to melt the paste with a small ratio of water to make it easy to spoon into the thumbprints, simply skip this step if you're using regular jam and you’ll be good to go.
Macadamia and Quince Paste Thumbprint Cookies
Makes about 36 cookies || Adapted from Joy of Baking
Time: 30-40 minutes including prep and baking time
Equipment: cookie sheets, large mixing bowl, stand mixer if desired
1/2 cup ground macadamia nuts
10 tbsp room temperature unsalted butter
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
zest of one orange (optional but preferred)
approximately 1 cup melted quince paste
2 tbsp water
Preheat oven to 350 F ( celsius). In a large mixing bowl and a wooden spoon, or in a stand mixer bowl with paddle attachment, slowly incorporate ground macadamia, butter, egg yolks, sugar, salt, and vanilla, for about 30 seconds. Add flour little by little, mixing on low speed very gently, followed by adding orange zest, and incorporate for another minute or so, or until mixture has come together. Make sure you do not over mix. Form dough into a square log and cut into equal cookie pieces. Place evenly on a cookie sheet at about 2 inches away from each other.
Meanwhile, or you can do this next step before working on the dough if you prefer, simmer quince paste with water until it's thoroughly melted. If you're using homemade paste or jam, you can skip this step. Press thumbprints into the middle of the cookies, fill with a little bit of jam or paste, and bake for approximately 14 minutes. The cookies will be slightly short of golden and the filling not completely set. Let it cool and when they're ready to eat, the filling will be chewy. Eat as is, or dust with powdered sugar alternatively.
Do you choose thumbprint and buttery cookies, or all-American chocolate chips?
What's your experience dealing with quince?