Bird’s nest cookies (also called thumbprint cookies) are one of those classic holiday baking cookies that remind you of why homemade baking is just so good. They are super easy to make and are one of those things people seem to love: buttery cookies with a tasty jam filling. What’s not to love?
These are, of course, my uncle and my cousin’s absolute favorite Christmas cookie (okay…next to my Aunt’s famous shortbread of course). This delicious creation was passed on to Aunt Heather by her dear friend Ann. Not too sweet, they are a fantastically delicious butter cookie. I used organic raspberry jam made from 70% fruit as well as ground hazelnuts since I already had a package on hand. Plus, it seemed like a much better idea than going through the effort of grinding walnuts myself. Yes, Anne’s version calls for ground walnuts.
As far as I have seen, Hamburg supermarkets only sell ground almonds and hazelnuts. Maybe this will turn into a “Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon” experience for me. You know, the frequency illusion. Different than déjà vu or the confirmation bias, where just because my mom says it’s true, it must be true sort of experience. Baader-Meinhof is a concept that we’ve probably all experienced at one time or another. It’s the idea of discovering something new — a car, for example, that you’ve never seen before — and then, amazingly, you see it all over the place, everyone seems to be driving one. You didn’t know it existed. And then, it seems that everywhere you turn, it’s there. Yeah, I’m pretty sure I will find ground walnuts–e v e r y w h e r e–after this.
Bird’s Nest Cookies
Makes 1-2 dozen
1 cup butter (225 g)
1/2 cup brown sugar (I use GEPA organic raw cane sugar Mascobado) (80 g)
2 egg yolks
2 cups all-purpose flour (Type 550) (130 g)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1 cup ground walnuts or hazelnuts (sometimes you need a bit more) (100 g)
raspberry jam (or other favorite jam) (about 1/2 a teaspoon or more per cookie)
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C. Grease or line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. Using a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add the egg yolks and cream some more. Add the flour and baking powder and mix until combined.
NOTE: I whisk the flour and baking powder together in a small bowl before adding to the butter mixture.
3. Pinch off the dough in pieces and roll into 2.5cm (1 inch) balls. Dip in the egg white, then in the ground nuts.
4. Place the balls on the prepared cookie sheet. Using a floured thumb, create an indent by pressing into the centre of the ball.
5. Bake for 12-13 minutes.
6. Cool completely. Drop a bit of raspberry jam into the dent in the cookie and enjoy!