Raspberry Macadamia Nut Cookies

A dear friend of mine happened to be passing through Columbia over the weekend and I wanted to make something tasty for us to munch on while we caught up with each other. I looked through a few cookbooks and family recipes and decided that so-called “jam thumbprint” cookies would be perfect, especially when paired with fresh spiced apple cider. The dough is very mild, but when rolled in ground macadamia nuts and topped with a little bit of raspberry jam, these cookies take on a life of their own. Crumbly, and just sweet enough to be a treat without the guilt of eating large, sugar-laden sweets. Even better, however, is that the cookies require little that isn’t (probably) already in your kitchen.

1/2 c butter
1/2 c + 2 tbsp sugar (divided)
1 large egg (divided)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 and 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 c macadamia nuts (ground)
raspberry jam*

1.  Cream the room-temperature butter and 1 cup of sugar until pale and fluffy. Lightly beat the egg yolk and add it to the butter and sugar mixture. Mix well.

2. Add the flower and salt, mixing until the just combined.

3. Dump the slightly crumbly dough out on to Saran Wrap, shape into a ball, and cover completely with the Saran Wrap. Place in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

4. Preheat the oven to 325º F.

5.Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let warm slightly.

6.  Dump approximately 1/2 cup of macadamia nuts into a food processor and pulse until the pieces are uniformly small. Dump into a small mixing bowl and mix with the remaining two tablespoons of sugar.

7. Lightly beat the egg white and set aside.

8. Shape the lightly softened dough into balls approximately 1-inch in diameter. Dip each ball in the egg white and then roll in the macadamia nut mixture.

9. Place each ball on the cookie sheet about an inch apart. Gently press your thumb in to the center of the ball leaving an indentation but allowing the ball to remain round.

10. Bake for 10 minutes. Then remove from the oven and use the end of a wooden spoon to depress the centers again. Return the tray to the oven for another 8 minutes.**

11. Let cool slightly on wire racks and then fill with raspberry jam.

*Raspberry jam can be replaced with strawberry jam, apricot jam, or Nutella for a different, though equally delicious taste.

**Baking times may vary. The cookies should brown only lightly, so watch the first batch carefully and note specific baking times for your oven.

These were great for my friend’s visit and I am expecting them to be a great snack at the beach this weekend too. Let me know if you try out any other awesome alternative fillings!

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