When people find out I studied pastry and baking, they always ask if I also know how to cook. The answer is yes (I hope), and I like them both, but there's something compelling about the aesthetic appeal of baking that transcends cooking. And that is certainly evident in these gorgeous and adorable little cookies: Jam Trios.
Thumbprint cookies -- small cookies with a little indentation you can fill with jam, chocolate or whatever you please -- are already a constant in my repertoire, since they upgrade a simple sugar cookie dough to something more exciting. But when I saw these cookies in the Gourmet Cookie Book, I knew I had to try them as soon as possible: The same classic buttery dough, the same basic process of thumbprints, but brought to a whole new level by using a triangle to create a kind of triple cookie.
This is also a fun recipe to make with kids or friends, and that way you'll get some help making all those little balls of dough!
Recipe: (Makes about 40 cookies)
2 sticks (1 cup) butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour
Three different types of jam
Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add in the egg and vanilla and salt and mix together until well combined. Gradually add in the flour and mix until it is all incorporated.
Divide the dough in two and form it in to two disks, wrap them in plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour.
Roll teaspoonfulls of the chilled dough into small balls, then flatten them to about 1/2" thick, and place three together - their edges touching - on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
Using the end of a wooden spoon or the bowl of a small measuring spoon, press an indentation into the center of each ball.
Fill each indentation with about 1/8 teaspoon of jam, being careful not to over fill.
Bake on 350 F for 15-20 minutes until golden brown on the edges.
Let cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Amy Spiro is a journalist and writer based in Jerusalem. She is a graduate of the Jerusalem Culinary Institute's baking and pastry track, a regular writer for The Jerusalem Post and blogs at bakingandmistaking.com. She also holds a BA in Journalism and Politics from NYU.