These are definitely some of my favorite childhood cookies. Okay, forget childhood, they are STILL my favorite cookies. They remind me of Christmas, when my mom would make batches and batches of all sorts of cookies. Then after Christmas, I would sneak down to the deep freeze, and search through all the tins of frozen leftover cookies to find these ones.
My mom always rolled them in sesame seeds rather than nuts like in most recipes. And she usually baked them with the jam, usually strawberry. In my version, I baked them without the jam, then filled them before serving. I did this mostly so that I could freeze the leftover cookies and fill them with whatever inspired me later. In fact, since the making of these cookies, I have filled them with mulberry jam, homemade strawberry jam and of course, Nutella!
Thumb Print Cookies
Recipe Adapted from http://www.joyofbaking.com
Makes about 2 dozen cookies
1/2 cup Butter, room temperature
1/4 cup White Sugar
1 Large Egg, separated
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
1 cup Flour
1/8 tsp Salt
1 cup Sesame Seeds, untoasted
1/2 cup Jam for filling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Add the egg yolk and vanilla extract and beat until combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the flour mixture to the batter and beat just until combined. If the batter is too soft to roll into balls, refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy. Place the sesame seeds on a plate. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls. Taking one ball of dough at a time, dip first into the egg white and then lightly roll in the seeds. Place on the prepared baking sheet spacing about 1 inch. Using your thumb or end of a wooden spoon, make a indentation into the center of each cookie.
At this point, if you want to fill and bake with jam inside, you can. Otherwise, you can fill the centers with jam before serving. This is best if you want to store the cookies for more than a few days as the jam will soften the cookies over time. Bake for about 13-15 minutes. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool.